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What photos would you like to see on display at the Art Institute of Chicago?

Tucked away in the Art Institute’s archives are thousands of wonderful photos. 18,488 to be exact. Whoa! You can explore these 18,488 photos on the Art Institute’s online collection.

Are there any photos you’d like to see displayed at the Art Institute of Chicago?

How do you even begin to start tackling 18,488 photos? That’s 1,702 different photographers. What an expansive collection!

Let’s start with the ten photographers with the most photos in the Art Institute’s collection:

  1. John Gossage (600 photos)
    From the Art Institute collection: John Gossage
  2. Ishimoto Yasuhiro (304 photos)
    From the Art Institute collection: Yasuhiro, Ishimoto
  3. Aaron Siskind (246 photos)
    From the Art Institute collection: Aaron Siskind
  4. André Kertész (244 photos)
    From the Art Institute collection: André Kertész
  5. Irving Penn (219 photos)
    From the Art Institute collection: Irving Penn
  6. Kenneth Josephson (213 photos)
    From the Art Institute collection: Josephson, Kenneth
  7. Eugene W. Smith (206 photos)
    From the Art Institute collection: Eugene W. Smith
  8. Joel Sternfeld (206 photos)
    From the Art Institute collection: Joel Sternfeld
  9. Edward Weston (203 photos)
    From the Art Institute collection: Edward Weston
  10. Bob Thall (189 photos)
    From the Art Institute collection: Bob Thall

Is that still too many photos to look through? Let’s look at some of the photographers that have a smaller quantity of photos. Each results page on the Art Institute’s collection displays 10 photos at a time. Let’s look at photographers with exactly 20 photos, giving us two pages of photos per photographer.

Alvin Langdon Coburn English, born United States, 1882–1966
From the Art Institute collection: Alvin Langdon Coburn

Elliott Erwitt American, born 1928
From the Art Institute collection: Elliott Erwitt

John Gutmann American, born Germany, 1905–1998
From the Art Institute collection: John Gutmann

Terry Husebye American, born 1945
From the Art Institute collection: Terry Husebye

Sergio Larráin Chilean, born 1932
From the Art Institute collection: Sergio Larráin

Charles Pratt American, 1926–1976
From the Art Institute collection: Charles Pratt

Robert Riger American, 1924–1995
From the Art Institute collection: Robert Riger

Out of all these photos, the Art Institute’s collections site says that only 18 photos are currently on display (as of June 7, 2017).

From the Art Institute collection: Only 18 photos currently on display at the Art Institute of Chicago

That seems to be incorrect. Or maybe it’s true. But hey, there are over 18,000 to explore on their site. Start digging around!

  • I’d like to see Jeff Mermelstein’s “Book in Mouth, New York City” (I wrote a blog post 7 reasons why the Art Institute of Chicago should display “Book in Mouth”)
  • Parsnip1992 of Reddit would like to see Bruce Davidson’ “Untitled, 1965(My comment: That’s an image I’d like to see printed in a large mural size. The person on the rope is quite curious–a bit too small to see in the original print size of 8×10 (or perhaps that’s the point of the composition). For now, here’s a large version online via artblart.)
  • ejhickey of Reddit would like to see Numbers 1 & 18,488. (My comment: That would be very interesting to be able to sort the Art Institute’s collection by date acquired. Their ID numbers are based on the year acquired and the order within the year. So László Moholy-Nagy’s Berlin Radio Tower has an ID of 1979.84, so one could easily sort their collection by ID number, if they had that sort function on their site.)
  • Creedelback of Reddit suggests, “Why not make a video of all of them and project it on a wall? If a video is approximately 29 frames per second, and each photo is up for one frame, that would make a video a little under 11 minutes long.”
  • Tom Saaristo of Facebook suggests, “Matt Maldre’s ‘Bridge’ series. (My reply: Thanks Tom! I with that series was one of the 18,488 photos in the Art Institute’s photo collection.)
  • Your suggested artwork to be listed here.
  • Your suggested artwork to be listed here.
  • Your suggested artwork to be listed here.

If you find any photos from the Art Institute collection that you’d like to see on display, please tweet me or leave a comment on this post. Thank you!

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