Edith Carlson Gallery
This winter, the Weisman is pleased to present Locally Grown: Documentary Photography of Minnesota Communities, an exhibition of documentary photographs by Minnesota artists, drawn from museum’s permanent collection, curated by 2019-20 O’Brien Curatorial Fellow Ashley Cope. Documentary photography published in magazines and books has seen a decline in recent years, with the advent of television, digital media, and infinite online content. But it was once an indispensable window on the world, granting the public a view of historic events, far-off locations, and unfamiliar scenes. Unlike photojournalism, a form of photography that focuses on breaking news stories and current events , documentary photography favors long-term projects, ongoing social issues, and stories that are better understood through a series of photographs featuring related subjects. Though documentary photography has undoubtedly captured historic events and locations, everyday life has always been tied to the practice as well.
Though an everyday scene can appear unimportant at first blush, the intimacy of a day-in-the-life photograph can evoke an array of emotions, depending on the present-day context and viewers’ personal experiences. The selected photographs in this exhibition invite closer inspection of daily life in Minnesota and meditation on the cross-section of the state’s communities pictured. All six of the featured photographers are from or currently based in Minnesota: Joseph Allen, Laura Migliorino, Tom Arndt, David L. Parker, Wing Young Huie, and Michael Dvorak. Their work spans five decades and highlights family, friendship, culture, religion, sexuality, work, inequality, hardship, and joy among other broad topics. We hope these works spark curiosity and an urge to genuinely connect with Minnesota and its diverse people, the beating heart of the state.
Image credits (L to R at top): Laura Migliorino, Silverod Street #1 (detail), 2008. Inkjet print on canvas, 24 x 24 in. Ethelyn J Bros Fund. 2008.16; Joseph Allen, Clyde Bellecourt (White Earth Ojibwe) (detail), 2001. Chromagenic print, 48 1/8 x 39 7/8 in. The Ethelyn J. Bros Fund. 2002.3.2; Tom Arndt, Waiting for the Bus, 7th Street, Minneapolis (detail), 2006. Gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 in. Gift of David L. and Mary M. D. Parker. 2010.24.61
About the Exhibition Curator
Ashley Cope earned her degrees in Art History and Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Minnesota in spring 2019. Throughout her undergraduate education, she held internships at the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the Weisman Art Museum and received all awards offered by the Department of Art History. Her capstone paper, “Amending History: How Integrating Theresa Bernstein Enhances the Narrative of Twentieth-Century American Realism,” demonstrates Ashley’s passion for celebrating underrepresented artists and received the spring 2019 Capstone Award. As the 2019-2020 O’Brien Fellow, Ashley worked closely with Senior Curator, Diane Mullin, on a variety of projects. In addition to her work curating this exhibition, she also helped to prepare materials for Harriet Bart: Abracadabra and Other Forms of Protection, More is More: The Lyndel and Blaine King Collection, and B. J. O. Nordfeldt: An American Internationalist—for which she also did extensive work on the accompanying catalog. Ashley is currently pursuing her PhD in Art History with a focus on American modernism and U.S. visual and material culture at the University of Maryland, College Park. She hopes to apply her education and experiences as an O’Brien Fellow towards her future career in the museum field.