The Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University announces the exhibition Direct Contact: Cameraless Photography Now, on view February 16–July 9, 2023, in the Featured Exhibition Gallery.
Focusing on the material and tactile properties of the medium, Direct Contact: Cameraless Photography Now is the first contemporary survey to highlight the global practice of cameraless photography across generations, cultures, and ideologies. Referred to as photograms or contact prints, cameraless photographs are made using analogue photography’s foundational elements: light, chemistry, and light-sensitive surfaces.
Presenting recent work by more than forty artists–including Yto Barrada, Iñaki Bonillas, Ellen Carey, Hernease Davis, Sheree Hovsepian, Roberto Huarcaya, Kei Ito, Dakota Mace, Fabiola Menchelli, Lisa Oppenheim, Daisuke Yokota, among many others–Direct Contact highlights many emerging global artists and features primarily women-identifying artists. Unfolding across five sections–Age, Form, Scale, Texture, and Value–Direct Contact positions cameraless photography as both an intellectual cornerstone in the medium’s history and an enduring and important force within contemporary art.
The exhibition is curated by Assistant Curator of Photography, Lauren Richman, whose research on the museum’s Henry Holmes Smith Archive was facilitated by a generous grant from the Henry Luce Foundation. Smith (American, 1909–1986) was a photography professor at Indiana University and an early proponent of cutting-edge photographic techniques, including cameraless photography. His students included Jerry Uelsmann, Jack Welpott, and Betty Hahn.
Of the exhibition, Lauren Richman, said, “I am thrilled to welcome such an expansive body of recent work to the Eskenazi Museum of Art. My hope is that Direct Contact will both surprise and delight our community, as well as challenge our museum visitors to think about the photographic medium in new and unexpected ways. My sincerest gratitude to the Henry Luce Foundation for making my research possible, and Martha and David Moore, Patrick and Jane Martin, and Jim and Joyce Grandorf for their continued support and generosity.”
The Eskenazi Museum of Art is committed to collecting work by women and artists of color. This exhibition has spurred a series of acquisitions of artwork by the featured artists, including Hernease Davis and Ellen Carey, which will diversify our collection of more than 22,000 works on paper and offer new opportunities for study in the museum’s Martha and David Moore Prints, Drawings, and Photographs Study.
“We are excited to present Direct Contact, which stems from research into one of the museum’s many important artist archives. The exhibition allows us to demonstrate both our ongoing efforts to diversify our collection through strategic acquisitions and a celebration of the innovative approaches to artmaking at Indiana University. I am grateful to the Henry Luce Foundation for their generous support of Lauren’s position. And I extend my heartfelt thanks to Martha and David Moore for their help in making this exhibition possible,” said David A. Brenneman, Wilma E. Kelley Director, Eskenazi Museum of Art.
A full-color catalogue will accompany the exhibition and is supported in part by Martha and David Moore, Patrick and Jane Martin, and Jim and Joyce Grandorf.