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Kohler Arts Center Celebrates Family, 45th Anniversary

Plus: Art Happenings

Sep. 25, 2012
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Justin Kirchoff, Fight Club, silver gelatin print

 The John Michael Kohler Arts Center (JMKAC) celebrates its 45th anniversary with a tribute to the 21st-century family. Multiple exhibitions provoke discussion about who and what constitutes family.

In the main art gallery, the exhibition “The Kids Are All Right” opens Sept. 30. More than 35 national artists help to redefine the terms “family” and “fine art photography” in contemporary culture through 100-plus photographs. As JMKAC curator Alison Ferris explains, “All the photographs reference the artists and their personal families or friends they know well.”

This new generation of photographers (all born between 1960-1990) produces intimate portraits by displaying a familiarity with their subjects. Ferris says this in-depth exhibition creates “a ‘radical openness’ that reveals parts of their families they wouldn’t have exposed before.”

The “radical openness” that Ferris references has transformed how modern culture views photography. Cellphones now have point-and-click cameras, and social media encourages people to regularly post photos. As a result, photography’s accessibility has increased exponentially, creating a very disposable medium in which anyone can take photos any minute of the day. This new reality leads to an ambiguous exhibition experience that walks a fine line between public and private lives.

Julie Mack’s c-print Self-Portrait With Family in Minivan (2007) illustrates these ideas. A traditional family of five is captured in time through the front windshield of their van in front of their suburban garage. Yet, where will they be going? The comfortable niche of America’s middle class and nuclear family has been evaporating along with economic security throughout the 2000s, perhaps permanently vanishing.

Explore these fascinating concepts at the opening reception 5-7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12. The event combines with other performances and programs as part of the Oct. 11-14 Sheboygan Shindig. For more information, visit www.jmkac.org or call 920-458-6144.

Art Happenings

“High Fiber: Recent Large-Scale Acquisitions in Fiber”

Racine Art Museum

441 Main St., Racine

Opening Sept. 30, this exhibition features monumental sculptures by contemporary artists in mediums including fabric, metal wire and wood.

“Up North”

Gallery 224

224 E. Main St., Port Washington

Gallery 224 hosts an interesting show featuring familiar Wisconsin artists, including Mark Brautigam, Kevin Giese, Katie Musolff, David Niec, John Riepenhoff, Brooke Thiele and Tom Uttech. An opening reception occurs 5-7 p.m. Oct. 5.


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