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Alec Soth: Sleeping by the Mississippi on View at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Alec Soth, Reverand Cecil and Felicia, Saint Louis, Missouri, 2002. Chromogenic print. 40-1/8 x 50-1/8 in. Gift of Emily and Mark Goldstein. Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

MINNEAPOLIS.- The Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA) presents selections from Sleeping by the Mississippi, the acclaimed series of photographs by Minneapolis photographer Alec Soth, from May 31 through August 10, 2008. Drawn from the MIA’s recent acquisition of the entire series, “Alec Soth: Sleeping by the Mississippi” comprises twenty-six prints, including several unpublished prints. This exhibition is organized by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and curated by Mikka Gee Conway, Assistant Director for Exhibitions and Programs at the MIA.

“We are tremendously excited to have made this acquisition,” said Conway. “Soth is a great photographer and this is his most famous body of work. The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is a natural home for this series, and we’re proud to present it.”

In December 2007, the MIA acquired large-scale (40-by-50-inch) prints of all forty-six images reproduced in Soth’s book Sleeping by the Mississippi, plus six unpublished prints, making the only complete set of the series in any museum collection. The acquisition was made possible through the generosity of many donors, including the artist himself; southern California collectors Dan and Mary Solomon and Emily and Mark Goldstein; New York collectors Mitchell and Nancy Steir; and longtime MIA supporters Alfred and Ingrid Lenz Harrison.

Soth, who was born in 1969, originally trained as a painter and from 1996 through 2003 was employed as a digital image specialist at the MIA. The forty-six photographs in his book Sleeping by the Mississippi were made between 1999 and 2002 during the course of the Soth’s wanderings along the Mississippi River, from its origins at Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico.

The acquisition of this significant body of work is only the most recent example of the MIA’s continuing commitment to contemporary photography. The MIA has a long history of championing the art of photography, including the work of contemporary practitioners. Among the MIA’s earliest acquisitions of photographs were prints by Diane Arbus and Richard Avedon. Work by living artists has been added regularly to the collection since the department’s founding in 1973.

Presentation of this exhibition is supported with a gift from C. Curtis Dunnavan. Additional support is provided by Blythe Brenden and generous donors to the creation of Arts Circle at the MIA.

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