MoCP Chicago

Museum of Contemporary Photography / Columbia College Chicago | 600 S. Michigan Ave
IL-60605 Chicago

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press release

MP3 presents works by three emerging talents from the Midwestern United States: Kelli Connell, Justin Newhall, and Brian Ulrich. These artists have been selected to inaugurate The Midwest Photographers Publication Project (MP3) series, published by the museum in collaboration with the Aperture Foundation. Each of the artists is profiled in an individual volume containing images selected from their most recent work with essays written by MoCP curators Rod Slemmons, Karen Irvine, and Natasha Egan.

Kelli Connell uses elements of private relationships she has experienced herself or witnessed in others to inspire the two-person narrative of her series Double Life. With the help of digital imaging, Connell creates photographs in which a single model plays two roles. In Connell’s narrative, when one partner loves the other, she loves herself, creating a poignant exploration of vanity and the duality between self and other. Justin Newhall’s photographs explore the energy we put into keeping myths alive—the stories of undaunted courage, brave explorers, cowboys and Indians— by capturing the landscape, historical sites, discarded memorabilia, and makeshift roadside museums littering the modern West. When, in the wake of September 11th, Americans were encouraged to respond by shopping (so as to maintain the nation’s economic stability), Brian Ulrich began documenting consumerism. Shot in malls, grocery stores, and commercial warehouses, Ulrich’s pictures document the bounty of commercial goods available to consumers and the peculiarities of the places that offer them for sale. Ulrich photographs unobtrusively, capturing people frozen in a trance somewhere between ecstasy and torpor in the grandiose environments of shopping malls and big box stores.

Founded in 1982 by the MoCP, the Midwest Photographers Project is a rotating archive of contemporary photography established to promote both prominent and emerging photographers from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The MP3 series aims to give greater recognition to artists on the verge of national and international prominence.


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Kelli Connell, Justin Newhall, Brian Ulrich