Addison Updates Archive

New Photography Exhibition Curated by Phillips Academy Students On View through March 5, 2017

This fall, nine Phillips Academy students collaborated with Addison Gallery staff to create The Deception of Perception: Exploring Distortion and Ambiguity in Photography. The students were participants in the course Art 300, Visual Culture: Discovering the Addison Collection, co-taught by Phillips Academy Instructor in Art Elaine Crivelli, Addison Curator of Art after 1950 Allison Kemmerer, and Addison Curator of Education Rebecca Hayes. The exhibition brings together 27 photographs from the collection that play with viewers' perceptions through enigmatic and/or dreamlike images that blur the boundaries between fact and fiction.

Presented at the beginning of the term with the theme of ambiguity, the students spent weeks examining works of art from the collection, learning the curatorial process, and studying the museum's operations. Working collaboratively, the students selected the works that interested them the most, deciding to focus solely on photography, then conducted research on the objects using materials from the Addison’s archives, explored connections and common themes, laid out the show, and wrote accompanying text. The culmination of students’ thorough investigation and thoughtful discussion throughout the term, The Deception of Perception reveals the myriad ways photographers can manipulate scale, color, perspective, and subject to transport the viewer outside of the real world and into the realm of imagination. In exploring these photographs, viewers are asked to consider both sides of the lens: What is the artist’s intent? What do you see? What does your personal reaction have to do with your interpretation? How did the artist manipulate their subject to show you something unreal or dreamlike and/or deceive you?

Included in the exhibition are both favorites from the collection and rarely or never-before exhibited photographs, by artists such as James Casebere, Gregory Crewdson, Roy DeCarava, Ronald MacNeil, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Ray K. Metzker, Arno Minkkinen, Richard Misrach, Laurel Nakadate, Sandy Skoglund, Jerry Uelsmann, David Wojnarowicz, and Francesca Woodman. The Deception of Perception will be on view in the Museum Learning Center through March 5, 2017.

The student curators are: Mario Chaires '20, Aki Charland '19, Nicole Dlesk '17, Marie Latham '18, Tristan Latham '19, Alexa Matses '18, Daniel Pye '18, Brendan Ryan '17, and Teagan Thompson '18.


Images, from top: the student curators gave a gallery talk about the exhibition and their process during the public opening reception, November 16, 2016; Edward E. Elson Artists-in-Residence Triple Candie (Shelly Bancroft and Peter Nesbett) visited the class to discuss the curatorial process (photo courtesy of Phillips Academy); visitors talk with one of the exhibition curators at the opening reception; visitors explore the exhibition at the opening reception; the student curators.