The Menil Collection and the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston’s Teen Council present Root Shift: Photographs of Stasis and Change Selected by CAMH Teen Council, an exhibition on the perennial themes of continuity and disruption. Since the advent of photography, the camera has served to capture momentous environmental, social, and political upheavals while simultaneously recording the deep-seated rhythms of everyday life. A gallery talk will be presented by members of Teen Council on Saturday, March 12 at noon.
The exhibition, which comprises photographs chosen by Teen Council members from the Menil’s holdings, brings together images of people and landscapes to explore ideas of stability and adaptation. Through photographs by artists such as Tom Arndt, Edward S. Curtis, Elliot Erwitt, Walker Evans, and Richard Misrach, Root Shift investigates some of life’s eternal paradoxes.
Describing two of the photographs in the exhibition, Teen Council member Eli Winter states, “Consider the perspectives presented by Edward S. Curtis in Puget Sound Baskets, 1912, and Tom Arndt in Blackfoot reservation, Browning, Montana, 1978. Curtis presents a traditional, reverent view of the region’s indigenous American culture, celebrating the basket weavings of the Skokomish tribe. But Arndt sees a more contemporary culture, one overtaken by capitalism. In his photograph, a teenager rides a bicycle in front of trucks, streetlights, and small, single-family houses. The reservation, home to one of the most disenfranchised groups in American history, becomes scarcely distinguishable from a typical suburb.”
Under the guidance of Haley Berkman at the Menil Collection and Jamal Cyrus at CAMH, the Teen Council curatedthis small survey in relation to the theme of the FotoFest 2016 Biennial, Changing Circumstances: Looking at the Future of the Planet. Now in its second installment, the collaboration between the Menil and CAMH provides teens with the opportunity to learn about the curatorial process by working closely with museum staff to organize an exhibition. “Throughout the curatorial experience, I have learned how to work with people in a way that allows me to trust and take in ideas I wouldn’t have considered otherwise,” says El’Mashiyah Miller, Teen Council member.
Root Shift: Photographs of Stasis and Change Selected by CAMH Teen Council is on view at the Menil Collection from March 4 through May 29, 2016. The exhibition coincides with the FotoFest 2016 Biennial that will take place in Houston from March 12 through April 24, 2016. Teen Council members will present an exhibition walkthrough on Saturday, March 12 at noon.
About CAMH Teen Council
The Teen Council, members of which are employed by CAMH to help create programming for their peers, was granted access to the Menil’s photography collection in order to curate an exhibition from the ground up, a process loaded with discovery and educational rewards. The members of the 2015-16 CAMH Teen Council are: Hank Bond, Adrian Jimenez, Charlie Magun, El’Mashiyah Miller, Connor Mizell, June Ngo, Alex Rodriguez, Kizer Shelton, JaelynWalls, Matthew Watowich, Thor Westergaard, Eli Winter, and Felicity Yiu.