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Stories of Humanity

    June 21 – August 2, 2024
    Gallery reception: July 12th, 6-8pm

    VanDernoot Gallery
    1815 Mass Ave., Cambridge, MA
    Gallery hours: Friday-Sunday, 12-6pm

    Curated by
    Ben Spiewak, MassArt BFA 2024
    Anna Sullivan, Lesley BFA 2024

    Exhibiting artists
    Gabo Azurdia, Roma Bartel, Jennifer Collins, Haley Cooper, Olive Cotton, Gisele Depina-Teixera, Margaret  Furtado, Ty Gagliardone, Jason Higgins, Cat Nguyen, Izzy O’Hagan, Bella Olsen, Nick Ortoleva, Carlos Paronis, Autumn Porter, Michael Radford, Chloe Ronco, Ingrid Sampaio, Jordan Sanchez, Ben Spiewak, Cora Steffenson, Anna Sullivan

    Stories of Humanity is a collaborative exhibition between MassArt and Lesley University photography students, curated by MassArt Senior Ben Spiewak, and Lesley University Senior Anna Sullivan. The concept for Stories of Humanity began in November 2023 at the Boston Art Book Fair. Ben Spiewak was tabling with the MassArt Photography Department, promoting student work and their annual Photobook Auction, and by chance their table was situated next to the Photographic Resource Center table run by Jessica Burko. After the second day of the fair, Ben had envisioned a collaborative show that would bring both MassArt and Lesley University photography students together. He had noticed that for years, Boston photography schools have been very isolated from each other and he wanted to start an initiative to bring students together in a collaborative context.

    With the help of artist and photo professor, David Hilliard, Ben was connected with Anna Sullivan, a senior photography major at Lesley, and together they started planning a show. At the same time, Ben wanted to expand efforts to bring students together outside of the context of a show. In January 2024, Ben and Anna organized a small critique group with both schools hosted at MassArt, which helped bring the two groups together and become familiar with each other’s work. This collaboration displayed what current Boston photography students are interested in making work about, informing the idea behind Stories of Humanity. The exhibition continues the collaboration between schools by bringing together these two groups of photography students who have never before shared a gallery wall. The exhibition surveys the landscape of life in this present moment from the perspective of 25 emerging artists. The varying backgrounds and interests of this group creates a visual narrative about life as young adults in this current day and the many issues that are on the forefront of their minds.

    Stories of Humanity presents work of recently graduated seniors from the BFA photography programs at MassArt and Lesley University, putting them in dialogue with one another within the context of a contained photographic canon. This exhibition explores themes from a new generation of photographers, taking inspiration from a critique group between the two schools this past winter, Stories of Humanity seeks to take this collaboration further by putting them in the public sphere. Inspired by New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape (on view at SanFrancisco MoMA in 2010) the show also aims to serve as a marker in time in conversation with the past, present, and the future. Topics that have carried throughout time have found new visual language and newer, more contemporary additions are brought to light. Ultimately, the show’s goal is to present a snapshot of photographic time that can be viewed now, in this moment, as well as being reflected on in years to come.