FotoFest Exhibitions

Jason Lazarus

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“Do you remember who introduced you to the band Nirvana?”

Nirvana is an expanding archive of “found photographs” dated from the early to mid-1990’s, featuring snapshots submitted by the public. The participants responded to the above question with a photograph, and were then interviewed about the context of their discovery of the band, Nirvana. An excerpt from this interview was then handwritten by the artist directly below the image area, on the photographic print. The person referenced in the snapshot was ostensibly a culture maven for the participant – a friend, sibling, or relative responsible for passing along the “baton” of cultural knowledge. Amidst adolescence, such cultural wisdom – whether musical, literary, or carnal – provides new fodder for the constant re-shifting of identity. Furthermore, when collected together, these works paint a subtly moving portrait of roles, relationships, identities, and often masculinity within the United States today.


Since receiving his M.F.A. in photography (2003), Jason Lazarus has actively exhibited around the country and abroad while teaching photography part-time in Chicago at Columbia College and the School of the Art Institute. Selected exhibition highlights include Black Is, Black Ain’t at the Renaissance Society in Chicago (2008), Image Search at PPOW Gallery in New York (2008), On the Scene at the Art Institute of Chicago (2009). His work has also been shown in solo exhibitions at Andrew Rafacz Gallery in Chicago; the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago; Kaune, Sudendorf in Cologne, Germany;and D3 Projects in Los Angeles. Notable honors include an Illinois Arts Council “Fellowship Award”, 2009; the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award, “Emerging Artist”, 2008; and the “Emerging Artist” Artadia Grant in 2006. Lazarus’s work is in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Milwaukee Museum of Art, and the Bank of America LaSalle Photography collection among many others.