Truthiness and the News

Charles “Teenie” Harris, Girl Reading on Stack of Pittsburgh Courier Newspapers,
Click images for larger view
On View Oct 12, 2019 - Mar 29, 2020
Exhibition Location: Dewey Family Gallery

Dewey Family Gallery

Truthiness and the News explores the evidentiary role of photography, from the heyday of newsprint in the first half of the twentieth century to the current age of post-truth politics. Presaging the contemporary turn to “alternative facts” and “fake news,” photographs in print journalism have always offered a multiplicity of truths depending on when and how editors chose to print them. Featuring works from the 1940s to the present, this exhibition highlights photojournalists and socially engaged photographers, such as Charles “Teenie” Harris and Barbara Norfleet, alongside spreads from the newspapers and magazines that published their photographs, and contemporary works responding to the dissemination of the news today. Displaying lush photographs of current events as “art” next to the same images presented as “news” offers rich insights into the way photography informs our politics and beliefs.

Organized by Sam Adams, Koch Curatorial Fellow.

Photosynthesis at deCordova

Photography has long benefitted from assumptions that it faithfully documents our world. The medium’s supposed neutrality is particularly unquestioned when used for scientific study or journalistic purposes. Upending these assumptions, Photosynthesis encompasses a suite of exhibitions at deCordova spanning diverse topics from botanical design to land art, news reportage to photo-conceptualism—fields that have relied on photography’s ability to zoom, crop, and manipulate objects of study to provide detailed visual evidence. The three exhibitions that form Photosynthesis look back to photography’s origins and foundational artists and photojournalists to contextualize contemporary notions of nature, photography, and truth. (See also: All the Marvelous Surfaces: Photography Since Karl Blossfeldt and Peter Hutchinson: Landscapes of My Life)