Aperture at The New School—Confounding Expectations: Portrait/Politic

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Thursday, November 14
6:30 pm
Wollman Hall, The New School
65 West 11th Street
New York, NY


Join Gregory Halpern, Deana Lawson, and Richard Renaldi as they come together for a panel discussion on the politics embedded within the intentional photographic portrait. In Halpern’s 2003 series Harvard Works Because We Do, he contested wage inequality in the face of corporate interests and reaffirmed the potential of the social documentary image. Lawson’s photographs cut through appearances, assumptions, and stereotypes, negotiating intimate compositions that earnestly and politically empower her subjects through representations of the body against a domestic backdrop. Renaldi, whose forthcoming Aperture book Touching Strangers literally illustrates its title, questions the definitions of family and kinship in America. Through portraiture, all three artists make known the forces that underwrite the social parceling of society: politics, family, religion, and sexuality. The panel, moderated by curator Charlotte Cotton, will consider the content and context of relationships between subject and photographer, photographer and image, and image and viewer, as well as new potential avenues for portraiture as a genre.

Presented by Aperture Foundation in partnership with the Photography Department at Parsons The New School for Design and the Vera List Center for Art and Politics.

Charlotte Cotton is an independent curator of photography who has worked as head of the Wallis Annenberg Department of Photography at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and curator of photographs at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Cotton is the author of The Photograph as Contemporary Art (2004) and founder of the projects Words Without Pictures (published as a book by Aperture in 2010) and Either/And (2012).

Gregory Halpern (born in Buffalo, New York, 1977) received a BA in history and literature from Harvard University in 1999, followed by an MFA in photography from the California College of the Arts in 2004. Halpern is the author of three monographs, including Harvard Works Because We Do (2003), Omaha Sketchbook (2009), and, most recently, A (2011). Halpern has exhibited at Clamp Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Oakland Museum of California; Philadelphia Photo Arts Center; and San Francisco Camerawork. Halpern, a recipient of the Aaron Siskind Individual Photographer’s Fellowship, has been nominated for the Henri Cartier-Bresson International Award and an International Center of Photography Infinity Award. Halpern lives in Rochester, New York.

Deana Lawson (born in Rochester, New York, 1979) received an MFA in photography from Rhode Island School of Design in 2004. Her work focuses on the psychological, personal, political, and historical experiences that are implicated through the body. Lawson has received an Aaron Siskind Individual Photographer’s Fellowship and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship. Her work has been featured in publications such as Time Out New YorkContact Sheet, andPhotography Quarterly and exhibited widely. She has held artist residencies at Light Work, Syracuse, New York, and Visual Studies Workshop, Rochester, New York. Lawson lives and works in Brooklyn.

Richard Renaldi (born in Chicago, 1968) received his BFA in photography from New York University in 1990. Exhibitions of his photographs have been mounted in galleries and museums throughout the United States, Asia, and Europe. In 2006, Renaldi’s first monograph, Figure and Ground, was published by Aperture. His second monograph, Fall River Boys, was published in 2009. Renaldi is the founder and publisher of Charles Lane Press, an independent publisher that showcases important new projects by contemporary photographers.

Image: Gregory Halpern

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