At a time when photographs are primarily shared and saved digitally, many artists are returning to the physicality of snapshots in an album or pictures in an archive as a source of inspiration. Drawing its title, Don’t Forget to Call Your Mother, from a photograph by Italian provocateur Maurizio Cattelan, the exhibition consists of works in The Met collection from the 1970s to today that reflect upon the complicated feelings of nostalgia and sentimentality that these objects conjure, while underlining the power of the found object.
Among the featured artists is Sadie Barnette, for whom photographs provide a portal to illuminate the forgotten history of the first Black-owned gay bar in San Francisco and her own father’s life as her 2022 work Photo Bar powerfully illustrates. Like Barnette, many of the artists in the exhibition seek to fortify the legacy of family histories, to emphasize the importance of intergenerational relationships, and to consider the ways in which knowledge and respect for the past can inform our current moment.
Image: Detail from Sadie Barnette, Photo Bar, 2022 / courtesy of The Met Museum