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Akron Art Museum presents varied, shifting views of family in photography exhibition
Diane Arbus, A Family on Their Lawn One Sunday in Westchester, New York, 1968, 1968 (printed 1973), gelatin silver print, Collection of the Akron Art Museum, Museum Acquisition Fund, 1981.43.

AKRON, OH.- The Akron Art Museum presents a varied look at families—inherited, created and adopted— in its upcoming photography exhibition. Family, which will be on view from February 25 through August 20, 2017, features familial interactions that range from intimate and spontaneous to prescribed and strained. The exhibition also offers viewers the opportunity to observe the rich spectrum of relationships between artists and their subjects.

Chief Curator Janice Driesbach said, “Photographs for Family were selected within an expansive definition, seeking to stimulate conversations about the intentions of the artists and the individual perspectives each visitor brings to the exhibition.”

Beyond serving as the fundamental social construct in every culture, family relationships are a rich resource for artists to explore and express all aspects of our shared humanity.

A staged triptych—Untitled (Woman with friends)— by Carrie Mae Weems explores the emotions and experiences that take place between men and women, mothers and daughters and good friends. In the triptych, the protagonist in the narrative series—enacted by Weems herself—moves through the break-up of a relationship.

Another work, A Family on Their Lawn One Sunday in Westchester, New York, 1968 by Diane Arbus, captures a portrait of a family whose mother Arbus met by chance in a bookstore. Although they knew each other only slightly, the family became complicit in how they were represented when the mother asked Arbus to delay her visit until it was warm so they could pose by their pool.

Family also features photographs by Harry Callahan, TR Ericsson, Walker Evans, Larry Fink, Helen Levitt, Danny Lyon and Mary Ellen Mark, among others.

Family is organized by the Akron Art Museum.

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