Exhibition Highlights People Who Jumped

Sourced from obscure newspaper clippings from around the world, Sarah Charlesworth’s photographs of bodies in mid-flight are cropped, re-photographed, magnified, and then mounted on the walls of the Art Institute of Chicago. (“Falling Man,” the harrowing Associated Press photograph of an anonymous man diving headfirst from the North Tower on September 11, 2001, is not included.) With some prints as tall as six-and-a-half feet, the photographs – a collection of 14 images titled Stills – forces the viewer to consider the humanity of the ‘bodies’ in the photos: who are these people? What brought them to the edge? Did they jump, were they pushed, or was their fate a terrible accident? Charlesworth, who died in 2013 at age 66, is considered one of the key figures in the Pictures Generation, a group of New York-based conceptual artists in the 1970s through to the early 1980s who used existing multimedia and everyday objects to create work that spoke of consumerism, political fascism, and gender.

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