These digital exhibitions showcase photographs from the MoCP collection that have been selected by students, educators, curators, and international artists.
Motherhood in the MoCP Collection
These images are drawn from the Museum of Contemporary Photography’s permanent collection to connect with themes explored in the exhibition Home Truths: Photography and Motherhood. In her essay for Home Truths, curator Susan Bright states that the exhibition “aims to challenge long-held stereotypes and sentimental views of motherhood.”
In that spirit, this selection of pictures juxtaposes iconic images and photographic tropes of maternity with unembellished, and at times jarring, portrayals of motherhood and familial relationships. Like the exhibition, this set expresses a range of emotions and observations associated with parenting, while also considering ways visual culture influences the experience of being both a mother and a child.
The Travelling Photographer, curated by Victoria Sambunaris
There is a sense of euphoria when first leaving New York and hitting the road. After crossing the Mississippi River going west, everything slows down. The wheels begin to churn and the bottled up thoughts begin to flow. The inner turmoil that seemed enormous appears trivial. Wide vistas pass along the windshield and the mind becomes transfixed. Passing in and out of towns, the townsfolk are curious about the sole traveler. Fleeting encounters of whole lives lived are pondered while driving on.
This is the allure of life on the road as a traveling photographer.
The hardest part is leaving what is comfortable, meeting the unfamiliar, and getting out of the car to take a picture. The capture of a singular moment—as in these photographs—is addictive. It keeps a photographer coming back and moving on.
The two bodies of work here—one of places, the other of people—might well be manifestations of the traveling photographer. I chose photographs from the collection that I identified with: views that I might have seen, people that I might have met, but didn’t. I wish I had.
The places reflect the physical experience of traversing the road: the anonymous towns, the snaking roads, the distant trains, the incessant sky, the grandeur of the open landscape. The people comprise intimate moments and transitory views of lives lived in the worlds that make up who we are in this place, at this time: the enraptured dancer, the jumping cowboy, the painted lady, the fellow traveler, the countless glances.
Each moment in each photograph has its own tale to tell and represents someone’s world—to know, to remember, and, in this digital exhibition, to make your own.
For more information, view the Victoria Sambunaris: Taxonomy of a Landscape exhibition page .
Always Changing Chicago
Always Changing Chicago is a partnership with Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events (DCASE) and the Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP) at Columbia College that features a selection of photographs from the MoCP’s permanent collection exhibited in digital format on various JCDecaux billboards throughout the city of Chicago. The images were selected from five unique series within the Changing Chicago Project, one of the largest documentary photography projects organized in an American city. In 1987, the project commissioned thirty-three photographers to document life throughout Chicago's diverse urban and suburban neighborhoods.
Sponsored by the Focus/Infinity Fund of Chicago, the Changing Chicago Project was organized with the support of the MoCP, The Art Institute of Chicago, the Field Museum of Natural History, the Chicago Historical Society, and the Chicago Office of Fine Arts at the Chicago Public Library Cultural Center, which is now DCASE.
2014 marks 25 years since the concurrent 1989 exhibition of the Changing Chicago Project at the five organizing cultural organizations. Focusing on five series made by photographers Jay Boersma, Ron Gordon, Rhondal McKinney, Bob Thall, and the collaborative team Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman, Always Changing Chicago juxtaposes selected vernacular images of Chicago from the original Changing Chicago Project with the continually changing urban landscape that surrounds the city’s Interstate arterials. The concept of changing is advanced even further in acknowledging how the artwork featured on the billboards was initially produced as photographic prints, and is now becoming digital in format.
Always Changing Chicago is the inaugural public art project presented on the new JCDecaux digital billboards as part of the City’s Chicago Digital Network. It advances the Chicago Cultural Plan in numerous ways, especially in how it uses DCASE’s platform to promote Chicago artists, creates a city-wide approach to cultural assets by planning jointly with other cultural agencies, expand public art placement across the city, and broadens public art programming to include more art forms and approaches. It is our hope that passersby of the billboards will be inspired to reflect on the continually changing Chicago landscape.