Author: The Auction Collective
Published: 30 May 2023
Top 5 Artists | Natasha Egan
In this edition of our prestigious Top 5 series, we are privileged to feature Natasha Egan, esteemed Executive Director of the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago (MoCP).
Since 2011, Natasha Egan has served as the executive director of the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago (MoCP), where she was previously the associate director and curator since 2000. She has organized over fifty exhibitions with a focus on contemporary Asian art and artists concerned with societal issues, such as the environment, war, and economics. Egan was a guest curator for the 2010 FotoFest Biennial in Houston; the United States pavilion curator for the 2016 Photo Dubai Exhibition; and the 2019 Lianzhou Photography Biennial in China.
About the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago
The Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP) is a world premier college art museum dedicated to photography. As an international hub, the Museum generates ideas and provokes dialogue among students, artists and diverse communities through groundbreaking exhibitions and programming. Its mission is to cultivate a deeper understanding of the artistic, cultural and political roles of photography in the world today. Founded in 1976 by Columbia College Chicago as the successor to the Chicago Center for Contemporary Photography, the Museum of Contemporary Photography began collecting in the early 1980s and has since grown its collection to include over 16,800 objects by 1,800 artists. The MoCP is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.
Shannon Bool is renowned for her unconventional use of materials in works that upend authoritative histories by blending elements of art history and popular culture. In this collage series, she fuses images of horses with image fragments of brutalist and modernist architecture. The series is a play on photomontages made by Italian architect, designer, and photographer Carlo Mollino (Italy, 1905–1973), who added large images of horses to photographs of the Equestrian Club of Turin that he designed, most likely to convey ideas of strength and progress that modernism was intended to evoke. In Bool’s works, the architecture is subsumed within the body of the horse, making the creatures appear as an absurd amalgam of elements that deflate the symbolism and power associated with both animal and architect.
Shannon Bool’s work has been included in exhibitions at the Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt (2017); White Cube Gallery, London (2017); the National Gallery of Canada (2017); and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY (2016). Her work is held in the collections of the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; the Lenbachhaus, Munich; the National Gallery of Canada, Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal, among others. Her work was featured in the 2022-23 MoCP exhibition, Shannon Bool 1:1.
Krista Franklin is a multidisciplinary visual artist and poet who creates fantastical and surrealist works using collage, papermaking, printmaking, and installation. She often appropriates historical imagery with pop culture to merge notions of the past, present, and future, while challenging notions of gender, race, and culture. Franklin regularly works with the medium of collage, appreciating how many small pieces can come together to create a greater whole. She explains, “I appropriate image and text as a political gesture that chisels away at the narratives historically inscribed on women and people of color, and forge imaginative spaces for radical possibilities and visions.”
Krista Franklin is the author Solo(s) (University of Chicago Press, 2022, Too Much Midnight (Haymarket Books, 2020), the artist book Under the Knife (Candor Arts, 2018), and the chapbook Study of Love & Black Body (Willow Books, 2012). She is a Helen and Tim Meier Foundation for the Arts Achievement Awardee, and a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant. Her visual art has exhibited at the Poetry Foundation, IL; Konsthall C, Sweden; the DePaul Museum of Art, IL; Studio Museum in Harlem, NY; the Chicago Cultural Center, the National Museum of Mexican Art, IL; among others.
As a practicing architect, professor of architecture, artist, and theoretician, Marshall Brown believes that architecture is a “cultural medium,” with the capacity to connect narratives of the past with imagined futures. In his visual art practice, Brown collages together images of twentieth century postmodernist, Dadaist and constructivist architecture to create new forms, combining historical and iconic buildings into new fantastical and limitless realms.
Marshall Brown’s work is held in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago; the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, AR; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among others. has been included in exhibitions at the Chicago Architecture Biennial; the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit; the Architecture and Design Museum in Los Angeles; and in a 10-year survey at the Princeton University School of Architecture, among others. He is currently an Associate Professor of Architecture at Princeton University.
Chicago-based artist Guanyu Xu is known for constructing and documenting elaborate photographic installations within interior spaces. In 2018, he created a series of images within his parent’s apartment in a Beijing military complex while they were away for the day. This act allowed Xu to expand the conservative, heteronormative space where his identity as a queer individual is taboo and remains hidden.
In this series, titled Resident Aliens, the artist works within the homes of immigrants living in the United States. In layering their own belongings and personal photographs, Guanyu Xu speaks to a liminal space between what is familiar and foreign.
In this series titled AS ONE, Brendan Fernandes works with objects from the University of Buffalo Art Galleries’ Cravens Collection with partial views of dancers from the American Ballet Theatre to highlight the disembodied nature of the objects in collections. As a Canadian artist of Kenyan and Indian descent, Fernandes photographs African masks to challenge the ownership and provenance of museum collections with ethnographic and archaeological histories.
He states: “Historically, museums have been spaces of hegemony. My practice has often been about finding space for critique within that history. As an artist I believe that my role in museums can be to challenge our understanding of how museums and their powers operate.”
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