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Pictures for Charis

Date: September 21st, 2024
Time: 1:00 – 2:00 PM CT
Cost: FREE
Location: Columbia College Chicago Student Center | 754 S Wabash Ave

Join us for a conversation between Kelli Connell and Gregory Harris as they discuss, Pictures for Charis, Connell's new book published by Aperture and related exhibition that opens in Atlanta at the High Museum this Fall. 

Pictures for Charis offers a groundbreaking new work by artist Kelli Connell, synthesizing text and image, while raising vital questions about photography, gender, and portraiture in the twenty-first century.  

Pictures for Charis is a project driven by photographer Kelli Connell’s obsession with the writer Charis Wilson, Edward Weston’s partner, model, and collaborator during one of the most productive segments of his historic career. Connell focuses on Wilson and Weston’s shared legacy, traveling with her own partner, Betsy Odom, to locales where the latter couple made photographs together more than eighty years ago. Wilson wrote extensively about her travels and about her, and Weston’s, photographic concerns.  

In chasing Charis Wilson’s ghost, Connell tells her own story, one that finds a kinship with Wilson and, to her surprise, Weston, too, as she navigates her own life and struggles as an artist against a cultural landscape that has changed and yet remains mired in the many of the same thorny issues regarding the nature of desire and inspiration, and the relationship of artist and landscape.  

This rich weave of narrative and images complicates and breathes new life into a well-known set of photos, while also presenting an entirely new and mesmerizing body of work by Connell, her first work combining image and text as a mode of visual research and storytelling.  

Co-published by Aperture and the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson.

© Betsy, Santa Fe, 2016 30x40 inches, Archival Pigment Print

Kelli Connell is an artist whose work investigates sexuality, gender, identity and photographer-sitter relationships. Her work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the J Paul Getty Museum among others. Recent publications include Kelli Connell: Pictures for Charis (Aperture & Center for Creative Photography), PhotoWork: Forty Photographers on Process and Practice (Aperture) and the monograph Kelli Connell: Double Life (DECODE Books). Connell has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, MacDowell, and The Center for Creative Photography. Connell lives in Chicago where she teaches at Columbia College Chicago and is an editor at SKYLARK EDITIONS.

Gregory J. Harris is the Donald and Marilyn Keough Family Curator of Photography at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. He is a specialist in contemporary photography with a particular interest in documentary practice. Since joining the Museum in 2016, Harris has curated over a dozen exhibitions that consider an array of topics including social justice, the intersections of photography and self-taught art, and distinct history of photography in the South. He has grown the collection by more than 2,000 photographs, including major acquisitions by Deana Lawson, Paul Graham, and Zanele Muholi, and commissions by Jim Goldberg, and An-My Lê. Harris was previously the Assistant Curator at the DePaul Art Museum in Chicago and also held curatorial positions at the Art Institute of Chicago. He earned a BFA in photography from Columbia College Chicago and an MA in art history from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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