Announcing FotoFocus Biennial 2020 Theme

By: May. 09, 2019
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Announcing FotoFocus Biennial 2020 Theme

FotoFocus announces the theme for the fifth iteration of theFotoFocus Biennial, America's largest photography and lens-based art biennial. The 2020 theme, light &, explores light and its contrasts in relation to photography and the world at large.

The FotoFocus Biennial will activate museums, galleries, universities, and public spaces throughout Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, Dayton and Columbus, Ohio in October 2020, with a concentrated week of programming to be held October 1-4, 2020. FotoFocus will welcome global artists, curators, critics, educators, and regional visitors to Cincinnati with exhibitions, talks, performances, screenings, and panel discussions all related to the theme.

"Light is a fundamental aspect of photography. Light implies a force of good, and it conjures hope, clarity, and rational thought," says Kevin Moore, FotoFocus Artistic Director and Curator. "Exhibitors are asked to consider the phrase 'light &' with what comes after. We're looking forward to seeing how venues interpret the theme."

For the first time in its ten-year history, FotoFocus invites venues in the Greater Cincinnati and surrounding region to apply to the Biennial through a new web-based process, with photography or lens-based art projects that respond to the 2020 theme and the many meanings and contrasts of light.

"This theme is a springboard for many different curatorial conversations spanning political, social, and historical themes," says Mary Ellen Goeke, FotoFocus Executive Director. "As we launch the fifth iteration of the Biennial, it is engaging to see institutional leaders, artists, and our community interpret each Biennial theme."

The Biennial has broken records with each iteration. The most recent, in 2018, welcomed 207,000 visitors, more than triple the first Biennial's attendance in 2012.

FotoFocus is a Cincinnati-based nonprofit arts organization that champions photography and lens-based art through exhibitions and public programming. Since 2010, the organization has engaged art and educational institutions throughout the region to support and expand the cultural dialogue around the medium that has come to define our time.

With an emphasis on intellectually and academically rigorous programs, the organization provides uniquely enriching access to lens-based art, film, and practices inspired by photography. FotoFocus has collaborated with hundreds of organizations, curators, academics, and artists to present more than 700 exhibitions and programs, having contributed funding for the majority. The organization has brought hundreds of internationally-renowned photographers to the Greater Cincinnati region. Signature programming includes: FotoFocus Biennial, which had a record-breaking 207,000 visitors in 2018 and has presented exhibitions of work by both historic and contemporary artists such as Berenice Abbott, Eugène Atget, Roe Ethridge, Zanele Muholi, Karl Blossfeldt, Francis Bruguière, Thomas Ruff, and Akram Zaatari in Cincinnati; the FotoFocus Symposium, which has contributed significant dialogue and insight to culturally relevant topics including the controversial Mapplethorpe exhibition; and FotoFocus Lecture and Visiting Artist Series, which has brought internationally renowned artists like Zoe Leonard and William Wegman to Cincinnati.


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