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The End is Near at Polaroid Art Show

By Ali Trachta in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 5, 2008 4:00PM


The pay phone, the vinyl record, the VHS tape - all once cutting-edge technologies that have been upgraded and replaced. Such is the impending fate of Polaroid photography. To commemorate the demise of the snap and print pic, the Chicago Art Department plays host this month to a photography exhibit titled DEATH + EXTINCTION, which consists entirely of projects created in the Polaroid medium.

Six Chicago artists flew to New York City in June and joined up with six artists there to create their projects, each of which explores the theme of death/distinction through the Polaroid lens. These works, currently on display throughout August, take intriguingly different approaches to the idea of demise.

Some of the notable works include that of Andy “Sinboy” Luke, who takes the symbol of a rectangle with a line through it, which normally depicts a building or structure that will soon be knocked down, and applies it to unexpected environments. Anthony Vizzari gives old Polaroids a proper burial with epitaphs depicting the forgotten stories of “photographic orphans.” Most interesting is the work of the curators, KS Rives and Nicole Kenney, who have taken the idea of death and created a living work. These artists take Polaroid snapshots of everyday people stating what they wish to do before they die, then have their subjects write their desires in their own handwriting on the photo. Hundreds of these photos are on display at the exhibit, and can be eternally tracked at

The photo is courtesy of the aforementioned website, and we think that’s a pretty solid goal.

DEATH + EXTINCTION, Now through Sept. 1, Chicago Art Department, 1837 S. Halsted
Chicago Arts District “Second Friday” opening will be held Aug. 8, 6 p.m. - 10 p.m.