CALLAHAN'S CHILDREN: Recent Retrospectives of Photographers from the Institute of Design

By Longmire, Stephen | Afterimage, September 2000 | Go to article overview

CALLAHAN'S CHILDREN: Recent Retrospectives of Photographers from the Institute of Design


Longmire, Stephen, Afterimage


Yasuhiro Ishimoto: A Tale of Two Cities

The Art Institute of Chicago

Chicago, Illinois

May 8-September 12, 1999

Museum of Fine Arts

Houston, Texas

October 17, 1999-January 2, 2000

Kenneth Josephson: A Retrospective

The Art Institute of Chicago

Chicago, Illinois

September 25, 1999-January 16, 2000

The Whitney Museum of American Art

New York, New York

February 22-May 27, 2001

Ray K. Metzker: Landscapes

Philadelphia Museum of Art

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

November 18, 2000-February 11, 2001

Yasuhiro Ishimoto: A Tale of Two Cities

Colin Westerbeck, with contributions by Arata Isozaki and Fuminori Yokoe

Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago (distributed by University of Washington Press), 1999

144 pp./$29.95 (sb)

Kenneth Josephson: A Retrospective

Sylvia Wolf, with an essay by Andy Grundberg and a chronology and interview by Stephanie Lipscomb

Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago (distributed by D.A.P.), 1999

200 pp./$35.00 (sb)

City Stills

Ray K. Metzker, with an introduction by Lawrence G. Miller

Munich, London, New York: Prestel, 1999

96 pp./$39.95 (hb)

Ray K. Metzker: Landscapes

Evan H. Turner

New York: Aperture, 2000

160 pp./$50.00 (hb)

Traditions of photography can form for the serious student a strangling noose, a hobbling crutch, a ladder to freedom.

Arthur Siegel [1]

In 1961 Aperture dedicated an issue to photography by five recent and current graduate students of Chicago's Institute of Design (I.D.): Joseph Jachna, Kenneth Josephson, Ray Metzker, Joseph Sterling and Charles Swedlund. All received the Master of Science in Photography degree from I.D. between 1959 and 1962, making them among the first photographers in the country to hold such a degree. [2] In 1950 the I.D. became the first American art school to offer a graduate program in photography, granting its first advanced degrees in 1952. So it is not surprising that Aperture's editor Minor White--himself a photography professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where Josephson had been an undergraduate--opens the issue by welcoming the new initiates. He congratulates their hometown on doing the same: "Yearly a few arrive at the threshold of camera work. But only in Chicago does the city art museum acknowledge 'arrival' with a public exhibition." [3]

Hugh Edwards, who became the Art Institute of Chicago's first Curator of Photography in 1959, also championed the work of these young photographers--a favor he extended to many young photographers who came to prominence at the time. [4] Between 1959 and 1963 he gave Metzker, Jachna and Swedlund solo exhibitions. Edwards helped Josephson get his teaching job at the School of the Art Institute in 1960 and gave him a solo exhibition in 1971. [5] The Art Institute would provide Josephson a home for the remainder of his creative life, With its school and museum under one roof, the institution embodied in its very architecture the new professionalism in the arts.

Times have certainly changed. Today it takes more than an advanced degree and a portfolio for a photographer to get a museum show, and museum shows of photography are no longer rare. Like most museums, the Art Institute of Chicago prefers established artists to new ones. Now--thanks to the pioneering efforts of Edwards, White and the I.D., among others--there is an academic tradition of art photography for museums to uphold. At the time, what Edwards did was like exhibiting graffiti in a museum today--bringing Stephen Dedalus's proverbial "shout in the street" indoors. But, as a result of his work, few of the photographers Edwards championed resemble street artists at the end of their careers. …

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