Barbara Crane: Challenging Vision

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Chicago Beaches and Parks, 1972-78 Gelatin Silver Print 11 X 14 In. © Courtesy of the Chicago Cultural Center and Barbara Crane
Barbara Crane: Challenging Vision
Curated by: Kenneth C. Burkhart

78 E. Washington St.
Chicago, IL 60602
October 3rd, 2009 - January 10th, 2010

Michigan Ave/Downtown
Mon-Thu 9-7; Fri-Sat 9-6; Sun 10-6


This retrospective exhibition, organized by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), celebrates the 60-year career of Chicago photographer Barbara Crane.  Her many separate projects, in both color and black and white images, constitute the largest gathering of her work to date, including some 300 photographs.  Guest curated by Kenneth C. Burkhart, the exhibition is accompanied by a major monograph on the artist.

Barbara Crane: Challenging Vision will be on view in the Chicago Cultural Center’s Fourth Floor Exhibit Hall from October 3, 2009, through January 10, 2010.  On Thursday, October 1, curator Kenneth C. Burkhart will lead a gallery talk at 5:30 p.m., which will be followed by an opening reception from 6 to 8 p.m.  Also the opening event for Chicago Artists Month, Barbara Crane will be receiving the DCA’s first Ruth Horwich Award to a Famous Chicago Artist.  Named for one of Chicago’s most steadfast art supporters, the award recognizes the enduring career of an esteemed Chicago artist.  For more information on Chicago Artist Month, the annual celebration of Chicago’s talented and diverse visual arts community during the month of October, visit  Additional events related to the exhibition are listed below.  Admission to the exhibition and these associated programs is free.

Barbara Crane, artist-photographer and educator, has explored photography as a vehicle for creative expression for over sixty years.  The result has been a changing, ongoing body of work conceptually consistent, varied in approach and experimental in style.  An early investigator of repetition and deconstruction of visual information, she has experimented with sequences, grids, scrolls, and large modular murals.  Crane continues to work in many formats ranging from the intimate to the large scale and to use diverse materials and processes including platinum-palladium, Polaroid formats, gelatin silver, and digital.

Born in Chicago, Crane studied at Mills College in California, completing her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Art History at New York University. She received her Master of Science Degree from the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology.  She began teaching photography in 1964 and soon joined the faculty of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where she retired as Professor Emeritus in 1995.

Crane has been the recipient of many grants, awards, and fellowships, including the National Endowment for the Arts Grants in 1975 and 1988, a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in Photography in 1979, and an Illinois Arts Council Artists Fellowship Award in Photography in 2001.  Her work is represented in major collections around the country, including the George Eastman House in Rochester, the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Related Events

· Thurs., Oct. 1, 5:30 pm: Gallery Talk led by guest curator Kenneth C. Burkhart

· Thurs., Oct. 1, 6-8 pm: Opening Reception and Chicago Artist Month Opening Celebration

· Sat., Oct. 3, 2 pm: Interview of the artist Barbara Crane by Franςois Poviot, Director of Galerie Franςois Poviot, Paris, 1st floor Garland Room of the Chicago Cultural Center

· Thurs., Oct. 29, 12:15 pm: Gallery Talk led by Gregory Knight, Deputy Commissioner for Visual Arts

· Thurs., Nov. 19, 12:15 pm: Gallery Talk led by Abigail Foerstner, essayist on Barbara Crane

· Thurs., Dec. 17, 12:15 pm: Gallery Talk by Whitney Bradshaw, Curator of Photography for the Bank of America Collection

· Thurs., Jan. 7, 12:15 pm: Gallery Talk with the artist Barbara Crane

Also on exhibit in the Chicago Cultural Center’s first floor Michigan Avenue Galleries are “Jane Fulton Alt: After the Storm” from October 3 to December 27, 2009, and “Rosilene Luduvico: Paintings and Drawings” and “Josue Pellot: New Work” from October 10, 2009, to January 3, 2010.  The Project Onward Gallery is showing “David Blaisdell: MIND and ANTI-MIND” from October 6 to November 16, 2009, and “Ryan Tepich: Angels” from November 18, 2009 to January 4, 2010.

Viewing hours for Barbara Crane: Challenging Vision and other exhibitions at the Chicago Cultural Center are Mondays through Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Fridays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  The Chicago Cultural Center is closed on holidays.  Admission to Chicago Cultural Center exhibitions is free.

Organized by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, this exhibition was guest curated by Kenneth C. Burkhart, and was made possible in part by the David C. and Sarajean Ruttenberg Arts Foundation.


Exhibitions and related educational programming presented by the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs at the Chicago Cultural Center are partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.  Transportation support is provided by United Airlines, the Official Airline of the Chicago Cultural Center.  Lawry’s the Prime Rib is the restaurant sponsor of Chicago Cultural Center exhibitions.

For more information about Barbara Crane: Challenging Vision and the Chicago Cultural Center, the public can visit or call 312.744.6630. (TTY: 312.744.2947).