Picturing Love

19 Mar — 25 Jun 2017 at Katonah Museum of Art in Katonah, United States

21 JANUARY 2017
Tracey Baran, Untitled (Double Self-Portrait), 2008/2016 © Estate of Tracey Baran. Courtesy Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York.
Tracey Baran, Untitled (Double Self-Portrait), 2008/2016 © Estate of Tracey Baran. Courtesy Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York.

The Katonah Museum of Art (KMA) is pleased to announce its spring exhibition, Picturing Love: Photography’s Pursuit of Intimacy, on view from March 19 to June 25, 2017.

Intimacy may be the most difficult subject to capture in a photograph, but in the present moment of like, love, and swipe, it is one of its main subjects. This exhibition takes a step back to look at the formidable history of this subject in photography from the nineteenth century to the present moment, underscoring how changes in camera technology as well as social norms, among other factors, impact—with powerful and often disarming frankness—how love looks today.

Inspired by Nan Goldin’s The Hug (1980) and divided into sections that represent kissing, holding, mothering, among other themes, Picturing Love includes works by renowned artists as well as lesser known and anonymous authors; indeed the snapshot era of the early twentieth century produced some of the most indelible images in the exhibition.

Scenes of coupling are complemented by mother-child pictures made in the late nineteenth century, when subjects were frozen in place for prolonged exposures that added a formality to even the closest of familial relationships. The majority of the works in the exhibition foreground constructs of intimacy within the confines of domestic and personal space.

Questioning the dynamic and orientation of the observer to the observed, the works stage a multiplicity of desire— performed by the photographer, the photographed, and the viewer. Featured artists include Tracey Baran, Brassaï, Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst, Hashem el Madani, Nan Goldin, Laura Letinsky, Catherine Opie, Richard Renaldi, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, and James Van Der Zee.

The exhibition is at once a discrete slice of a fascinating topic and a broad look at photography’s many chapters and technological evolutions. Learning opportunities centered on the history of documentary and narrative photography for both adults and children will be featured at the Museum. The exhibition is organized by KMA Executive Director Darsie Alexander with Dolmatch Fellow Olga Dekalo.