Mikhael Subotzky (South African, b. 1981). Break-In, Rustdene Township, Beaufort West. 2006. Chromogenic color print, 32 1/4 × 39 3/8″ (81.9 × 100 cm). Fund for the Twenty-First Century. © 2016 Mikhael Subotzky

New Photography is the annual fall showcase of significant recent work in photography. This year’s exhibition features the work of Josephine Meckseper (German, b. 1964) and Mikhael Subotzky (South African, b. 1981). In her photographs and signature vitrine displays, Meckseper explores the media’s strategy of mixing political news and advertising content. Her installation includes a selection of life-size photographs of models dressed in vintage lingerie from the 1950s, from her 2006 Blow-Up series. Also included is Quelle International (2008), a new group of pictures culled from a mail-order catalogue popular in Germany in the 1970s that have been printed on reflective Mylar. In both series the artist uses the semantic codes of advertising to address issues of power and consumerism.

Subotzky’s recent body of photographic work, Beaufort West (2006–2008), portrays a small desert town in South Africa’s Western Cape blighted by unemployment, rampant crime, domestic violence, poverty, and segregation. The artist was drawn to this subject by the local jail, which is strangely situated in the center of the town, in a traffic circle at the intersection of the main highway between Johannesburg and Cape Town. His photographs of Beaufort West’s various populations—inmates, outcasts, families, residents, and passersby—formulate a stirring vision of South Africa’s strained post-apartheid condition.

Organized by Roxana Marcoci, Curator, Department of Photography.

The New Photography series is made possible by JGS, Inc.

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