The gallery of the De Pree Art Center at Hope College is featuring photography by Stephen Milanowski in the exhibition “Portraits of Strangers: Design on the Fly,” through Friday, March 21.
The exhibition, which opened Friday, Feb. 21, is the third and final in this year’s inaugural “Breaking Artistic Barriers Series” focusing on disegno. “Disegno,” or “design” in its original, 16th-century definition, refers to the creative idea in the mind of the artist. The goal of the series is to explore the principle of disegno through a contemporary, 21st-century lens. Over the course of the academic year, the exhibitions and programming at The De Pree Gallery have been devoted to exploring how “design” in its broad, modern usage—that is, in denoting the graphic and industrial arts—can co-exist with the so-called “fine arts” and aid one another in the unique expression of self.
Milanowski works with a hand-held, large-format camera, 4x5 film holders and a separate, high-powered flash attached to his waist, and takes portraits of everyday people. He has said of his work, “I have the idea that everyday life is not very common after all—that there are new things to be discovered in the commonplace and in the everyman. So, I love to make these portraits amidst public events and public settings: parades, fairs, conventions, competitions of all sorts—really any large-scale gathering of Americans.”
His photographs are part of the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), The National Gallery of Art, The Houston Museum of Fine Arts, The High Museum of Art and The Polaroid Collection, among numerous other public collections. MoMA has purchased his work in CELEBRATIONS and ANIMALS; his work was also included in MoMA’s recent survey of late 20th-century photography in the newly reinstalled Edward Steichen galleries. He worked with Bob Tarte to produce the book “Duplicity,” a monograph of Milanowski’s portraits.
Milanowski earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from The Cranbrook Academy of Art and his Master of Science degree from The Creative Photography Laboratory at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He currently resides in Madison, Wis.
The De Pree Art Center is located at 160 E. 12th St., on Columbia Avenue, at 12th Street. The gallery is open Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., although the gallery will be closed on Saturday-Sunday, March 15-16, because of the college's spring recess. The facilities are handicapped accessible.
Graves Hall is located at 263 College Ave., between 10th and 12th streets.