WITNESS at MCA Chicago

The photographer as witness is a familiar conceit, one that evokes the artist’s responsibility to observe the lives of others. It’s a role that has been reinforced by traditions of photojournalism, documentary photography, and anthropology, while taking on new forms and renewed urgency in recent years. Drawn largely from the MCA’s collection, the photographs in Witness at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) put pressure on familiar understandings of the photographer’s role as self-appointed observer. These works record, reflect on, or stage different kinds of encounters between photographer and subject. In doing so, the artists lead us to think about the various people who play a part in a given photograph—including the viewer—and how they contribute to, or sometimes confound, what it seems to convey.

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Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
220 E Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611



Dawoud Bey (American, b. 1953)
Christian Boltanski (French, b. 1944)
Sophie Calle (French, b. 1953)
Larry Clark (American, b. 1943)
Anne Collier (American, b. 1970)
Rineke Dijkstra (Dutch, b. 1959)
Walker Evans (American, 1903–1976)
Hal Fischer (American, b. 1950)
David Hockney (British, b. 1937)
LaToya Ruby Frazier (American, b. 1982)
Alfredo Jaar (Chilean, b. 1956)
Jason Lazarus (American, b. 1975)
Sharon Lockhart (American, b. 1964)
Kerry James Marshall (American, b. 1955)
Michael Rovner (Israeli, b. 1957)
Thomas Ruff (German, b. 1958)
Collier Schorr (American, b. 1963)
Andres Serrano (American, b. 1950)
Cindy Sherman (American, b. 1954)
Carrie Mae Weems (American, b. 1953)

Courtesy of: MCA Chicago