Wit and Whimsy: The Photographs of Kenneth Josephson

October 16, 2015 - February 6, 2016
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Wit and Whimsy: The Photographs of Kenneth Josephson


Chicago artist Kenneth Josephson is best known for his witty images that explore the illusory nature of photography. In the 1960s, he was a pioneer in the genre of conceptual photography that questioned our tendency to accept the photographic image as “truth” and exposed the photographer’s role as the manipulator of information. In one of his best known works, New York State 1970, the artist’s arm and hand are seen holding the image of an ocean liner against a backdrop of ocean, making it clear that neither ocean nor ship are “real”—both are just recognizable images. In LA, he photographs his arm holding up a square of paper to frame a small, squiggly section of a painted white crosswalk, defining its curves as “art” as selected by the photographer, whose shadow can be seen in the corner of the image.

A native of Detroit, Josephson studied photography at the Rochester Institute of Technology and at the Illinois Institute of Technology with well-known photographers Harry Calahan and Aaron Siskind. He taught photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for 30 years. His work is included in museum collections worldwide, including the Figge Art Museum. The exhibition at the Figge will include classic images from Josephson’s early work along with more recent investigations of the potential of the photographic image.

This exhibition will be on display October 17, 2015 - February 7, 2016.

Sponsored by The Hunt and Diane Harris Family Foundation


Companion Event
Thursday, November 12
5:30 pm - Opening Reception
7 pm - Artist Talk with Kenneth Josephson


Kenneth Josephson, American, b. 1932, LA, 1982, gelatin silver print, Gift of Brent Sikkema, 2009.6.1

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