By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) is a Milwaukee classic. Its iconic wings add a dynamic stance to the skyline and its inside houses a fair share of famous works from paintings to statues to photos. But, earlier this week, MAM announced an exciting exhibition to its ever-changing gallery.
Titled Family Pictures, MAM’s latest installment according to the press release is “an exhibition that explores the ways in which contemporary black photographers and artists have portrayed a range of familial relationships.”
The photos, videos and other installments to be featured were all done by black artists who were inspired by Roy DeCarava. The exhibition will conclude MAM’s current theme of home.
“Family Pictures offers an opportunity to present a more inclusive American story in relation to how we envision the family through diverse artistic perspectives,” said Herzfeld Curator of Photography and Media Arts Lisa Sutcliffe.
According to the press release, DeCarava, was a young man in Harlem during the 1940s better known as the Harlem Renaissance. During the latter half of the forties, DeCarava took up photography according to the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). Before then, he worked as a painter and with prints to create poster for the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
However, with the aid of his camera, DeCarava began capturing the life and soul of Harlem through his stunning photos. His work became known for portraying the everyday lives of black people in Harlem without the stereotype often pushed on them by white people. His later work also featured intimate portraits of Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and John Coltrane, per his bio on MOMA.
In 1952 he was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship. His photos during that time focused on his community and several years later he published 140 pictures. The photos were published in conjunction with The Sweet Flypaper of Life by Langston Hughes.
In that spirit, Family Pictures, will open with DeCarava and Hughes’s book. The other works featured will include pieces by LaToya Ruby Frazier, Lyle Ashton Harries, Deana Lawson and Carrie Mae Weems.
The Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio who organized the exhibition, chose photos that tell the everyday and typical lives of people and through these stories does the personal, emotion and political shine through.
“Family Pictures is the sort of exhibition that visitors can appreciate on a number of levels: artistically beautiful, socially meaningful and photographs people can personally connect to,” said Margaret Andera, interim chief curator and curator of contemporary art, Milwaukee Art Museum.
The exhibition will be open to the public on Sept. 14 through Jan. 20 2019. To learn more information about the exhibition and the museum in general visit mam.org.