From the Underground to the Foreground

600 S. Michigan Ave. – Ferguson Hall

About The Event

Join Wrightwood 659 and the Museum of Contemporary Photography for a thought-provoking panel discussion on May 17th at 6 PM at the Ferguson Auditorium (600 S Michigan Ave). Art historians Greg Foster-Rice and Leslie Wilson explore Patric McCoy’s work in Wrightwood 659’s current exhibition, Patric McCoy: Take My Picture, situating his work within the broader historical context of Black and gay portraiture. McCoy’s candid photos in and around the Rialto Tap, a 24-hour gay bar now defunct in Chicago’s South Loop, stand as an important marker of place, time, and memory, particularly as an altar to those lost during the HIV/AIDS epidemic. 

Moderated by the exhibition’s curator, Juarez Hawkins, Foster-Rice and Wilson delve into the intersections of mass media, gender, sexuality, race, and the African diaspora, exploring their impact on McCoy’s photography in the broader canon of modern and contemporary American portraiture. Their dialogue offers an insightful examination of the crucial role of representation and agency in photography, emphasizing the medium’s ability to capture a subject’s humanity through a shared, intimate gaze.

Advance registration via Wrightwood 659 is strongly suggested to speed up the check-in process at 600 S. Michigan Ave.

Speaker Bios

Leslie M. Wilson is Associate Director for Academic Engagement and Research at the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the curator of not all realisms: photography, Africa, and the long 1960s currently on view at the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art, where she was a curatorial fellow from 2019 to 2021. Her research, teaching, and curatorial endeavors focus on the history of photography, the arts of Africa and the African diaspora, modern and contemporary American art, and museum studies. She has recently written for publications including Jamel Shabazz: AlbumsFOAM Magazine, and Manual. She holds a PhD in Art History from the University of Chicago and a BA in International Relations from Wellesley College.

Greg Foster-Rice (he/him) is an associate professor of the history of photography and Associate Provost for Student Retention Initiatives at Columbia College Chicago. Most recently, he curated The Many Hats of Ralph Arnold: Art, Identity & Politics, which opened at the Museum of Contemporary Photography (2018) and traveled to DePauw University in Fall 2022. For that exhibition, Foster-Rice edited and co-authored a scholarly catalogue of essays surveying Arnold’s extensive career. Previously he co-curated The City Lost and Found: Capturing New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, 1960-1980 at the Art Institute of Chicago and Princeton University Art Museum and co-authored that exhibition’s catalogue which received the Philip Johnson Award from the Society of Architectural Historians in 2015. He has a BA from Rice University and a PhD in Art History from Northwestern University.

Youngbloods, 1985, by Patric McCoy