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Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art
Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art
114 Central Avenue
14853-4001 Ithaca
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Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art
Alexander Gardner, Dead at Gettysburg (Harvest of Death), 1863.

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art | Cornell University

Memory and the Photographic Image

Symposium & Exhibition

Symposium:
Memory and the Photographic Image
Friday, April 20, 5.15pm and
Saturday, April 21, 9.30am–3.30pm

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art
Ithaca, NY 14853
Tuesdays–Sundays, 10 am–5 pm
Free admission
607 255 6464

museum.cornell.edu

The Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University will hold a symposium in conjunction with its exhibition, Memory and the Photographic Image, on Friday and Saturday, April 20 and 21, 2012. The keynote address will be presented on Friday, April 20 at 5.15 pm. Geoffrey Batchen is a writer, curator, and educator whose work focuses on the history of photography and its role in modern life. He teaches at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. This talk is free and open to the public.

The symposium on Saturday, April 21 will feature presentations by Jennifer Blessing, senior curator of photography at the Guggenheim Museum in New York; Shimon Attie, a visual artist whose work engages local communities in finding new ways of representing their history, memory, and potential futures; and Carrie Mae Weems, a widely acclaimed photographer and artist who lives and works in Syracuse. (Program and participants are subject to change.)

For more information on advance registration for the Saturday symposium, which is free but required, please contact Elizabeth Saggese at 607 254 4642 or eas8@cornell.edu.
The Memory and the Photographic Image symposium is supported by Cornell’s Atkinson Forum in American Studies Program.
The exhibition Memory and the Photographic Image is on view from April 14 to September 9, 2012, at the Johnson Museum. For many photographers, memory plays a large role in the choice of subject and how that subject is interpreted—and how these images often become the only record of a moment passed. But photographs and their negatives can be manipulated, raising questions about the intent of the photographer and the experience of the viewer—so is this record truthful? This exhibition looks at the ways artists, including Julia Margaret Cameron, Alexander Gardner, Alfred Stieglitz, Margaret Bourke-White, Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, Andy Goldsworthy, and others see and translate personal memories onto film.

The exhibition
Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art
The Johnson Museum has a permanent collection of over 35,000 works of art from Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America. The museum building was designed by I. M. Pei and opened in 1973, funded by Cornell alumnus Herbert F. Johnson, late president and chairman of S C Johnson.
Press contact: Andrea Potochniak, arp37@cornell.edu.

For many photographers, memory plays a large role in the choice of subject and how that subject is interpreted. These images often become the only record of a moment passed, and therefore the one that is accepted as truth. But photographs and their negatives can be manipulated, raising questions about the intent of the visual choices offered by photographer, the experience of the viewer, and the question of control of our memories. If we were at the same place at the same time as the photographer, would we have the same experience of the event, and would we have taken the same image to remember it by? The answer is, most likely, no. So is our memory based on the photographer’s? This then begs the question of how many of our memories are made up of other people’s images—and how much input we really have on our own memories.

Encompassing various themes throughout the history of photography, including both intimate and informal portraits, perceptions of war, and our connections with urban scenes and landscapes, this exhibition examines our ideas about visual memory and how those memories are consumed and shared by viewers.

This exhibition has been the product of many hands, and I wish to thank Franz D. Hofer, PhD candidate in Cornell’s Department of History, for his enthusiasm and research for the exhibition texts in the section on War and Memory. Students from ARTH 2605—Contemporary Photography, taught by James Nisbet, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of the History of Art and the Society for the Humanities at Cornell, contributed wall labels for many of the individual works on view, providing their own insights about the subject of memory and one’s own individual perceptions.

We are also extremely grateful to the Atkinson Forum in American Studies for their support of the symposium, and to the Cornell Council for the Arts.

Nancy E. Green
The Gale and Ira Drukier Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs


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