Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Alan Cohen at the Gregg Museum of Art and Design

Chicago-based photographer Alan Cohen is having a major retrospective show of his work, called Earth with Meaning: The Photographs of Alan Cohen, now up at the Gregg Museum of Art and Design in Raleigh, NC, through December 17, 2011.

The show will open formally with a reception on September 22, with a reception from 6-8 pm in the Gregg Museum, which is located in the Talley Student Center on the campus of NC State University.

Cohen is a graduate of NC State with a degree in nuclear engineering. He discovered photography while in graduate school in Chicago and earned an in 1972 from the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he studied with Aaron Siskind, Arthur Siegel, Garry Winogrand, Charles Swedlund, Ken Josephson, and Joe Jachna.

Cohen's work is included in the permanent collections of museums across the country, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC,  the High Museum of Art in Atlanta GA, the  Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Cohen is now Adjunct Full Professor in the Art History, Theory, Criticism Department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a member of the visiting faculty at Columbia College Chicago's Department Of Photography.

Cohen's work combines the documentary and conceptual traditions of photographic practice to engage place, event, and trace, working in places where the fragmentary physical remnants of historical and natural events are still visible, including vestiges of the Berlin Wall, remains of Holocaust sites, boundary lines, meteor impact craters, ruins of fortresses, and abandoned colonial buildings.

Cohen says he seeks in his work to record “the earth of our past as a record of memory, not as an act of witness.”

There will also be a panel discussion of Cohen's work, chaired by yours truly, on October 27th, at 6:00 pm in the Gregg Museum. The distinguished panel will include Brooks Jensen, editor of Lens Work Magazine; Tom Rankin, Director of Duke's Center for Documentary Studies; Shannon Johnstone, Associate Professor of Photography at Meredith College; and Frank Konhaus, a Durham-based photographer and audiovisual design executive. 

Responders to the Panel Discussion include members of the photography collective of Wilson, NC: the distinguished photographer Burk Uzzle (whose career includes working for LIFE and serving as president of Magnum) and the distinguished photography collector and curator Allen Thomas.

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