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MFA for Educators

Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

(Un)expected Families

How do you define family?

Bringing together more than 80 pictures taken by American photographers from the 19th century to today, “(un)expected families” explores the definition of the American family—from the families we are born into to the ones we have chosen for ourselves. The works on view depict a wide range of relationships, including multiple generations, romantic unions, and alternative family structures. Using archival, vernacular, and fine art photographs, “(un)expected families” offers a variety of perspectives on the American family, from Dorothea Lange’s depiction of a migrant family at the time of the Dust Bowl to Louie Palu’s portraits of US Marines fighting in Afghanistan. The exhibition illustrates that the family has always taken diverse forms: affluent and destitute, cohesive and fractured, expected and unexpected. Taken together, the photographs challenge visitors to consider what family means to them. “(un)expected families” features celebrated practitioners like Nan Goldin, Carrie Mae Weems, LaToya Ruby Frazier, and Harry Callahan, as well as a number of renowned Boston-area artists, such as David Hilliard, Nicholas Nixon, Abe Morell, and Sage Sohier.

 

What is family to you? What qualities make for a good family? If someone took a snapshot of your family what would they see? What kind of artwork or image would best capture what your family is like? What story would you want to tell? 

 

http://www.wbur.org/artery/2017/12/20/unexpected-family-photographs-mfa 

Created By

Landa Ruen