On The Wall: This Season’s 5 Best Photography Exhibitions

Larry Sultan
Larry Sultan: Here and Home Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA | Through March 22, 2015 | lacma.org In a radio interview on NPR's Fresh Air in 1999, Larry Sultan described photography as an exterior form of memory whose greatest truth is to leave a trace of what has been. When the photographer died in 2009, he left behind profound traces of American life through extensive explorations of home, family, labor, and suburbia. This vast retrospective includes more than 200 photographs from five major bodies of work. Sultan's seminal, decade-long study Pictures from Home combines his own take on his parents' post-retirement domestic life with family snapshots and mementos, probing issues of aging, financial security, and American values. Sultan's broader work investigates loaded cultural symbols in mundane surroundings and navigates territories of reality, fantasy, and desire. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog of the same title (Prestel, $50). Pictured here: Larry Sultan's "Sharon Wild," from the series _ The Valley,_ 2001© Larry Sultan—Courtesy of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Barbara Diener
What Remains Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL | January 26 - March 22, 2015 | mocp.org This show gathers four artists—Barbara Diener, Leiko Shiga, Pao Houa Her, and Jon Rafman—whose work examines notions of displacement within unstable sociopolitical climates in recent years. The works convey themes of separation, memory, nostalgia, and loss, as well as a longing to feel rooted in a place and the continuity between past and present. Pictured here: Barbara Diener's "George," 2012© Barbara Diener—Courtesy of the Museum of Contemporary Photography
Richard Misrach
The Plot Thickens Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, CA | Through Jan. 21, 2015 | fraenkelgallery.com Fraenkel Gallery cele­brates its 35th anniversary with an unorthodox exhibition spotlighting photography throughout three centuries. The show juxtaposes found images by anonymous photographers with work by such masters as Lee Friedlander, Helen Levitt, Nan Goldin, William Eggles­ton, and Ralph Eugene Meatyard. Pictured here: Richard Misrach's "iPhone Study," 2011© Richard Misrach—Courtesy of the Fraenkel Gallery
Jen Kinney
City Under One Roof: Photographs by Jen Kinney Center for Documentary Studies, Durham, North Carolina | Through Jan. 24, 2015 | documentarystudies.duke.edu Honored with the 2013 Dorothea Lange–Paul Taylor Prize, Kenney documents the three-mile-long town of Whittier, Alaska, most of whose 200 residents live in a single 14-story condominium tower. Kinney depicts the rugged land and explores themes of community amid isolation. Pictured here: Jen Kinney's "Chase on his Birthday"© Jen Kinney—Courtesy of the Center for Documentary Studies
Sandro Miller
Sandro Miller: Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich Catherine Edelman Gallery, Chicago, IL | Through Jan. 31, 2015 | edelmangallery.com Miller collaborated with actor John Malko­vich to stage photos paying homage to iconic portraits by the likes of Irving Penn, Dorothea Lange, Annie Leibovitz, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Diane Arbus. Malkovich morphs into a bevy of famous personas. Pictured here: Sandro Miller's "Bert Stern/Marilyn in Pink Roses (from The Last Session, 1962)," 2014© Sandro Miller—Courtesy of the Catherine Edelman Gallery

Our selection of five unique and outstanding photography exhibitions on view this January and February around the country.

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