The Print Center is pleased to present two exhibitions this fall in conjunction with the Whitman at 200 initiative. Keith Carter: Seek & Find is a solo exhibition by the renowned Texas-based photographer dedicated to a new series that visually mediates the papers and ephemera of Walt Whitman held by the Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Collection, Duke University. The Politics of Rhetoric is a group exhibition of new and recent works by Bethany Collins, Sharon Hayes, Sarah McEneaney, Keris Salmon, María Verónica San Martín and Didier William that draw from archived materials, exposing the biases in our everyday language. These exhibitions are curated by Ksenia Nouril, PhD, The Print Center’s Jensen Bryan Curator.
Keith Carter: Seek & Find is the artist’s first exhibition in Philadelphia and the premiere of his latest series “Walt Whitman: ‘Beautiful Imperfect Things’”. A nationally-recognized artist and teacher with an extraordinary roster of achievements, Carter embarked on this project while in North Carolina on a Cassilhaus Residency in 2018. The Duke University collection provided him access to the most intimate materials from the celebrated American writer’s life, including a well-preserved lock of the author’s hair. From Whitman’s personal correspondence with his mother to drafts of his magnum opus Leaves of Grass, Carter’s photographs explore the many sides of Whitman’s complex character. The exhibition and its public programs enrich the legacy of Whitman at the bicentennial of his birth as well as critically examine his ideas in light of current events.
The Politics of Rhetoric is a group exhibition that brings together a diverse selection of new and recent works from across media that address the inherent biases in everyday language. Delving into a variety of personal and public archives for source material, the artists Bethany Collins, Sharon Hayes, Sarah McEneaney, Keris Salmon, María Verónica San Martín and Didier William draw our attention to how those in power manipulate words and phrases, so that they become gendered, racist and/or classist. The exhibition’s title is inspired by rhetoric – the ancient art of discourse – which plays to the logos (logic), pathos (emotions) and ethos (morals) of the listener. The artists in this exhibition explore the uses and abuses of rhetoric in their works, which feature texts pulled from sources, including audiotapes, musical scores, newspapers and the records of southern American plantations. Their works in print, photography, painting, video and performance art, call us to think before we speak.