Houston Center for Photography

For Freedoms: Margin and Center

Friday, Mar. 9, 2018 – Sunday, Apr. 29, 2018


On view: March 9 - April 29, 2018
Opening Reception: Friday, March 9, 5:30pm-8pm
Artists' remarks beginning at 6pm

“Living as we did—on the edge…we developed a particular way of seeing reality. We looked from both the outside in and the inside out. We focused our attention on the center as well as the margin.” —bell hooks

Margin and Center brings together several artists from around the world whose work explores the edges of identities, geographies, disciplines and ideas, and identifies—through various modes of seeing—physically, psychologically and culturally constructed separations that determine where we are supposed to go and who we are supposed to be. These divisions take the form of walls, bodies, histories, or, as when writer bell hooks—whose writing inspired the title of this exhibition—grew up in rural Kentucky, the train tracks that divided her town between black and white.

In order to bridge the heightened regional and national conversation about the US / Mexico border with other struggles of "living on the edge" as well as with a more conceptual investigation of belonging, becoming, and well-being, Margin and Center critically engages with the visual impact of artificial lines that divide one thing from another. Are these lines necessary? Are they vulnerable? What is the role of fear in the construction and destruction of walls? Do strong borders alleviate or accentuate the anxiety of mixing elements the lines mean to separate? Through photographs that range from journalistic to performative to literary and vernacular, viewers are confronted with the absurdity of translation that these borders create and artists’ attempts to reconcile violent separations. In the context of current public conversations about borders, Margin and Center is not simply an exploration of a border wall dividing nations; it is about creating a space from which to see the fault-lines and divisions created by those in power, and it is about how these divisions hinder and enable our vision.

—Eric Gottesman, For Freedoms and Ashlyn Davis, Executive Director

Featured Artists:
Soumya Sankar Bose
Alejandro Cartagena
Wendy Ewald
Gerard Gaskin
Omar Imam
Emily Jacir
Richard Misrach
Cristina Velasquez
Carrie Mae Weems

For Freedoms (Curator):
For Freedoms is an artist-run initiative intended to merge artistic and political practice. They have produced public projects in collaboration with institutions in over 20 states across the United States including MoMA/PS1, Univision, Afropunk, EXPO Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland and several others inside and outside the art world. For Freedoms received the 2017 ICP Infinity Award.


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