Peter Eleey & Eva Respini (eds), Deana Lawson

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"Lawson’s careful choreography intends to question and expand fixed descriptions at every turn." — Elephant 

"Lawson blends vernacular and art photography in a way that effects a fundamental shift in our perception of the normalised didactics of Western art history." — ArtReview

Deana Lawson, the first scholarly publication on the artist Deana Lawson, surveying fifteen years of her photography, will be published to accompany the first comprehensive museum survey exhibition featuring Lawson’s artwork. A singular voice in contemporary photography, Lawson has been investigating and challenging conventional representations of black identities in the African American and African diaspora for over fifteen years. Her work samples numerous photographic languages, including the family album, studio portraiture, staged tableaux, documentary pictures, and found images, creating narratives of family, love, and desire. Lawson’s photographs are made in collaboration with her subjects, who are sometimes nude, embracing, and directly confronting the camera, destabilizing the notion of photography as a passively voyeuristic medium. Whether in posed photographs or assembled collages, Lawson’s works channel broader ideas about personal and social histories of black life, love, sexuality, family, and spiritual beliefs. This publication will include selections from Lawson’s personal family photographs and archives of vernacular images that have profoundly informed her work.

Includes essays by Eva Respini and Peter Eleey (curators of the exhibition), Kimberly Juanita Brown (Professor at Dartmouth College), Tina M. Campt (Professor at Brown University), Alexander Nemerov (Professor at Stanford University), Greg Tate (writer, musician, and producer), and a conversation between the artist and Deborah Willis (Professor at New York University).

MACK, November 2021.