The North Carolina Museum of Art

Outsiders: Facing the Camera

Nan Goldin, Vivienne in the Green Dress, NYC, 1980, Cibachrome, 38 ¾ x 26 in., North Carolina Museum of Art, Gift of Dr. Carlos Garcia-Velez, © 1980 Nan Goldin

Julian T. Baker Jr. Gallery
July 21, 2013–January 26, 2014

“In every generation there are a few souls, call them lucky or cursed, who are simply born not belonging, who come into the world semidetached … [Yet] in the waking dreams our societies permit, in our myths, our arts, our songs, we celebrate the nonbelongers, the different ones, the outlaws, the freaks.”—Salman Rushdie

The exhibition Outsiders: Facing the Camera brings together works from the North Carolina Museum of Art’s permanent collection that examine the forms of “otherness.” Perhaps through an expression, a posture, or a feeling, these photographs document subjects who are, in some way, detached.

When facing the camera, subjects confront their “otherness”—what makes them interesting and unknowable. Some wear their strangeness easily; others challenge the world with theirs. Some are comfortable in their estrangement; others exude pain, discomfort, or melancholy.

The works also raise the question of the photographer’s role in creating an outsider. The camera documents, but it also reinforces, explains, empathizes, and legitimizes. Subjects are captured because they are difficult to understand, but the photograph then allows an intimate moment with the subject, a time to begin to understand.

Organized by the North Carolina Museum of Art. This exhibition is made possible, in part, by the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources; the North Carolina Museum of Art Foundation, Inc.; and the William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment for Educational Exhibitions.