North Carolina Museum of Art presents Outsiders: Facing the Camera

. September 12, 2013

The North Carolina Museum of Art presents Outsiders: Facing the Camera an exhibition, on view through January 26, 2014.

Nan Goldin, Vivienne in the Green Dress, NYC, 1980, cibachrome print, 38 3/4 x 26 in., North Carolina Museum of Art, Gift of Dr. Carlos Garcia-Velez, © 1980 Nan Goldin

Nan Goldin, Vivienne in the Green Dress, NYC, 1980, cibachrome print, 38 3/4 x 26 in., North Carolina Museum of Art, Gift of Dr. Carlos Garcia-Velez, © 1980 Nan Goldin

This exhibition brings together works from the NCMA’s permanent collection that examine forms of “otherness.” These photographs document subjects who are in some way detached, as portrayed through their postures and expressions.

In each photograph the subjects acknowledge or confront their “otherness”—what makes them interesting and unknowable—over a variety of behaviors and attitudes. “Some wear their strangeness easily, while others challenge the world with theirs. Some are comfortable in their estrangement, whereas others exude pain, discomfort, or melancholy,” says Jennifer Dasal, associate curator of contemporary art.

The works also raise the question of the photographer’s role in creating an outsider. The camera documents, but it also has the ability to reinforce, explain, empathize, and legitimize a subject’s “otherness.” Subjects are captured because they are difficult to understand, but the photograph then allows an intimate moment with the subject, signaling an opportunity to begin to comprehend.

Despite the exhibition’s title, the works feature subjects both looking at the camera and turning away from it, obstructed from view. “The phrase ‘facing the camera’ refers both to the act of literally turning toward the camera and the act of confronting or coping with the camera, whether that is with a certain movement, pose, gesture, or by simply looking into the lens,” Dasal explains. www.ncartmuseum.org

Category: Photography

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