PERSPECTIVES ON PHOTOGRAPHY SPEAKER SERIES 2018-2019:

Sunday, March 3, 4:30 pm

Paul D'Amato



"Midway is somewhere between becoming and being, between entropy and stasis, between learning and knowing, between alienation and belonging, between isolation and community, between immigration and assimilation, between urban and suburban, between poetry and blight. Midway is a metaphor and it’s a state of mind. It’s also an airport."
– Paul D'Amato
 
Midway: A Lecture by Paul D'Amato
 
Paul D'Amato's series, Midway, is a project that explores the twilight zones of urbanity which exist between neighborhoods that are geographically, ethnically and socio-economically distinct. The heart of it is Chicago's Midway Airport, one of the few airports in the United States that is embedded within a residential area of a city. It is a rock thrown into the middle of a pond of humanity, with economic and cultural ripples extending for miles in every direction.

Though working class, the Midway community is difficult to define and routinely ignored by everyone going to the airport in order to fly to places that are far more exotic. Just about every ethnic group in the city lives there against a backdrop of strip malls, fast food restaurants, light industry, shipping firms and transportation companies. Most of the residents are midway between poverty and middle class. Very few have flown on the jets that make their dishes rattle every ten minutes. It is hard to conceive of anywhere that is less romantic. The challenge that D'Amato faced while shooting this project was to weave all these incoherent pieces together into a body of work that could be from anywhere in the United States; because, it is emphatically midway and distinctly nowhere.

Paul D'Amato (American, 1956- ) was born in Boston where he attended Boston Latin School at the height of racial unrest, civil rights and busing. He moved to Oregon to attend Reed College and claims to have learned as much from traveling cross-country four times a year – often by hitch-hiking and hopping freight trains – as he did in class. After receiving an MFA from Yale School of Art, he moved to Chicago where he discovered the communities of Pilsen and Little Village. The pictures and writing D'Amato produced there over the next fourteen years were made into the book, “Barrio."  His most recent book of images made in the African-American community on the West Side, entitled "Here/Still/Now," was awarded the Lucie Foundation Book Prize in 2018. He has been awarded numerous grants and fellowships including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Pollock-Krasner Grant and a Rockefeller Foundation Grant to Bellagio, Italy. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Art Institute of Chicago among many others.


Sunday, April 28

Tonika Lewis Johnson
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