Lecture in Photography: Barbara Tannenbaum | Will Success Spoil Photography?

Ferguson Lecture Hall

About The Event

Curator of Photography, Cleveland Museum of Art

Will Success Spoil Photography?

Why is an Andreas Gursky photo currently worth fifty times more than an Emmet Gowin or a Cindy Sherman fourteen times more than an Aaron Siskind? How – and why – did this escalation in price and status occur?  Photography’s move into the same marketplace as painting and sculpture has altered our perception of the medium’s dual nature as object and as image. What do these changes bode for the future of photography?


Barbara Tannenbaum has been Curator of Photography at the Cleveland Museum of Art since 2011. Recent exhibitions organized include Black in America: Louis Draper and Leonard Freed; Cheating Death: Portrait Photography’s First Half Century; Pyramids & Sphinxes, which examined how photography has impacted our understanding of ancient Egyptian monuments; DIY: Photographers and Books, which was the first museum show of print-on-demand photobooks; American Vesuvius, which looked at the aftermath of the eruption of Mount St. Helens in photographs by Frank Gohlke and Emmet Gowin; and solo exhibitions by TR Ericsson, Hank Willis Thomas and Lois Conner. From 1985 through 2011, Tannenbaum was chief curator at the Akron Art Museum, where she grew the photography collection from 500 to 2,500 works and organized over 85 exhibitions.

Dr. Tannenbaum earned her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and B.A. from Reed College. She has authored numerous publications including major books on TR Ericsson, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, and the Akron Art Museum’s collection, and lectured throughout the U.S. and in Canada and China. She regularly attends photo reviews including FotoFest and Filter to look at work by emerging artists, and serves on the board of the Fred and Laura Ruth Bidwell Foundation, which operates the Transformer Station in Cleveland.

All lectures are free and open to the general public.

Lectures in Photography is presented by the Museum of
Contemporary Photography and the Photography Department of Columbia College Chicago