Dona Schwartz

(b.1955; resides Minneapolis, MN)

Despite many changes, this remains constant: the kitchen is still the hub of my family's life. Within the limits of its well-defined domain I explore the unbounded complexity of family. - Dona Schwartz, 2005

Dona Schwartz began photographing the series In the Kitchen in 2002. Though her kitchen at times hosts special celebrations and as many as three generations, the majority of the photographs concentrate on the family's six children and the many activities that routinely bring them and their friends back to the kitchen. Food is present of course, from rosemary chicken and wine to corndogs and Coke, but never rivals the steady diet of reading, grooming, and general hanging out that seems to truly sustain the family.

Schwartz was born in Philadelphia, PA. She holds a BA (1977), MA (1978), and PhD (1983) from the Annenberg School for Communications at the University of Pennsylvania. Solo exhibitions of In the Kitchen have been held at Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, OR; Stephen Bulger Gallery (Project Space), Toronto; and Minnesota Center for Photography, Minneapolis. Schwartz's work is published in the books Contesting the Super Bowl and Waucoma Twilight: Generations of the Farm and held in the collections of George Eastman House, Rochester, NY; Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin; and Portland Art Museum, OR. A finalist for the Santa Fe Prize for Photography and MCAD/Jerome Foundation Fellowship for Emerging Artists (both 2005), she is also an associate professor at the University of Minnesota's School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Grilled Chicken, 2004Grilled Chicken, 2004
Dyed, 2004Dyed, 2004

Past Portfolio

Contradictions abound in strip clubs. At once public and intimate, they invite ogling while they fend off scrutiny. Prurient and pecuniary interests collide in this space where titillation and arousal are bought and sold. Beneath the gaudy surface, invisible to the self-interested observer, more subtle dynamics are in play. - Dona Schwartz

Dona Schwartz goes to strip clubs with a camera hidden in her pocket. The pictures she brings out show the actions of the dancers and the reactions of their patrons. Schwartz’s interest in fantasy and desire as commodities, not to mention her sense of irony and contradictions in these places, is elaborated with accompanying text. Quotes from both performers and their audience, reviews posted to websites, and internet strippers’ forums complicate the Sanctioned Sex series with additional perspectives.

Museum of Contemporary Photography

at Columbia College Chicago
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