artist / participant

press release

gescheidle is pleased to announce a new exhibition of Chris Verene's photography series, GALESBURG. At age sixteen, in 1986, the artist began an ongoing documentary of his family's rural Illinois hometown, Galesburg.

This show coincides with several current museum survey exhibitions and catalogs which anthologize chapters of Verene's twenty year project: Prairie Jews: The Jewish Identity Project, at The Jewish Museum, Shoot The Family, curated by Ralph Rugoff, Director of Hayward National Gallery of London, and forthcoming from Phaidon Press, Theater of the Face, an anthology of documentary portraiture by curator Max Kozloff.

The show includes many works released as recently as the past six months reflecting the troubles Galesburg has been facing as economic hardship has gripped the community. Verene follows the lives of his family and friends as they face a depressed wartime America. Verene's unstaged color documentary photography is largely appreciated for its honesty, intense color, and composition. The artist is committed to sincerely recording the powerful hope and spirit in his family's community. Verene's work has been praised for making the intimacy and humanity between the artist and his subjects function as the primary purpose of the work.

The project follows in the historical trail of such documentarians as Diane Arbus, Nan Goldin, and William Eggleston. Verene's works feature three generations of his family and the surrounding community, as seen in bright flash and sunlight in a variety of mundane and plainspoken interiors, trailer parks, and nursing homes. The work goes beyond documentation, as Verene spends countless days and years in deep relationships that form the basis for the artwork. This personal touch is enhanced through handwritten captions in black oil paint, signifying important facts in the larger story.

Verene first gained significant recognition in 2000 appearing in The Whitney Biennial and through the publication of an extensive catalog by Twin Palms Press. Chris Verene is simultaneously known as a musician and an artist, currently co-leading the Latin Rock group Cordero (Chicago's Bloodshot Records), founding member of The RockATeens (Merge Records), and founding member of the legendary D.Q.E., a Chicago/Atlanta music group first recorded by Chicago's Steve Albini in 1990.

Verene's work is in the collection of The Whitney Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Jewish Museum, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Walker Art Center, and The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, among others. In 2001, Chris Verene was the recipient of the first Pollock/Krasner award given for photography. Verene's work has been featured in ARTFORUM, Art In America, ArtNews, The New York Times, The Village Voice, Vanity Fair, Parkett, Harper's, Vogue, and The New Yorker.

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Chris Verene