Independent Curators International supports the work of curators to help create stronger art communities through experimentation, collaboration, and international engagement.

Independent Curators International supports the work of curators to help create stronger art communities through experimentation, collaboration, and international engagement.

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"Adler and Adler" at South Side Community Art Center

Curated by Amber Nax (Detroit Curatorial Seminar alum, 2023)

Jun 8, 2024 – Aug 31, 2024

Chicago, IL, USA
South Side Community Art Center

3831 S. Michigan Ave.
sscartcenter.org

The exhibition Adler and Adler is a result of a growing initiative between ICI and Chicago's South Side Community Art Center to help support emerging Black curators who participate in our Chicago, Detroit, and New York Curatorial Seminars.

Curated by Detroit Curatorial Seminar alum Amber Nax (formerly Amber Beasley), the exhibition brings Nax's research at The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History (co-presenters of the Detroit Seminar) into conversation with Chicago-based artist Eli Greene. Invested in themes of memory, trace, and ghosts, Eli Greene responds to Nax's selection of images from the Adler & Adler studio, and explores what it means to find something that you did not realize was lost.

Founded circa 1910 by Charles and Mamie L. Adler, Adler & Adler Studio was one of the earliest Black photographic businesses in Detroit. This site, and Black photography studios across the country just like it, were beacons of empowerment where people celebrated and immortalized the joys of everyday life, offering Black communities new agency in self-representation. For the first time, it gave them power over how they were represented in the present, and how they would be remembered by future generations. When the Adlers passed away in 1973, the studio, along with its collection of photographs, was left behind. Some were later discovered and sold to The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, where they now reside as a testament to the studio's enduring impact.

The exhibition presents ten early photographs taken at the Adler & Adler Studios in dialogue with new works by Eli Greene. After being approached by ICI with the idea of responding to the Adler & Adler images, the artist, while visiting family in Detroit, went back and photographed the old site of the studio, which is now a park. Alongside the Adler & Adler images are ten of her contemporary photographs of the site, a drawing inspired by the studio backdrops present in the original images, and a sound/video work. Greeneā€™s work also reflects on the photography studio as a site of moments and memories asking to be fixed in time; asking not to be forgotten. The interplay of Greene and Nax's two modes of research provide us with new ways to think about how we engage with archives and memories, and ultimately how we can breathe new life into them.

Curator
Amber Nax

Amber Nax is a Detroit native and multi-disciplinary artist.