Jonas N.T. Becker
William Henry Jackson
Photography has played a vital role in our understanding of the outdoors, allowing us to view natural spaces without being physically present in them. Parks fill a similar role, as they provide institutional access points and infrastructure into wild, natural spaces. In his book Our National Parks (1901), John Muir, cofounder of the Sierra Club, wrote: “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, overcivilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.”[i] Presenting a selection of historical and contemporary works from the MoCP’s permanent collection and the Midwest Photographers Project, View Finder: Landscape and Leisure in the Collection considers the varied ways these designated outdoor spaces enhance human experience, from allowing for rest and refuge, to their ability to meet other, more subliminal needs.
The MoCP is supported by Columbia College Chicago, the MoCP Advisory Board, the Museum Council, individuals, and private and corporate foundations. The 2017-2018 exhibition season is generously sponsored by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Efroymson Family Fund, and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.