Going Viral: Photography, Performance, and the Everyday
*Please Note: The Davis Museum at Wellesley College has suspended all public access through March 31. Public programs have been canceled or rescheduled and gallery access is limited to the Wellesley College campus community. Please call for more information and updates: 781.283.2051.*
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of these diverse social phenomena and demonstrate how vernacular photographs might function as affective historical documents and offer rich rewards for the imaginative historian, anthropologist, or sociologist.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 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 7
Apr 4, 2 PMMuseum Day: Earth Optimism: Gallery Nature Walk
Take a student guide-led “nature walk” through the Davis, focusing on biodiversity in the Davis Museum permanent collections. Hosted in conjunction with Smithsonian Institution’s celebration of global conservation.Event Date:Saturday, April 4, 2020 - 2:00pm
Apr 25, 11 AM–3 PMFamily Day: Fun with Photos
A free, family-friendly, event that explores photography through hands-on art activities. Join us for a treasure hunt in the galleries, create sun prints, take an interactive tour of special exhibitions, enjoy stories and songs, and more!Event Date:Saturday, April 25, 2020 -11:00am to 3:00pm
Sep 13–Jun 7
Apr 11–Apr 18