See Haunting Historical Photos From the Depths of Chicago Photography Museum’s Archives
A new exhibition looks back to the past.
As it prepares to celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2016, the Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP) in Chicago is digging through its archives to exhibit works by some of history’s most notable photographers. The show, “MoCP at 40”, will survey four decades of works by such artists as Diane Arbus, Gordon Parks, Sally Mann, and Andy Warhol, among others.
Spanning from the late 19th century to the 21st, the exhibition will highlight various photographic forms and techniques, from the traditional black-and-white documentary style of Walker Evans to the saturated photomontage works of Daniel Gordon, and much in between.
The exhibition will also include portfolios of artists from the Midwest Photographer’s Project, an initiative launched in 1982 dedicated to showcasing the works of well- and lesser-known photographers from the Midwestern United States.
While the show is intended more as a celebratory retrospective of the museum’s growth since its founding in 1976, , it does raise questions of what a “contemporary” institution is to do as it ages. It draws to mind Le Corbusier’s Museum of Unlimited Growth, a Utopian plan for a museum that could grow with time, archiving the past and present simultaneously and infinitely.
If “contemporary” institutions want to appreciate the current day and not mummify it like they have the “Modern” era, perhaps they should look around more, rather than looking back.
However, the images below show how far photography has progressed in the past four decades, capturing moments in history, more quotidian times, and, later, forays into image-making and manipulation. Scroll down for a preview of what the MoCP will have on display for their 40th birthday.
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