A vivid and moving celebration of the ways that Black Americans have shaped and been shaped by photography, from its inception to the present day.
A Picture Gallery of the Soul presents the work of more than one hundred Black American artists whose practice incorporates the photographic medium. Organized by the Katherine E. Nash Gallery at the University of Minnesota, this group exhibition samples a range of photographic expressions produced over three centuries, from traditional photography to mixed media and conceptual art.
From the daguerreotypes made by Jules Lion in New Orleans in 1840 to the Instagram post of the Baltimore Uprising made by Devin Allen in 2015, photography has chronicled Black American life, and Black Americans have defined the possibilities of photography. Frederick Douglass recognized the quick, easy, and inexpensive reproducibility of photography and developed a theoretical framework for understanding its impact on public discourse, which he delivered as a series of four lectures during the Civil War. It has been widely acknowledged that Douglass, the subject of 160 photographic portraits and the most photographed American of the nineteenth century, anticipated that the history of American photography and the history of Black American culture and politics would be deeply intertwined. A Picture Gallery of the Soul honors the diverse visions of Blackness made manifest through the lens of photography.
Published in association with the Katherine E. Nash Gallery.
Katherine E. Nash Gallery: September 13–December 10, 2022.