Negotiations of Monumentality in Urban Chaos, curated by Onur Öztürk

I find cities beautifully chaotic. In cosmopolitan centers around the world, millions of people from various ethnic, national and cultural backgrounds live and work together. During their daily lives, urban dwellers are constantly surrounded with man-made images, objects and spaces. Originally from the Latin verb monere urban monuments remind us the ideological motivations of their creators and patrons.

Their monumentality though can only be created in the minds of the viewers through a constant negotiation. I believe photography has the best capacity to capture this process. Through the lenses of their cameras, photographers capture monuments in their social, political and historical contexts.

In my opinion urban monuments come in various forms. In addition to more traditional examples of architecture, architectural sculpture, or public art; a sand castle by the North Avenue Beach or a firework in Shanghai may express monumentality in an urban fabric through a visual presence.

Just like the urban dwellers, monuments gradually appear in cities, manifest their forms and eventually (and sometimes in unexpectedly tragic circumstances) disappear from the urban scene. Photographers consistently capture phases of this transformation intentionally or subconsciously. -Onur Öztürk

My collection incorporates a total of fifty-four works by artists Harold Allen, Susan Aurinko, Shimon Attie, David Avison, Olivo Barbieri, Song Tao, Ji Weiyu, Marilyn Bridges, Alejandro Cartagena Gonzalez, Susan Crocker, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Josef Ehm, Charles Harbutt, Yasuhiro Ishimoto, Jaromir Funke, James Iska, Xu Xixian, Xu Jianrong, Barbara Ciurej, Lindsay Lochman, Alex S. MacLean, Simon Menner, Barbara Morgan, Antonio Perez, Tom Petrillo, Arthur Shay, Boris Savelev, Todd Watts, Michael Wolf, Jerry N. Uelsmann and Arnold Zann. The images cover many major cities of the world including: New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Rome, Bangkok, Shanghai, Las Vegas, Paris, Tokyo and Los Angeles.


Museum of Contemporary Photography

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