Going Viral: Photography, Performance, and the Everyday
Today, we use the phrase “going viral” to describe the rapid reception and reproduction of media on the internet. However, since the dawn of amateur photography in the late 19th century, critics have warned of a “universal snapping psychosis.” Long before the age of the selfie, the craze for candid cameras spawned innumerable tropes that snapshooters found irresistible. This exhibition of early 20th-century American snapshots considers our everyday relationship to photography: the ways in which we mediate, understand, and narrate our lives through the snapping and sharing of photographs, and how and why certain types of images become socially infectious.
Mined from the Peter J. Cohen Collection gift of nearly 1,000 anonymous snapshots, the exhibition is organized into 11 sections that explore various performances, rituals, and gestures that have gone viral via photography. The texts for each section provide micro-histories of these diverse social phenomena and demonstrate how vernacular photographs might function as affective historical documents and offer rich rewards for the imaginative historian, anthropologist, or sociologist.
The exhibition will also showcase an original Kodak camera, early amateur photography manuals, Kodak 1s and 2s, 20th-century album pages, and six photo albums as well as the latest from Kodak—the Printomatic—with which visitors can shoot and print their own snapshots in the gallery.
We invite you to share your own snapshots and impressions with us on social media using #davisgoingviral.
Curated by Carrie Cushman, Linda Wyatt Gruber ’66 Curatorial Fellow in Photography.
Linda Wyatt Gruber (class of 1966) and Wellesley College Friends of Art at the Davis.
Apr 21, 12:45–1:45 PM
Apr 11, 11 AM–12 PMStroller and Story Time Saturday
Families are invited to spend an art-filled morning at the Davis strolling the galleries with their little ones during a free guided tour and a special guest from the Wellesley Free Library for books and songs!Event Date:Saturday, April 11, 2020 -11:00am to 12:00pm
Mar 14, 2 PM
Feb 19, Mar 18, Apr 15, May 20Mindful Meditation
Surround yourself with art, and experience present-moment awareness, in this 30 minute meditation session. Guided by Kotatsu John Bailes Roshi, the College’s Buddhist chaplain. Meet in in the Davis Lobby at 12:30 p.m.Event Date:Wednesday, February 19, 2020 (All day)Event Date:Wednesday, March 18, 2020 (All day)Event Date:Wednesday, April 15, 2020 (All day)Event Date:Wednesday, May 20, 2020 (All day)
Apr 11–Apr 18Bark and Metal Tour
Get outdoors with the Wellesley student-created Bark & Metal outdoor sculpture and ecology program. Join a Davis student guide for a tour of the Wellesley College campus environment.Event Date:Repeats every week until Wed Apr 22 2020.Saturday, April 11, 2020 (All day)Saturday, April 18, 2020 (All day)
Feb 7–Jun 7Making, Not Taking: Portrait Photography in the 19th Century
This exhibition recreates the environment of a 19th-century portrait studio with selections from the Davis’s collection of daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, cartes de visite, cabinet cards, and tintypes.Event Date:Friday, February 7, 2020 (All day) to Sunday, June 7, 2020 (All day)