The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago presents Anne Collier, a retrospective of work by visual artist, photographer and CalArts alumna Anne Collier (Art BFA 93), on view through March 8.
Collier’s photography subjects are often media images culled from popular culture—record album sleeves, magazines, coffee table books, Hollywood film stills or pictorial calendars—set against neutral studio backdrops. The resulting photographs invite the viewer to scrutinize the messages that these media images convey.
The exhibit gathers almost 40 works, including pieces from Collier’s long-standing photographic series, Woman With a Camera, which depicts famous, heavily-photographed women—actresses Marilyn Monroe, Faye Dunaway, Jacqueline Bisset and the supermodel Cheryl Tiegs, among others—posing with cameras in a feminist reversal of the “male gaze.”
Other works seem to place the photographer herself within the context of pop culture. In Cut, a photograph of Collier’s eye is bisected on a paper cutter, an allusion to the notorious eye-slicing scene of Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí’s surrealist short film Un Chien Andalou.
“Her work feels timely and relevant because we’re so photo-obsessed right now,” notes show organizer and MCA Chicago chief curator Michael Darling, in a recent ARTnews piece. “Taking a retrospective look at these technologies and how women have been portrayed in them prepares you to think about how photos are being used today.”
The New York Times calls the show “savvy and elegant,” and calls Collier “the ultimate Woman With a Camera, one who is wise to the sexist biases that have plagued the history of photography and the representation of female photographers.”
Above is a slideshow of selected works on view.