Roe Ethridge, Nancy with Polaroid, 2003 – 2006, C-print, 40 x 32 inches. Courtesy of the artist, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York, and Greengrassi, London

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FotoFocus Announces Roe Ethridge: Nearest Neighbor

Posted on February 9, 2016

A Major Exhibition for Fotofocus Biennial 2016

October 7, 2016 – March 12, 2017
Contemporary Arts Center

The artist’s first solo museum show in the United States leads the month-long celebration of photography and lens-based art in Cincinnati, featuring over 50 exhibitions

FotoFocus Biennial 2016: Photography, the Undocument

October 1 – 31, 2016
Opening Programming: October 6 – 9, 2016
Cincinnati, Ohio


As part of the FotoFocus Biennial 2016, the October-long celebration of photography and lens-based art in Cincinnati, FotoFocus is pleased to announce the major museum exhibition Roe Ethridge: Nearest Neighbor at the Contemporary Arts Center. The exhibition leads the programming for the FotoFocus Biennial 2016, exploring the theme Photography, the Undocument. Organized by FotoFocus Artistic Director and Curator, Kevin Moore, Roe Ethridge: Nearest Neighbor is the artist’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States and will present over 15 years of photographs drawn from Ethridge’s comprehensive body of work. This mid-career survey documents the disparate concepts and photographic methods evident in Ethridge’s broad range of processes, focusing on his shifts between the realms of commercial, fine art, and personal photography.

“Roe Ethridge is one of the most innovative and influential photographers of his generation,” said FotoFocus Executive Director Mary Ellen Goeke. “FotoFocus is delighted to be welcoming Ethridge to Cincinnati as part of our 2016 Biennial programming. With Kevin’s vision, we will continue to bring our audiences the finest in contemporary photography and continue to stimulate the discourse around lens-based art.”

Titled after the photographic term “nearest neighbor”, referring to the type of sampling used when resizing a digital image, the exhibition also alludes to the personal nature of Ethridge’s work, evident beneath the commercial façade. Ethridge regularly invests his editorial assignments with familial content by including his family and friends, as well as himself, as subjects in his photographs. His photographs explore the ways in which our daily immersion in layers of photo-based imagery both mediate and generate meaning in our lives.

Roe Ethridge: Nearest Neighbor highlights this year’s biennial theme: Photography, the Undocument. The Undocument questions the documentary character of photography, exploring the boundaries between fact and fabrication.

“For the 2016 Biennial, we hope to break apart assumptions about photography as a medium often understood to be used for truth-telling and documentation by emphasizing photography’s natural tendency to alter the visible world,” says Kevin Moore. “Ethridge’s work deliberately careens outside of the parameters of photographic systems like journalism and commercial assignments. His work offers a synthetic version—part document, part fantasy—of the reality we think we know. Such alternative understandings of photo-documentation will be explored in various shows during this year’s Biennial.”

Under the leadership of Mary Ellen Goeke, the FotoFocus Biennial 2016 will run through the month of October across the greater Cincinnati region at participating museums, galleries, universities, and community organizations, featuring exhibitions in over 50 locations. In addition to Moore’s curated exhibitions, participating venues throughout the region are invited to address the Undocument theme.

About Roe Ethridge

Roe Ethridge (b. 1969) is an artist and photographer based in New York. Drawing upon the descriptive power of photography and the ease with which it can be accessed, duplicated, and recombined, Ethridge orchestrates visual fugues, collapsing distinctions between commercial, conceptual, and personal uses of photography.

Ethridge’s work has been shown extensively in venues around the world including MoMA/PS1 (2000); The Barbican Center, London (2001); The Carnegie Museum of Art (2002); The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (2005); The Whitney Biennial (2008); The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2010); and Les Rencontres d’Arles, France (2011). In 2011 he was shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize. His first major retrospective, curated by Anne Pontégnie, was exhibited at Le Consortium in Dijon before traveling to M – Museum Leuven, Belgium, in 2012.

About the Biennial

The FotoFocus Biennial 2016 will run through the month of October across the greater Cincinnati region at participating museums, galleries, universities, and community organizations, and will include four days of concentrated programming and events, including a citywide roster of film screenings, lectures, and performances, October 6–9, 2016.

Press Release as a PDF: FotoFocus Announces Roe Ethridge: Nearest Neighbor as major exhibition for the 2016 FotoFocus Biennial