Eskenazi Museum of Art Announces Exhibition of Jeffrey A. Wolin’s Photography

The Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University announces the exhibition Measuring Time: The Photographs of Jeffrey A. Wolin, on view September 7–December 17, 2023, in the Featured Exhibition Gallery.

Jeffrey A. Wolin is a celebrated and influential photographic artist and former longtime head of Indiana University’s photography department. Featuring one hundred works, this retrospective exhibition covers Wolin’s entire career with key selections from all ten of his major series, including his earliest landscapes and portraits of stonecutters, Holocaust survivors, war veterans, and people experiencing homelessness. The sum of Wolin’s creative achievement will be a surprise and inspiration to nearly every viewer. His work is powerful and profoundly humane. Over the years, he has thought deeply about the issues of human history and memory, always attentive to the insights that come from personal storytelling. Best known for his innovative use of image/text combinations, Wolin has explored the living reality of history and the primacy of the personal experience. His work is at once formally inventive and deeply empathetic and sympathetic. Wolin’s pictures provide fresh and powerful insight into the course of time and the complexity of individual lives. Few others, in fact, have explored these issues with anything approaching Wolin’s insight, generosity of spirit, and artistic invention. His work expands our sense of both the art of photography and the poignance and integrity of human existence. 

Mišo Vogel, 1992. From Written in Memory: Portraits of the Holocaust

“I have been moved by Jeff’s interest in the people and places that have shaped his life, from his student days in Rochester, New York, and long teaching career in Bloomington, Indiana, to his travels in the south of France and his current home in Chicago. While his works often begin with the local, they embrace universal themes, like family, community, poverty, war, and the environment, that touch us all.” Nanette Esseck Brewer, Lucienne M. Glaubinger Curator of Works on Paper, Eskenazi Museum of Art.

Jeffrey A. Wolin is the Ruth N. Halls Professor Emeritus of Photography and founder of the Center for Integrative Photographic Studies at IU Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design, where he served as director from 1994 to 2002. During his 35-year career at IU, Wolin taught hundreds of students who went on to successful careers in the arts and education, while creating and exhibiting an incredible body of photographic work. Wolin’s photographs have been exhibited in more than 100 exhibitions in the United States and Europe, including solo shows at the Art Institute of Chicago, International Center of Photography in New York, George Eastman Museum in Rochester, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, and group exhibitions at MoMA, Whitney Museum of American Art, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, and LA County Museum of Art. His work is included in more than 40 major museum collections in the United States and Europe, and six monographs of his work have been published. He is also the recipient of two Visual Artist Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Of the project, Jeffrey A. Wolin, commented: “This exhibition and monograph are the products of my fifty-year career as a photographer. As Nan Brewer, Keith Davis, and I scoured my archives for the most significant images from each of my extended series, it forced me to consider who I am as a person and artist, as well as the journey that brought me here, the major through-lines of my work, how much my photographs explore the concept of time, and how it measures our lives as we change and grow, even as we remain true to our earlier selves. As Wordsworth observed, ‘The child is father of the man.’”

The Eskenazi Museum of Art is also home to the Wolin Archive, which serves as an important teaching resource in the museum’s long-standing program of studying, exhibiting, and publishing its collection of more than 22,000 prints, drawings, and photographs collection. The museum’s Center for Prints, Drawings, and Photographs features the Martha and David Moore Study Room, which is equipped with high-quality zoom cameras that allows students and the public to engage with original works of art, as well as access to distance-learning technology.

“We are excited to present this retrospective exhibition of Jeff Wolin’s work, which celebrates his unique ability to capture the humanity of his subjects. The exhibition allows us to demonstrate our commitment to collecting and exhibiting photographic works of art, as well as dedication to providing learning opportunities to IU students through direct engagement with Wolin’s work. We look forward to connecting with our community via Wolin’s powerful, empathetic, and compassionate storytelling. 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.

Measuring Time: The Photographs of Jeffrey A. Wolin is generously supported in part by Martha and David Moore,  David H. Jacobs, the College of Arts + Sciences, and the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design.

It is curated by Nanette Esseck Brewer, Lucienne M. Glaubinger Curator of Works on Paper, Eskenazi Museum of Art, and Keith F. Davis, independent photographic historian and former Senior Curator of Photography, Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City.

The exhibition is accompanied by a definitive monograph published by Kehrer Verlag and is supported in part by Martha and David Moore, David H. Jacobs, and Marsha R. Bradford and Harold Dumes.

About the IU Eskenazi Museum of Art

Since its establishment in 1941, the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art has grown from a small university teaching collection into one of the most significant university art collections in the United States. A preeminent teaching museum on the Indiana University campus, its internationally acclaimed collection includes more than 45,000 objects representing nearly every art-producing culture throughout history from around the world.

The Eskenazi Museum of Art recently completed a $30 million renovation of its acclaimed I. M. Pei–designed building. The newly renovated museum is an enhanced teaching resource for Indiana University and southern Indiana. The museum is dedicated to engaging students, faculty, artists, scholars, alumni, and the wider public through the cultivation of new ideas and scholarship.

CONTACT: Mariah Keller, Director of Creative Services