Digital exhibitions showcase photographs from the MoCP permanent collection that have been selected by artists, curators, cultural producers, educators, and students often in response to the current exhibition on view. These exhibitions are displayed for a period of time in the MoCP’s Cornerstone Gallery —on monitors in the MoCP’s two windows at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Harrison Street—and virtually on the MoCP’s website. Originally conceived by artist Jan Tichy as part of a 2012 commission, Tichy invited guests to mine the MoCP collection and organize their own exhibitions around a central theme of their choosing that were displayed in the Cornerstone Gallery. All prior digital exhibitions have been archived on our website and appear below.
This project has been generously supported by the David C. and Sarajean Ruttenberg Foundation.
Fashion, Film and Fame: Works from the MoCP Collection
Simorgh, Curated by Narimon Safavi
Just as modern Iran, as depicted by this exhibition may at times seem melancholic or even depressed to the uninitiated eyes; to those aware of the Iranian history , the people of the country may seem quietly resilient and have a subdued confidence of a three millenia old culture of survivors. Surely current Iran is in part a product of a Utopian revolution and a devastating war with Iraq , as well as international sanctions. Sense of Global Isolation , selective nostalgia for the era before the revolution and a collective deprivation complex from worldly opportunities are all too common.
Yet, what distinguishes Iranians from many other nations that have disappeared from the face of the earth in the last 2500 years, is their subversive ability ( a gift from their poetry and art ) to survive the adversities of history and to reinvent themselves. Iran has re-risen to the level of a global power three times in its history after devastating defeats from outsiders as well as overcoming tyranny from insider. Hence , the SIMORGH , or the Persian Phoenix is the apt metaphor for my presentation , and my protestation of the title of this exhibition. What usually follows the burning of a generation is re-generation. -Narimon Safavi
Continuity Drift, curated by Kate Bowen
In the past four years, over thirty artists, curators, cultural producers, educators, and students have assembled digital exhibitions for the Cornerstone Gallery. The Cornerstone Gallery Project invites an open read of the collection, and as individuals curate unique projects, inevitably there is repetition in the selections made.
As the technical manager of the Cornerstone Gallery I have the opportunity to see how popular images like Bernice Abbott’s Collision of Two Balls or Robert Mapplethorpe’s Self Portrait, #385 operate in exhibitions with themes as disparate as abstraction, the human body, and music. As another example, images from the Changing Chicago Project, which had a specific directive for what and how participating artists explored the city of Chicago, have been used to express both the politics likely intended by the authors and also challenge the politics of the moment in which they were made. Within the framework of digital exhibitions, images are used to express an idea as if they are bits of language to appear as parts of a sentence.
Their original meaning and context is not removed, but rather reexamined, reformulated, and expanded.
Continuity Drift is a term that describes what happens to an episodic narrative structure over time. As a story progresses connections are made that weren’t initially present, what was thought to be truth becomes a type of fiction. What was perceived as insignificant becomes important. With this in mind I considered a smaller set of images within the collection, focusing on those that had been chosen multiple times by different curators. Typically digital exhibitions are set to play in a continuous synchronized loop allowing the same images in the left and right window to always be seen together. With this selection the slideshows will fall out of sync slowly over the course of the exhibition allowing for these images to connect in new ways within this defined set. By repackaging these works once again, my exhibition embraces ways the meanings of photographs are always being negotiated. Part of that negotiation is the context that surrounds an image, and the endless number of connections that can be made when visual imagery is paired.
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
UTOPIA: Customs Declaration Form, curated by Tim Kinsella
UTOPIA: Customs Declaration Form Sure Utopia is a symbol and I guess people assume it cannot actually be realized. And as a symbol it represents a space.
And as a space it must have parameters because that is what specifically defines a space - its boundaries - or else that space would just expand endlessly and become everywhere.
So what defines the borders of Utopia? What tension is at the boundaries of our imagined perfection? What stands at its fences looking in? And how is it guarded? This is our fantasies I'm talking about - liberated from concerns of applicable practicality and necessity. In our ideals and dreams, do we build tall walls at the edges of Utopia Town?
Even the words we use on our most formal of forms are blurry: “customs" stands as a point of access or denial and "customs" define a culture. A "form" is filled out with a ballpoint pen to admit or omit your casual smugglings, and your spirit embodies your "form."
These photos, grouped with these thoughts in mind, in hopes that collectively they might subconsciously evoke these questions, represent the appropriate borders I could think to draw for one entering Michael's vision of Chicago Music.
--Tim Kinsella in conjunction with the exhibition "Michael Schmelling: Your Blues" Oct 16 — Dec 21, 2014
Ways of Seeing, curated by Hyounsang Yoo
Ways of Seeing is a collection of images from the MOCP archive. The concept of the exhibition stems from public perceptions of military acts and borderlands, versus the human reality of the individuals serving in these positions or living in contested areas.
Many images of military acts are highly censored and people cannot access them in daily life.
As Paul Virilio states “the more speed increases, the faster freedom decreases.” Jean Baudrillard contends that simulacra depict things that either have no reality to begin with, or that no longer have any original meaning. I investigate both ideas by questioning the simulacra of the process of selection.
This selection of photographs is divided into two main sections—one showing the inside perspective of a military borderland and the other suggesting an outside perspective, such as images containing gestures of people gazing and looking at images through screens or other devices. This collection of images represents how “reality” in photographs can change and morph, depending on the context. --Hyounsang Yoo
My Favorite Things, curated by Iké Udé
I sought and selected images that resonated with my varied aesthetic sensibilities and sympathies.
In my work, I am increasingly interested in the presence of an image or images and less with meaning, specificity, and politics. And it is exactly this poetic meaningless and presence that inspired the exhibition, My Favorite Things, which points to a newer direction of keen interest in my work and the work? of others that I fancy. --Iké Udé