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Acclaimed photographer Deana Lawson shows never-before-seen works in new exhibition

Contact: Jonathan Gaugler | | 412.688.8690 / 412.216.7909

Deana Lawson
March 15–July 15, 2018
Forum Gallery

Pittsburgh, PA…Carnegie Museum of Art (CMOA) presents Deana Lawson, a new exhibition of never-before-shown photographs by Lawson (b. 1979). The Brooklyn-based artist’s growing body of work addresses critical issues surrounding representations of African Americans and the African diaspora. The exhibition is the 80th edition of CMOA’s dynamic Forum series, uninterrupted since 1990, bringing the work of extraordinary artists to Pittsburgh.

Deana Lawson, 'Nation,' 2017, © 2018 Deana Lawson

Deana Lawson, ‘Nation,’ 2017, inkjet print, © 2018 Deana Lawson

Few photographers working today unpack complexities of race and identity like Deana Lawson. Her strikingly-arranged portraits are packed with details that invite contemplation and close inspection. Lawson depicts people and interiors she encounters in her daily routines and travels, from her own neighborhood in Brooklyn to Soweto, South Africa, and beyond. She also appropriates photographs from other sources to address depictions of African Americans in media and visual culture. The exhibition includes 10 photographs, printed in the largest size ever for the artist. Their life-size scale affords scrutiny of the carpeting, clothing, furniture, hair, and jewelry that impact our perceptions—and perhaps biases—about people and their stories.

Deana Lawson also features photographic installations that burst out of the traditional picture frame and onto the exhibition walls. Lawson taps a variety of sources, including mass media and photo libraries, to explore how images in contemporary visual culture shape perceptions and stereotypes of people and communities.  Each one is site-specific to CMOA and meticulously assembled by the artist in response to the museum and its local context.

We invite everyone to meet Deana Lawson and exhibition curator Dan Leers at the opening reception. The event is on March 15 at 7 p.m., and is free to the public. The museum’s monthly Third Thursday series follows from 8–11 p.m.

CMOA’s Forum series hosts diverse artists working on innovative projects in our Forum Gallery, located in the main lobby of the museum. For over 25 years, the series has offered our curators a dynamic space to show new developments in contemporary art.

Deana Lawson is organized by Dan Leers, curator of photography at Carnegie Museum of Art.


Major funding for the Forum series is generously provided by the Juliet Lea Hillman Simonds Foundation. Additional support for this exhibition is provided by the Marty McGuinn Art Exhibition Fund.

General operating support for Carnegie Museum of Art is provided by The Heinz Endowments and Allegheny Regional Asset District. Carnegie Museum of Art receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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