by CAROL ANNE SMOCK
Photographer Jeffrey Wolin has spent a lifetime capturing the tragedy, grit, and beauty of the human experience, and his photographs are displayed in museums and galleries worldwide. Now, the Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University has acquired Wolin’s archives—and they contain more than just his previously exhibited and published works.
“This is hundreds and hundreds of photographs, my correspondence with other artists, my negatives, and digital files,” Wolin, 68, says. “I’m lucky, because most artists, most photographers, don’t get their work housed in a museum. It’s just a thrill to know that when I’m gone my work will be around forever.”
Wolin is the Ruth N. Halls professor emeritus of photography at IU, where he founded the Center for Integrative Photographic Studies at the IU Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture and Design and taught for 35 years before retiring in 2015.
Wolin gravitates toward difficult subject matter—poverty, war, trauma—and his archive at the museum features significant projects, including Written in Memory: Portraits of the Holocaust, Inconvenient Stories: Vietnam War Veterans, and Pigeon Hill: Then and Now (featured in the April/May 2015 issue of Bloom), as well as autobiographical material.
When the Eskenazi reopened in November, Wolin’s most recent project, Faces of Homelessness, featuring portraits of homelessness, debuted as part of the “Recent Acquisitions” exhibition. “I think it’s really great that the acquisition of Jeff’s work is coinciding with the renovations of the museum and the expansion of our print and photograph center,” says David Brenneman, museum director. “We created a whole new space and whole new opportunity of learning for IU students and the Bloomington and southern Indiana community. I love the idea that Jeff’s work will be part of that and will be so much more accessible than it ever could have been in the past.”
The acquisition, which includes Wolin’s current and future works, was made possible in part by a donation from Martha and David Moore, members of the Eskenazi Museum of Art National Advisory Board.
For more information, visit artmuseum.indiana.edu.