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Persistence of Vision at the ICA

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Based in Boston since the 1970s, Nicholas Nixon has captured the intimate details of family, relationships, and life as it unfolds in front of his camera. Using a large-format 8 x 10–inch camera and black-and-white film, he has photographed Boston’s changing landscape, porch life in the rural South, sick or dying people, and his own family. This exhibition surveys the artist’s prolific career and is organized around Nixon’s remarkable ongoing project The Brown Sisters, a series of group portraits of his wife Bebe and her three sisters, Heather, Mimi, and Laurie taken annually since 1975. The Brown Sisters will be presented in its entirety, and each portrait will be paired with other photographs made by Nixon in the same year, drawn from various bodies of work, including schools in and around Boston, people with AIDS, couples, and landscapes. Together these pictures underscore photography’s singular ability to capture the passage of time in incremental moments and are a testament to Nixon’s extraordinary persistence of vision.


Nicholas Nixon was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1947. He lives and works in Brookline and teaches photography at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston.


Nicholas Nixon: Persistence of Vision is o exhibit at the Institute of Contemporary Art through April 22, 2018.

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