Nearly 11,000 works of art filled the permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago in 2011. In an effort to map this considerable and eclectic landscape, the museum commissioned artist Jan Tichy to delve into the collection with an eye toward making it more accessible—and to produce an exhibition. Over the course of this endeavor, Tichy probed the collection’s characteristics, highlights, and parameters, as well as its elusiveness. Noting its seeming indefinability, asked questions and identify boundaries that facilitated a democratic, open-ended investigation. The exhibition featured installed collection objects in the Museum’s galleries as well as a number of his signature original, sitespecific light and video installations based on the objects and the collection as a whole.
Tichy’s project extended the reach of the MoCP collection and enhanced connections between the institution and the community. Over the course of the year, he worked with a group of graduate students from Columbia College Chicago, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Chicago to identify and develop strategies for better access to the online collection database. Using tagging applications, website design strategies and interactive elements, Tichy and the students worked towards expanding the collection into a larger community with find new ways to access and engage with the artworks housed at the MoCP.
This project was generously supported by the David C. & Sarajean Ruttenberg Arts Foundation. Additional generous support is provided by Paul and Dedrea Gray, the Richard Gray Gallery and the Interactive Arts & Media and Photography Departments of Columbia College Chicago.