SAN FRANCISCO, CA (March 21, 2018) — From war and human rights to cultural identity and domestic violence, American photographer Susan Meiselas’s work covers a wide range of themes and countries. On view at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) July 21 through October 21, 2018, Susan Meiselas: Mediations brings together projects from the beginning of the artist’s career in the 1970s to the present day, including her iconic portraits of carnival strippers, vivid color images of the conflicts in Central America in the 1980s and an ongoing investigation into the history and aftermath of the Kurdish genocide.
A member of Magnum Photos since 1976, Meiselas creates work that raises provocative questions about documentary practice and the relationship between photographer and subject. This retrospective — Meiselas’s first on the West Coast — highlights her unique working method, combining photography, video, sound and installation to explore different scales of time and conflict, ranging from the personal to the geopolitical. SFMOMA is the exclusive U.S. venue for the exhibition.
“Photographs are immediate personal encounters that last only a moment,” said Meiselas. “These encounters may create a bridge for constructing larger narratives, which go beyond someone’s personal story to a wider national or cultural history. The picture is then merely the starting point.”
“Meiselas’s approach to her subjects is at once deeply ethical and profoundly inspiring,” said Corey Keller, curator of photography at SFMOMA. “She approaches her work with a clear guiding question: Whom do these photographs serve? Her insightful grasp of politics and history, coupled with an insatiable curiosity, gives her work an extraordinary power.”
Highlights of the exhibition include the following projects:
This exhibition is coproduced by Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona, and Jeu de Paume, Paris, in collaboration with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art for its presentation in San Francisco. SFMOMA’s presentation of Susan Meiselas: Mediations is generously supported by Nion McEvoy and Kate and Wes Mitchell.
Susan Meiselas, born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1948, received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and her MA in visual education from Harvard University. Meiselas joined Magnum Photos in 1976 and, since then, has worked as a freelance photographer. She is best known for her coverage of the insurrection in Nicaragua and her documentation of human rights issues in Latin America. Meiselas has had one-woman exhibitions in Paris, Madrid, Amsterdam, London, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, and her work is included in collections around the world. She has received the Robert Capa Gold Medal for her work in Nicaragua (1979); the Leica Award for Excellence (1982); the Engelhard Award from the Institute of Contemporary Art (1985); the Hasselblad Foundation Photography prize (1994); the Cornell Capa Infinity Award (2005); Harvard Arts Medal (2011); and, most recently, a Guggenheim Fellowship (2015). In 1992, she was named a MacArthur Fellow.
Susan Meiselas: Mediations is accompanied by an illustrated publication produced by Jeu de Paume, Damiani and Fundació Antoni Tàpies featuring texts by Ariella Azoulay, Eduardo Cadava, Carles Guerra, Marianne Hirsch, Corey Keller, Kristen Lubben, Isin Onol and Pia Viewing. The publication is available in French, English and Spanish versions.