Kenneth Josephson Retrospective (1983)

About this page

In 1983, the MCA's then Associate Curator Lynne Warren organized a solo exhibition of Kenneth Josephson's work. The catalogue, video, floor plan, and installation photography presented on this page, pulled from the MCA Library and Archives, document this early and important exhibition in the MCA's history.

Exhibition curator Lynne Warren, Kenneth Josephson, and MCA Director John Neff at the opening of Kenneth Josephson Retrospective, Mar 25, 1983. Photo © MCA Chicago.

text excerpt

Josephson’s investigations of the late 1960s and early 1970s into “tableau” or set-up photography, prefigure what is now a major trend. His constant concern with “images inside images” and the visual tricks made by the camera show him to be questioning the medium of photograph as few others have done. The result is an important contribution not only to contemporary photography, but also contemporary art.

European artists have been following Josephson’s lead, resulting in conceptual investigations that utilize the unique properties of photography. We are most eager to demonstrate Josephson’s unique vision and extraordinary influence on recent art through this retrospective of his photography.

In spite of Josephson’s distinguished career and the demonstrable influence his work has had on contemporary photography, Josephson’s work has never received the attention it warrants. This will be the first exhibition of his work to do so.

Chicago is especially proud of its strong photographic tradition and Josephson has been a major figure in this field in Chicago, graduating from the Art Institute of Design in 1960 and being a professor at the School of the Art Institute here. Through a major showing of this important artist that will travel to cities throughout the United States, the MCA hopes to also make a valuable contribution to promoting a wider and deeper understanding of this heritage of photography in Chicago.

—Excerpt from the MCA's NEA grant proposal, 1982

Installation Images

Installation view, Kenneth Josephson Retrospective, MCA Chicago, Mar 25–May 22, 1983. Photo © MCA Chicago.
Installation view, Kenneth Josephson Retrospective, MCA Chicago, Mar 25–May 22, 1983. Photo © MCA Chicago.
Installation view, Kenneth Josephson Retrospective, MCA Chicago, Mar 25–May 22, 1983. Photo © MCA Chicago.
Installation view, Kenneth Josephson Retrospective, MCA Chicago, Mar 25–May 22, 1983. Photo © MCA Chicago.
Installation view, Kenneth Josephson Retrospective, MCA Chicago, Mar 25–May 22, 1983. Photo © MCA Chicago.
Installation view, Kenneth Josephson Retrospective, MCA Chicago, Mar 25–May 22, 1983. Photo © MCA Chicago.
Installation view, Kenneth Josephson Retrospective, MCA Chicago, Mar 25–May 22, 1983. Photo © MCA Chicago.
Installation view, Kenneth Josephson Retrospective, MCA Chicago, Mar 25–May 22, 1983. Photo © MCA Chicago.
Installation view, Kenneth Josephson Retrospective, MCA Chicago, Mar 25–May 22, 1983. Photo © MCA Chicago.
Installation view, Kenneth Josephson Retrospective, MCA Chicago, Mar 25–May 22, 1983. Photo © MCA Chicago.
Installation view, Kenneth Josephson Retrospective, MCA Chicago, Mar 25–May 22, 1983. Photo © MCA Chicago.
Installation view, Kenneth Josephson Retrospective, MCA Chicago, Mar 25–May 22, 1983. Photo © MCA Chicago.
Installation view, Kenneth Josephson Retrospective, MCA Chicago, Mar 25–May 22, 1983. Photo © MCA Chicago.

Video

section header

From the Archives

Floor plan image

Floor plan for Kenneth Josephson Retrospective. Image courtesy of the MCA Library and Archives.

Archival scans

Members’ Preview invite, Kenneth Josephson Retrospective, 1983. Collection MCA Chicago Library and Archives. Photo © MCA Chicago.
Members’ Preview invite, Kenneth Josephson Retrospective, 1983. Collection MCA Chicago Library and Archives. Photo © MCA Chicago.

Archival scan

Kenneth Josephson Retrospective announcement, 1983. Collection MCA Chicago Library and Archives. Photo © MCA Chicago.

Funders

Funding

This exhibition is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and funds from the Borg-Warner Foundation, Inc., and the Illinois Arts Council.