Catherine Opie

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Describing herself once as "a kind of twisted social documentary photographer," Catherine Opie (born 1961) probes questions of how identity is perceived and shaped.  Opie first gained international renown in the 1990s for her intimate portraits of close friends in the Los Angeles lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and transvestite community, challenging perceptions of male and female identity. 

Opie then turned her lens to herself in a series of powerful self-portraits far removed from the self-flattery usually associated with self-reflection.  And she expanded her exploration of identity to include architecture and freeways, the distinctive visual elements that shape the individuality of various cities across the United States - gated homes and strip centers (Los Angeles), ice houses (Minneapolis), steel mills (Pittsburgh) - creating photographs of exquisite formal beauty in which a human presence is emphatically implied, though physically absent.

This exhibition presents selections from her recent series, In and Around Home, that raises questions of global identity through the microcosm of Opie's son and partner at home and of their neighbors in their multi-cultural Los Angeles neighborhood.

Her 2008 monograph, Catherine Opie: American Photographer, was published in conjunction with her Guggenheim Museum retrospective.

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