FotoFocus Takes a Dive into the World of Photography

The Biennial explores lens-based art at dozens of venues across the region.
Chris Engman, Landscape for Quentin, 2017.

Courtesy the artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

If you’re curious about the influx of photography this month at just about every arts venue around, let us fill you in: FotoFocus, a nonprofit arts organization, is celebrating all things photography during its fourth biennial arts festival—the largest of its kind in the U.S. It all begins with a week of FotoFocus events surrounding this year’s theme Open Archive, including a symposium at Memorial Hall with the artists and curators who put the shows together. The festivities continue throughout the month with special exhibitions at museums, universities, and galleries ranging from Columbus to Northern Kentucky.

For art folks, the word “archive” gets thrown around a lot. But this year’s biennial reimagines that term for the 21st century. “By calling it Open Archive we’re referencing free use of images on the web, drawing it into the sphere of contemporary archives,” says Kevin Moore, artistic director. “It’s an active process that we are all engaging in.”

When it came to approaching events and programming, Moore bypassed the typical lecture format for something more engaging, “things that are quick and spontaneous by people who can talk intelligently and also leave you hungry,” he says. Imagine an interactive conversation with renowned filmmaker Miranda July, who will be discussing her upcoming film Joanie 4 Jackie; live art-making by Swedish painter Mamma Andersson; and an explorative performance by writer and photographer Teju Cole and pianist Vijay Iyer.

The point of the biennial, Moore says, is to remind people of the beauty of witnessing art in person. “You forget that you can stand in front of the Mona Lisa,” he says. “You can stand in front of an Atget photograph printed by him.”

October 4–7, fotofocusbiennial.org

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