Press RoomPress ReleasesPhotographer Kelli Connell Explores Partnerships and Perspective in Fall 2024 Exhibition Debuting at the High

Photographer Kelli Connell Explores Partnerships and Perspective in Fall 2024 Exhibition Debuting at the High

June 4, 2024

Co-organized with the University of Arizona Center for Creative Photography and The Cleveland Museum of Art

“Kelli Connell: Pictures for Charis”
Sept. 20, 2024-Jan. 5, 2025

ATLANTA, June 4, 2024 — This fall, the High Museum of Art will present “Kelli Connell: Pictures for Charis” (Sept. 20, 2024-Jan. 5, 2025), a groundbreaking exhibition featuring a powerful body of work by Connell (American, born 1974) that reconsiders the complicated relationship between writer Charis Wilson and photographer Edward Weston from a contemporary queer and feminist perspective. Co-organized by the High, the University of Arizona Center for Creative Photography and The Cleveland Museum of Art, the exhibition will make its debut at the High before traveling to the other two venues.

Through a close examination of Wilson’s prose and Weston’s photographs, Connell enriches our understanding of the couple and weaves their stories together with her own artistic practice. Using their publications and archives as a guide, Connell and her partner, Betsy Odom, traveled to locales where Wilson and Weston lived, made work and spent time together. Along the way, Connell collaboratively made photographs of Odom that upend conventional notions of photographer and muse. She also photographed, in a raw and less idealized manner, the grand Western landscapes that Weston made iconic 75 years before.

“This exhibition offers a fresh perspective on the evolving dynamic of artist and muse – combining Wilson’s and Weston’s historical photographs and texts with Connell’s contemporary work in a dynamic and thought-provoking presentation,” said Rand Suffolk, the High’s director. “We are thankful to our co-organizers for their collaboration, and we look forward to bringing these works together for the first time in the show.”

The exhibition will include more than 40 of Connell’s recent portrait and landscape photographs, including many large-scale 40-by-50-inch images, along with dozens of Weston’s classic figure studies and landscapes made between 1934 and 1945, one of his most productive periods and the span of his relationship with Wilson. Four of Connell’s photographs in the exhibition are drawn from the High’s collection, exemplifying the museum’s recent commitment to growing its holdings of work by queer artists.

Much of the historical material in the exhibition, including some from Wilson’s archive, is drawn from the Center for Creative Photography’s extensive collection. In addition to photographs, texts and ephemera, the installation will feature a 35-minute video that details how Connell created this body of work and features highlights from her travels.

“‘Pictures for Charis’ raises important questions about how sexuality, gender and relationships are articulated and reinforced in photographs,” said Gregory Harris, the High’s Donald and Marilyn Keough Family curator of photography. “Kelli’s works not only critically reframe the canon of American Modernist photography but also challenge our assumptions about the dynamics of intimate and creative partnerships.”

“Kelli Connell: Pictures for Charis” will be presented in the Lucinda Weil Bunnen Galleries for Photography on the Lower Level of the High’s Wieland Pavilion.

Exhibition Catalogue
The accompanying book, copublished by Aperture and the Center for Creative Photography, provides fresh perspectives on portraiture examining gender, sexuality and history through a queer and feminist lens. Delving into photography’s complexities, the monograph considers Wilson not solely as a muse but as an individual with agency. Through Connell’s exploration, the book sheds light on overlooked aspects of history.

About Kelli Connell
Kelli Connell’s work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; J. Paul Getty Museum; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Columbus Museum of Art; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Dallas Museum of Art; Milwaukee Art Museum; and the Museum of Contemporary Photography, among others. Publications of her work include “Kelli Connell: Pictures for Charis” (Aperture and CCP), “Photo Art: The New World of Photography (Aperture) and the monograph “Kelli Connell: Double Life” (DECODE BOOKS). She has received fellowships and residencies from the Guggenheim Foundation, MacDowell, PLAYA, Peaked Hill Trust, LATITUDE, Light Work and the Center for Creative Photography. She is an editor at SKYLARK EDITIONS and a professor at Columbia College, Chicago.

Exhibition Organization and Support
“Kelli Connell: Pictures for Charis” is co-organized by the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, the University of Arizona Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, and The Cleveland Museum of Art. A generous Foundation for Advancement in Conservation (FAIC)/Tru Vue® Conservation and Exhibition Grant and in-kind support of Optium Museum Acrylic® for preservation of this work was provided by Tru Vue, Inc. and Larson-Juhl. This exhibition is made possible by Premier Exhibition Series Sponsor Delta Air Lines, Inc.; Premier Exhibition Series Supporters Mr. Joseph H. Boland, Jr., Harry Norman Realtors, wish Foundation; Ambassador Exhibition Series Supporters Loomis Charitable Foundation, Mrs. Harriet H. Warren; Contributing Exhibition Series Supporters Farideh and Al Azadi, Mr. and Mrs. Baxter Jones, Margot and Danny McCaul, Wade A. Rakes II and Nicholas Miller; Generous support is also provided by Alfred and Adele Davis Exhibition Endowment Fund, Anne Cox Chambers Exhibition Fund, Barbara Stewart Exhibition Fund, Dorothy Smith Hopkins Exhibition Endowment Fund, Eleanor McDonald Storza Exhibition Endowment Fund, The Fay and Barrett Howell Exhibition Fund, Forward Arts Foundation Exhibition Endowment Fund, Helen S. Lanier Endowment Fund, John H. and Wilhelmina D. Harland Exhibition Endowment Fund, Katherine Murphy Riley Special Exhibition Endowment Fund, Margaretta Taylor Exhibition Fund, RJR Nabisco Exhibition Endowment Fund, USI Insurance Services.

About the High Museum of Art
Located in the heart of Atlanta, the High Museum of Art connects with audiences from across the Southeast and around the world through its distinguished collection, dynamic schedule of special exhibitions and engaging community-focused programs. Housed within facilities designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architects Richard Meier and Renzo Piano, the High features a collection of more than 19,000 works of art, including an extensive anthology of 19th- and 20th-century American fine and decorative arts; major holdings of photography and folk and self-taught work, especially that of artists from the American South; burgeoning collections of modern and contemporary art, including paintings, sculpture, new media and design; a growing collection of African art, with work dating from prehistory through the present; and significant holdings of European paintings and works on paper. The High is dedicated to reflecting the diversity of its communities and offering a variety of exhibitions and educational programs that engage visitors with the world of art, the lives of artists and the creative process. For more information about the High, visit www.high.org.

# # #

DIGITAL IMAGES AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

Media contacts:
Marci Tate Davis
Manager, Public Relations
404-733-4585
marci.davis@high.org

Brittany Mizell
Specialist, Public Relations
404-733-4423
brittany.mizell@high.org

Download PDF