FotoFocus announces over 100 projects debuting at 2022 FotoFocus Biennial

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FotoFocus announces over 100 projects debuting at 2022 FotoFocus Biennial
Steve Schapiro, We Shall Overcome, 1964. Gelatin silver print. Courtesy of the artist. Part of Miami University Art Museum: McKie Gallery’s exhibition Lens for Freedom: Civil Rights Photography by Steve Schapiro.

CINCINNATI, OH.- FotoFocus is pleased to announce its list of participating venues and projects for the 2022 FotoFocus Biennial, the sixth edition of the largest photography and lens-based art biennial in America. A record number of 90 venues across Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, Dayton, and Columbus will take part in the month-long celebration of photography this October, with each project centered around the theme of World Record. The biennial will feature more than 600 artists, curators, and participants, and open with an expanded week of programming from September 29–October 8, 2022.

Over 100 photography and lens-based art projects will be presented at museums, galleries, schools, theaters, nonprofit cultural centers, parks, hotels, and libraries, among other venues, including major new artist commissions and site-specific installations, solo exhibitions, group exhibitions, public art projects, performances, and film screenings. FotoFocus is partnering with 33 new participating venues, including the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Wexner Center for the Arts, and The Summit Hotel.

All programming for the 2022 FotoFocus Biennial is developed with and overseen by the FotoFocus curatorial team, comprising: Kevin Moore, Artistic Director and Curator; Carissa Barnard, Director of Curatorial Strategy; and Katherine Ryckman Siegwarth, Biennial Director.

Each project centers around the biennial theme of World Record, which considers photography’s extensive record of life on earth, humankind’s impact on the natural world, and the choices we now face as a global community. The contemporary and historic projects illuminate a broad range of topics, including nature, science, and exploration; outer space and space travel; climate change and its impact; human social lives within various environments, cultural and natural; forms of energy, past and present; the cultivation of natural resources; and utopian and dystopian visions of man in nature.

“This marks a monumental return to a month of dynamic programming in celebration of photography, with a record number of diverse venues participating to host exhibitions and programs,'' said FotoFocus Executive Director Mary Ellen Goeke. “We are elated by the commitment of all our participating venues throughout the region and delighted that this expanded reach will bring the Biennial to new audiences.”

Ambitious group exhibitions curated by FotoFocus and FotoFocus guest curators include On the Line: Documents of Risk and Faith at the Contemporary Arts Center, which explores the complex and contested relationship humans have with the environment, wilderness, nature, and place and includes work by Dawoud Bey, Mohamed Bourouissa, Mary Mattingly, Wendy Red Star, and more. In Images on which to build, 1970–1990s, also at the CAC, independent curator Ariel Goldberg presents work by artists and archivist collectives whose various documentations of the late 20th century reveal how influential LGBTQ+ image cultures ignited processes of learning. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center presents ‘Free as they want to be’: Artists Committed to Memory, which considers the role of historic and contemporary visual arts in remembering the legacies of slavery and efforts to explore the possibilities of freedom, while the Cincinnati Art Museum presents Natural World that centers on a new collaboration between visual artists David Hartt and John Edmonds, and poet Jason Allen-Paisant. The Carnegie presents These Things Are Connected, a group show that brings together five curators working within and outside the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region to select and develop projects with artists from different geographies.

Solo exhibitions and site-specific installations curated by FotoFocus and FotoFocus guest curators include multimedia artist Baseera Khan’s new and recent collages, sculpture, and video at the Contemporary Arts Center; a new commission of photographer Ian Strange’s site-specific, light-based architectural interventions on view at the Art Academy of Cincinnati; an exhibition at Michael Lowe Gallery featuring archival works on the theme of water from the personal collection of Tony Oursler, plus original installation works; a site-specific installation by Liz Roberts at CampSITE Sculpture Park that brings together new iterations of two works involving automobiles and projections; and an exhibition at the Taft Museum of Art of photographs by Nancy Ford Cones whose imaginative and exquisitely crafted works created on a small riverside farm in Loveland, OH were largely forgotten after her death.

For the first time, FotoFocus is collaborating with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra to present a special, live program of newly commissioned work by composers Arooj Aftab, Daniel Wohl, Rafiq Bhatia, and Dev Hynes, filmmakers Josephine Decker and Apichatpong Weerasethakul, and co-directors Mati Diop and Manon Lutanie. Sun Dogs is a multisensory attempt to understand the natural world that can’t be touched or measured.

Other projects at participating venues, which will be highlighted in the Biennial Program Week (September 29–October 8, 2022), include Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library’s installation of sound and photographs from their collection that document natural disasters; the Cincinnati Zoo and i.imagine Center of Photography’s presentation of images of endangered species currently living at the Cincinnati Zoo taken by teen photographers to raise awareness around the effects of climate change on animal species; The Garfield Theatre’s film series exploring hurricanes both scientifically and through sensory representations that evoke them experientially; and Kennedy Heights Arts Center’s examination of the effects of consumption, collection, and what is discarded in a juried group show that reflects on the record humans are leaving for future generations.

Projects that focus on the built environment include The Annex Gallery’s presentation of photographs by Cincinnati artist William Howes and Lebanese artist Gregory Buchackjian documenting the destructive effacement of the architectural heritage of their respective cities; DAAP Galleries:: Meyers Gallery’s exhibition of early 20th century works by photojournalist Paul Briol documenting the built and natural environment that continues to inform Cincinnati’s sense of place, identity, and community; and Clifton Cultural Arts Center’s look at the impact of pandemic lockdowns on New York City in photographs by internationally-exhibited artist Logan Hicks.

Participating venues highlighting socially-oriented projects include Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery’s presentation of new and ongoing lens-based projects by Michael Coppage that explore the negative archetypes and stark racial disparities still operating in the language and psychology of contemporary American culture; Antioch College: Herndon Gallery’s collection of work depicting a more complete image of the Black experience outside of the tragedies romanticized across the media; Cameron Granger’s installation in the Contemporary Art Center Kaplan Lobby that explores Columbus, Ohio’s history of Black migration and urban development; Miami University Art Museum: McKie Gallery’s presentation of 1964 photographs by Steve Schapiro of the historic Freedom Summer Project in Oxford, OH and in Mississippi; PAR-Projects: The Gallery at Studeō PAR-’s exhibition of artist Billy Colbert’s never-before-published moving portraits of Black Americans, which he weaves together to create compelling narratives; and art center Wave Pool’s investigation of tenderness as a radical tool to confront the racist and colonial gaze of photography.

The environment is recorded in projects at Lloyd Library through nature photography spanning more than a century; Manifest Creative Research Gallery’s exploration of the concept of forests, woodlands, and wood; The Mohawk Gallery at Robin Imaging’s curation of dramatic photographs of glaciers; and arts organization Visionaries and Voices expansive exhibition of diverse artists considering historic, present, and future possibilities of our impact on the world, specifically through the lens of the Mill Creek Basin.

Projects that center on family include University of Dayton: Radial Gallery’s presentation of photographs by artist Beth Chucker who questions and celebrates motherhood, childhood, and states in between; and Haehnle Gallery at St. John's Unitarian Universalist Church’s curation of local photographers documenting children battling cancer and related illnesses.

Survey-style projects include Miami University Art Museum: Farmer Gallery’s invitational of Ohio photographers; Northern Kentucky University School of the Arts Galleries exploration of the Commonwealth of Kentucky from various perspectives, time-periods, and voices; and The Contemporary Dayton’s display of hundreds of images photographer Amy Powell gathered from Instagram, all mapped within the Dayton, Ohio area.

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