Picture Fiction: Kenneth Josephson and Contemporary Photography


  • Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

April 28–December 30, 2018

Kenneth Josephson, Chicago, 1972. Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Gift of the Foster Charitable Trust in memory of Reuben A. Foster, 1983.37

Chicago conceptual photographer Kenneth Josephson (American, b. 1932) has spent his career scrutinizing photography’s inherent reproducibility and circulation, making use of a mass-cultural archive of images, and mastering self-reflexive, often humorous devices–methods undoubtedly a result of Josephson’s years at the Institute of Design, where as a student he studied under Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. He afterward went on to teach at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for nearly forty years. 

Examining Josephson’s production from roughly 1960–1980, Picture Fiction: Kenneth Josephson and Contemporary Photography focuses on his four main, ongoing series: Images within Images, Marks and Evidence, History of Photography Series, and Archaeological Series. Largely drawn from the MCA Chicago’s permanent collection, the exhibition reveals concerns shared by Josephson and conceptual artists emerging in the 1960s, and moreover, draws parallels between his practice and contemporary artists’, including: Roe Ethridge, Jessica Labatte, Marlo Pascual, Jimmy Robert, and Xaviera Simmons. 

The exhibition is organized by Michael Darling, James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator, and Lauren Fulton, former Curatorial Research Fellow at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.