Family Pictures

September 14, 2018–January 20, 2019
Herzfeld Center for Photography and Media Arts

Taking its inspiration from Roy DeCarava’s landmark book from 1955, The Sweet Flypaper of Life, this exhibition traces the ways in which black artists have used photographs of family to challenge and transform both artistic and popular images since the postwar period. Coming of age in Harlem during the 1940s, DeCarava reacted against what he saw as superficial stereotypes and “sociological” studies of his neighborhood by mostly outsiders. With the aid of a Guggenheim Fellowship, DeCarava set out to create expressive photographs of domestic life in his community. The Sweet Flypaper of Life features 120 of these pictures and text by Langston Hughes; the book is a powerful commentary on issues of family and race, and on the particular and universal realities of daily existence.

Family Pictures brings together the work of photographers and artists who have similarly portrayed family life or small communities, including John Edmonds, LaToya Ruby Frazier, Lyle Ashton Harris, Deana Lawson, Lorraine O’Grady, Gordon Parks, Sondra Perry, Ming Smith, and Carrie Mae Weems.

Organized by the Columbus Museum of Art

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Programs + Events

Member Drink & Think: Family Pictures

Thursday, September 20, 5:30 PM

Enjoy cocktails and socialize with other Members before getting an insider’s look at the exhibition Family Pictures, with Lisa Sutcliffe, Herzfeld Curator of Photography and Media Arts.

Included is one glass of wine or beer from the cash bar, which opens at 5:30 p.m. The tour begins at 6:15 p.m., followed by time for questions and discussion.

This event is a benefit for Members at the Art Advocate level ($200) and above. RSVP at 414-224-3284 or membership@mam.org.

Not a Member? Join today!

  • Carrie Mae Weems, from Family Pictures and Stories, 1981-82. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.