Dayton Art Institute Muse 2 Thomas 1
Mickalene Thomas, La leçon d'amour, 2008. C-print, 47 1/2 x 59 inches. © Mickalene Thomas. Courtesy the artist; Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong; and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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FotoFocus in Dayton: Nine Shows You Don’t Want to Miss

Posted on September 6, 2018

Sometimes you need to get out of town, see something fresh, and stretch your brain muscles. And sometimes, that can mean just a short jaunt up I-75. If you’ve got the itch, you’re in luck—FotoFocus has a road trip mapped out for you.

This fall, spend a day in Dayton and delve into a fascinating array of photography and lens-based Biennial exhibitions at a host of art havens around the Gem City.

There’s the iconic and architecturally beautiful Dayton Art institute showing Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs. You may recognize Thomas, who shows internationally, as the photographer of the first individual portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama in 2008. In Muse, the New York–based artist challenges today’s standards and definition of beauty “drawing inspiration widely, borrowing various visual motifs including 1970s black-is-beautiful imagery, 19th-century French painting, and 20th-century studio portraiture.”

In Kettering, Rosewood Arts Centre hosts Displacement: Collective Practice to Recover Memory, a site-specific multi-media installation that explores how “massive global migrations have changed our psychological landscape and the ideas we have about place.” The collaboration is led by artist and refugee Juan-Sí González.

“What brought him to the United States as a Cuban? He was persecuted for his art,” says curator Paula Kraus. “He is a citizen here, but he’s still nervous and gets accosted. His daughter gets accosted. The installation is powerful—especially in these times.”

A short drive away, in Yellow Springs, there is another thoughtful and thought-provoking project. Antioch College teamed up with Japanese-American artist Migiwa Orimo, who combed through three historic archives of nuclear war to create Nuclear Fallout.

The show “asks its audiences to critically consider the way war is curated in our cultural telling—asking who creates the narrative, whose stories are missing, and who is no longer alive to tell it.”

Orimo uses an assortment of photographs, films and historic documents to give a voice to the voiceless.

“What words are not being used, what words are being used. What’s absent?” Orimo said. “It’s eye-opening.”


And these are just three of the nine FotoFocus shows in the Dayton Area. Below, our suggested itinerary to see it all:

Stop #1: Rosewood Arts Centre
2655 Olson Dr., Kettering, Ohio 45420
Displacement: Collective Practice to Recover Memory in the Rosewood Gallery
Oct. 15, 2018-Nov. 16, 2018
Opening Reception: 6-8 p.m. Oct. 18
Hours: Mon–Thurs 9 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri 9 a.m.–6 p.m., Sat 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun Noon–5 p.m.

Stop #2: Dayton Art Institute
456 Belmonte Park N, Dayton, Ohio 45405
Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs and companion show tête-à-tête
Oct. 20, 2018–Jan. 13, 2019
Hours: Wed–Sat 11 a.m.–5 p.m. with extended hours on Thurs until 8 p.m., Sun Noon–5 p.m.

Stop #3: Dayton Visual Arts Center
118 N. Jefferson St, Dayton, Ohio 45402
Joel Whitaker: When Things Go Missing
Sept. 7, 2018–Nov. 3, 2018
Opening Reception: 6-8 p.m. Sept. 7
Hours: Tue–Sat 11 a.m.–6 p.m.

Stop #4: Stivers School for the Arts
1313 E. 5th St., Dayton, Ohio 45402
Louis Joyner: 40+, Images of Memphis in the Fifth Street Gallery
Oct. 1, 2018–Nov. 2, 2018
Closing Reception & Artist Talk: 5-8 p.m. Oct. 19
Hours: Mon–Fri 8 a.m.–3 p.m., Sat by appointment

Stop #5: Wright State University Robert & Elaine Stein Gallery
3640 Colonel Glenn Hwy., Dayton, Ohio 45435
There are three shows here:
The Collection
Ron Geibert: Four Decades
The Celebrative Spirit: 1937–1943
Aug. 29, 2018–Oct. 21, 2018
Hours: Wed–Sun Noon–4 p.m.

Stop #6: Antioch College
1 Morgan Pl., Yellow Springs, Ohio 45387
Nuclear Fallout: The Bomb in Three Archives with Migiwa Orimo in the Herndon Gallery
Sept. 20, 2018–Dec. 7, 2018
Opening Reception & Gallery Talk: 7-9 p.m. Sept 20
Hours: Mon–Fri Noon–5 p.m., Sat 1–4 p.m.