The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 2008

A Mind at Play

Mind at Play
June 14–September 7, 2008
The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
curated by David Travis


Brassaï once told an interviewer that were he to record their conversation he would get nothing but a voice on tape; otherwise he could enjoy a mind at play. This situation is similar to the way many people think about photography, that is, the resulting picture is merely an optical copy of what was in front of the camera. Yet, because each of us may perceive the same scene or object differently, the mind of the observer can be at play creating a personal experience of the work through mystery, humor, sentiment, drama, illusion, or emotional empathy.This exhibition features the work of artists who embraced this notion of the viewer’s subjective experience and explored how such perceptions can be manipulated through photography. Works from the Art Institute's collection, including those by Kenneth Josephson, Robert Cumming, and Andre Kertesz, provide unexpected and often humorous approaches to this theme. Boundaries of traditional photography will also be explored from an unconventional, though more somber perspective with the work of Duane Michals. The images presented in this exhibition examine the realm of photography beyond its basic function of strict recording and challenge the ways in which this medium can illuminate how one perceives reality.


Exhibiting artists:
Ansel Easton Adams, Manuel Alvarez-Bravo , Jean-Eugène-Auguste Atget,  Zeke Berman,Erwin Blumenfeld, Jay Boersma, Leon Borensztein, Brassaï (Gyula Halász), Suzette Bross, Gary Brotmeyer, Henri Cartier-Bresson, William Clift,  Calum Colvin, Robert Cumming,Elliott Erwitt, Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, Valery Gerlovin,  Judith Golden, Nicole Gravier, John Gutmann, Milton Halberstadt,  Robert Heinecken, David Hockney, Teun Hocks,  Birney Imes, III,  Alfredo Jaar, Kenneth Josephson, Peter Keetman, Thomas Kellner,  André Kertész, Igor Kopystiansky, Vera Lehndorff, Nathan Lerner, Helen Levitt, Man Ray (Emmanuel Radnitzky), Angus McBean, Larry E. McPherson, Duane Stephen Michals, Richard Misrach, Abelardo Morell, Vik Muniz, Nadar (Gaspard Félix Tournachon),  Marvin Newman,  Sue Packer, Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison, Ed Paschke, John Pfahl,  Lucas Samaras,  Art Shay, Aaron Siskind, Joel Sternfeld, Umbo (Otto Umbehr), Pim van Os, Garry Winogrand.

The Art Institute of Chicago
Mind at Play
14 June - 7 September 2008
111 South Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois, 60603-6404
opening hours:
Monday – Wednesday, 10:30 – 5:00
Thursday – Friday, 10:30 – 9:00
(free admission 5:00 – 9:00)
Saturday – Sunday, 10:00 – 5:00