Shoot the Family

Shoot the Family

Curated by Ralph Rugoff

Gathered together, these images explore the intensity and variety of a loaded subject with great sensitivity. Shoot the Family offers a multi-layered representation of the family as a dynamic social institution, revealing that family matters are never simply personal, but inevitably encompass broader historical, anthropological, and economic considerations. Presenting scenarios of emotional closeness as well as failed connection, the sixteen artists featured here expose suppressed ambivalence and conflict, fantasy and eroticism. In American photographer Lyle Ashton Harris’s enigmatic and richly detailed images, for instance, his family members are turned away from the camera, offering just the backs of their heads. Many of the works in the exhibition link the family to a nexus of social issues, including class and financial status, the transmission of gender and ethnic stereotypes, shifting marital and generational roles, and the impact of war and immigration. Darren Almond’s video installation Traction, 1999, shows his father speaking on one screen, his mother listening on another, and a third projection of imagery pertaining to the father’s deeply moving account of his life. Emotionally incisive, conceptually diverse, and visually inventive, the photographs and videos in Shoot the Family transform that most familiar artifact—the family photograph—into an illuminating investigation of contemporary culture.

The catalogue for this exhibition includes an essay by guest curator Ralph Rugoff on the social and aesthetic dimensions of the works in the show, and a short story by author Lynne Tillman. Rugoff is director of the Hayward Gallery in London.

Installation view of Shoot the Family at The Knoxville Museum of Art, TN


Yasser Aggour, Darren Almond, Janine Antoni, Richard Billingham, Miguel Calderón, Mitch Epstein, Hai Bo, Lyle Ashton Harris, Ari Marcopoulos, Malerie Marder, Jonathan Monk, Anneè Olofsson, Adrian Paci, Chris Verene, Gillian Wearing, Zhang Huan

Additional Images

Touring Schedule

Columbus College of Art and Design

Columbus, Ohio
September 13 – November 17, 2007

Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis

St. Louis, Missouri
May 18 – August 5, 2007

David and Sandra Bakalar Gallery, Massachusetts College of Art

Boston, Massachusetts
January 15 – March 10, 2007

Western Gallery, Western Washington University

Bellingham, Washington
October 2 – December 1, 2006

Knoxville Museum of Art

Knoxville, Tennessee
June 23 – September 3, 2006

Cranbrook Art Museum

Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
February 4 – April 2, 2006

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