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Fotofocus Announces 2012 Month-Long Celebration of Photography in Cincinnati
Laurel Nakadate, Lucky Tiger #119, 2009. Type C-print with fingerprinting ink, 4 x 6 inches. Unique. Courtesy Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York.

CINCINNATI, OH.- FotoFocus, a nonprofit arts organization, announces the October 2012 launch of its first biennial month-long regional celebration of historical and contemporary photography and lens-based art. On Friday, October 14, 2011, 7 to 10 pm, in collaboration with 3CDC’s Fountain Square Rocktober Series, FotoFocus will preview highlights of the October 2012 upcoming event with video works and still images from featured exhibitions. The community is invited to be present at 7 pm to be part of the panoramic record photographer Thomas R. Schiff will create of the preview event that will be available for download on the FotoFocus website: ArtWorks artists-designed photo booths are available on Fountain Square. Posters published by FotoFocus in association with Iconoclast Editions featuring images from some of FotoFocus 2012’s most exciting artists will be given away during the event.

A catalyst for unprecedented regional inter-institutional collaboration and community engagement, FotoFocus brings together museums, galleries, and universities showcasing world-renowned artists and national and regional standouts. The event also features emerging talents and students in “pop-up” exhibitions at alternative spaces, community art centers, and other grass roots organizations. FotoFocus celebrates and champions the ubiquity of photography and its important role in contemporary culture. In programming that brings together artists, collectors, curators, educators, and other specialists, FotoFocus offers audiences an exciting opportunity to learn about and experience the diverse currents of photography.

FotoFocus recaptures the spirit of Cincinnati’s legacy as an epicenter of art production, collaboration, and creative exchange, and seeks to revitalize and rebuild that spirit for the 21st century. Participating venues include: the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Contemporary Arts Center, and the Taft Museum of Art, and other institutional partners such as Northern Kentucky University, Ohio University’s Kennedy Museum, the University of Cincinnati, and Miami University, the Weston Art Gallery, the Carnegie Arts Center, the Mercantile Library, the Architectural Foundation of Cincinnati, the Art Academy of Cincinnati, as well as 21c Museum Hotel, Country Club, Carl Solway Gallery, Prairie, Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center, among others.

James Crump, Chief Curator, and, since 2008, the Curator of Photography at the Cincinnati Art Museum co-chairs FotoFocus with Raphaela Platow, Alice and Harris Weston Director and Chief Curator of the Contemporary Arts Center. “Photography is the medium of our time,” says Crump. “We all have phones in our pockets with cameras, a large part of the population engages with online digital content that’s photo-derived. Given this democratization of technology, and photography’s ubiquity, it has become the most accessible medium, the perfect bridge to bring people and art together.”

FotoFocus is an event long envisioned by Thomas R. Schiff, a driving force for the arts in Cincinnati. A lifelong champion of the medium, Schiff is an advocate for inter-institutional collaboration, witnessed, for example, by the Lightborne Visiting Artist and Lecture Series, a partnership between the Cincinnati Art Museum and the Art Academy of Cincinnati that twice yearly hosts free lectures by titans in the medium such as Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Sandy Skoglund, Jerry Uelsmann, Thomas Demand, Hank Willis Thomas, and Doug Aitken. Laurel Nakadate, currently featured in an acclaimed one -person exhibition at MoMA PS1, New York, will be the Lightborne Visiting Artist and Lecturer during FotoFocus 2012.

FotoFocus programming offers a dialectic between contemporary photo-based art and the history of photography. Highlights of the first installment include the compelling juxtaposition of the Taft Museum’s Star Power: Edward Steichen’s Glamour Photography, focused on the father of modern fashion photography and one of the best known and highest paid photographers of the 1920s and 30s, and the Cincinnati Art Museum’s exhibition Herb Ritts: L.A. Style, showcasing the leading fashion and celebrity photographer of the late twentieth century. Just off the recent success of their Big Bambú installation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and the 2011 Venice Biennale, Doug and Mike Starn will present Gravity of Light, an immersive, experiential installation organized by James Crump, in the historic Holy Cross Church in Mt. Adams. The Contemporary Art Center features a groundbreaking exhibition devoted to Andy Warhol’s Polaroid portraits. “Warhol defines pop art and the language of popular culture we all recognize in photography today,” says Platow. “He is the artist that gave us all permission to free ourselves from the strictures of what is and is not art, and he remains an inspiration to use photography in ways that engage the rest of media and art.”

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