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The Art of Illusion: Photography and Perceptual Play

Kenneth Josephson photograph titled Michigan

Do photographs accurately convey visual truths? Or do they merely present illusions? The artists featured in this exhibition explore these ideas and challenge our understanding of the saying, “seeing is believing.” Using a range of technical and conceptual approaches, and working almost exclusively without darkroom manipulation or digital editing software, their works highlight the complex relationship between reality, visual perception, and camera vision. The majority of included works date from the early 1970s to the present.

Drawn from the museum’s renowned photography collection, Art of Illusion will feature approximately fifty works by twenty-five artists, including many recent acquisitions on view for the first time. Artists include: Thomas Barrow, Zeke Berman, Michael Bishop, Cortis & Sonderegger, Robert Cumming, Thomas Demand, John Divola, Liat Elbling, David Hockney, Graham Howe, Kenneth Josephson, Lilly McElroy, Jerry McMillan, Duane Michels, Arno Minkkinen, Abelardo Morell, Grant Mudford, Vik Muniz, John Pfahl, Marcia Resnick, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Michel Szulc-Krzyzanowski, Lew Thomas, Ruth Thorne-Thomsen, and Rodrigo Valenzuela.


Top: Kenneth Josephson, American (b. 1932). Michigan, 1981. Gelatin silver print, 7 7/8 x 12 inches. Gift of Hallmark Cards, Inc., 2005.27.1496. Abelardo Morell (American, born Cuba, 1948). Flowers for Lisa #66—After Lewis Carroll, 2017. Inkjet print. 29 ¾ x 22 ¼ inches. Gift of the Hall Family Foundation, 2019.22.24. Robert Cumming, American (b. 1943). Mishap of Minor Circumstances, 1973. Gelatin silver print, 7 5/8 x 9 5/8 inches. Gift of Hallmark Cards, Inc., 2005.27.4052,4053. John Pfahl, American (b. 1939). Australian Pines, Fort DeSoto, Florida, 1977. Inkjet print (printed 2016), 14 x 13/16 x 19 inches. Gift of the Hall Family Foundation, 2016.75.235.
This exhibition is supported by the Hall Family Foundation.