John Michael Kohler Arts Center Photography Exhibition, “The Kids Are All Right,” Opens September 30, 2012

Museum Exhibition Illuminates Shifting Nature of Family and Changing Role of Contemporary Photography

Beginning September 30, 2012, the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin, explores the bedrock theme of “family,” and how evolving photographic technologies have influenced the manner in which families are portrayed in the exhibition The kids are all right.

This is the first exhibition to examine the intersection of how both family and photography have changed dramatically over the past ten years.

It includes nearly 120 works of art created by 38 established and emerging artists who sensitively reveal, with radical openness, the current notion of family.

“The photographers and video artists featured in this fascinating and, at times, provocative exhibition demonstrate today’s reality: family is a complicated entanglement of people defined by love more than tradition, convention, the law, or even blood,” said Alison Ferris, John Michael Kohler Arts Center curator.

THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT will be on view at the Arts Center through Jan. 20, 2013. The exhibition then travels to the Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, N.C., June 1–August 18, 2013, and the Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Mass., September 14, 2013–January 5, 2014.

The artists in the exhibition are not inhibited by the failed promise of conventional definitions of family. Instead, family is revealed and accepted in whatever form it comes. Irony, distance and judgment are rejected by these artists in favor of affirmation, honesty and trust. There are no authoritative opinions or conclusions; there is poignancy, ambiguity, intimacy and humor.

At the same time the exhibition illuminates the shifting nature of families, it also reveals the changing role of photography. Nearly everyone now carries a digital camera in the form of a cell phone, and all manner of human behavior is extensively and immediately documented. Images are frequently disseminated with little or no editing via email and social networking websites such as Facebook and YouTube. Photography and the manner in which it is now understood substantially contribute to the frankness and honesty of the images included in the exhibition.

About the Artists

Among the works of art included in the exhibition are New Yorkartist Angela Strassheim’s vivid color photographs of well-groomed, comfortable households. These images capture how familial bonds are by turns received and resisted in a variety of small moments. The longer her seemingly mundane scenes are observed, the more unsettling they appear. In her work Untitled (Father and Son), the simple act of a father combing his son’s hair might conflate love and control.

Tierney Gearon’s The Mother Project shows the interaction among herself, her mother and her own children. The work confounds assumptions about these relationships, offering personal studies of theCalifornia artists’ family while raising larger issues of aging, mental illness, and the complicated dynamic of the mother-child relationship.

Aron Gent ofIllinois makes photographs that examine the personal while encompassing both distinct people and events: his aunt who has Down syndrome; his cousin, who is a single mother; the suicide of a friend; and his own adolescence.Gent deconstructs, abstracts, and builds connections from the individual narratives he witnesses. His photographs introduce the troubled places people find themselves as a result of life’s poignant complications.

LaToya Ruby Frazier’s photographs are collaborations with her family and, as a result, a blend of portraiture and social documentation. Much of thisNew York artist’s work focuses on the relationship between Frazier and her mother, but it also includes her grandmother ,and great-grandfather. The photographs she takes with her mother—they photograph each other—are a way for them to negotiate a history of abandonment and abuse.

Additional artists represented in THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT are: Matt Austin (IL), Guy Ben-Ner (Germany), Melonie Bennett (ME), Nina Berman (NY), David Bush (NY), Patty Chang (NY), Goseong Choi (NY), Yolanda Del Amo (NJ), Todd Deutsch (WI), Jenny Drumgoole (PA), Martha Fleming-Ives (NY), Lucas Foglia (CA), Steve Giovinco (NY), David Hilliard (MA), Justin Kirchoff (ME), Justine Kurland (NY), Deana Lawson (NY), Jocelyn Lee (NY), Carrie Levy (CA), Lisa Lindvay (IL), Julie Mack (NY), Ryan McGinley (NY), Andrea Modica (PA), Catherine Opie, (CA), Josh Quigley (MN), Robert Rainey (ME), Justine Reyes (NY), Kathleen Robbins (SC), Paul Mpagi Sepuya (NY), Betsy Schneider (AZ), Chris Verene (NY), Brett Walker (CA), and Rona Yefman (NY).



Founded in 1967 to make innovative arts programming accessible to a broad grassroots public, the John Michael Kohler Arts Center was named after the 19th-century entrepreneur who built the home in which the Arts Center was first established. Its exhibitions explore varied concepts and aesthetics under the umbrella of contemporary art. TheArtsCenter is a repository for the art and archives of vernacular environment builders. Its collection also includes the work of self-taught and folk artists. TheArtsCenter serves as laboratory for the creation of new works, nurturer of interdisciplinary initiatives, originator of exhibitions, cultural preservationist, presenter and producer of the performing arts, educator, publisher, community builder, and advocate for issues affecting the arts. Admission is by voluntary donation.

Arts Center Hours

Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays             10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Tuesdays and Thursdays                        10:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m.

Saturdays and Sundays                         10:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.

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