THE McMULLEN MUSEUM OF ART AT BOSTON COLLEGE PRESENTS
Martin Parr: Time and Place
January 31–June 5, 2022
Most Comprehensive US Museum Survey of Influential Photographer to Date
CHESTNUT HILL, MA (December 2021) — The McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College will present a career-spanning exhibition of the work of acclaimed British documentary photographer Martin Parr. Covering nearly a half a century, this innovative survey will explore and examine series of works by the artist that are rarely displayed together.
Martin Parr: Time and Place is Parr’s first wide-ranging, and most comprehensive, museum exhibition in the United States, comprising more than 135 photographs and an extensive selection of photobooks. It will be on display from January 31 through June 5, 2022, in the McMullen’s Daley Family and Monan Galleries.
Works by Parr, born in 1952 in the United Kingdom, evince a global sensibility presented with the closely observed, precise detail of the local. His images underscore how global continuities diminish distinctions among local cultures, according to exhibition organizers.
“The McMullen is pleased to present nearly half a century of British documentary photographer Martin Parr’s remarkable oeuvre in this innovative exhibition,” said Inaugural Robert L. and Judith T. Winston Director Nancy Netzer, a BC professor of art history in the Department of Art, Art History, and Film.
“With the support of the Martin Parr Foundation and through the curatorial lenses of Karl Baden [BC associate professor of the practice of photography] and Boston College’s Irish Studies, Art, Art History, and English faculty, Time and Place situates Martin Parr as an unrivaled documentary and artistic photographer while examining the historical backgrounds in which various series were created. Martin Parr: Time and Place also continues the McMullen’s recent focus on photography both in its acquisitions and exhibitions,” she noted.
Parr also expressed his excitement for the exhibition: “I am very happy that my exhibition is coming to the McMullen Museum in early 2022. As this is my first one-person museum show in the USA, it has added significance for me personally,” he said.
Martin Parr: Time and Place
The exhibitionfeatures at its core a career-spanning selection of Parr’s Irish photographs, which depict the radical evolution of Ireland over the last four decades and the major themes of his work: social class and consumption, curiosity and humor, humanity and its predictable idiosyncrasies.
Photographs from a number of other series, such as Autoportraits, The Last Resort, Small World, and The Cost of Living—made in Europe, North America, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia—demonstrate how Parr developed a powerful vocabulary of visual and conceptual ideas informed by overlapping feelings of familiarity and alienation, and instincts that are anthropological as well as artistic.
Working in the lineage of documentary photographers Walker Evans, Bill Brandt, Robert Frank, and Lisette Model, Parr often seems to engage in cultural critique familiar from some of their work, one that is humorous, affectionate, ironic, or biting depending on the viewer’s perspective, exhibition organizers noted. Finding productive models in commercial and journalistic photography as well as fine art, Parr distinguishes himself from fellow ironists by introducing bright, saturated color to documentary practice. The early black-and-white work featured in Time and Place highlights the important role that color plays in Parr’s later photographs, while also emphasizing how his style and vision is more complex, and less defined by color than viewers might expect.
Exhibition Curator, Contributing Scholars, and Catalogue
“Martin Parr: Time and Place constitutes the most comprehensive museum survey of this influential and globally celebrated photographer in the United States to date,” according to curator Karl Baden, BC associate professor of the practice of photography.
“While photographs from Ireland made over a forty-year period form the core of this exhibition, it includes work from a total of five bodies of Martin Parr’s images made around the globe, as well as books detailing his many collections and his groundbreaking work with the history of the photobook,” he said.
Baden’s Boston College faculty collaborators from the Irish Studies program, Art, Art History, and Film, and English departments include: Ash Anderson, Jane Cassidy, Marjorie Howes, Lisa Kessler, Vera Kreilkamp, Kevin Lotery, Greer Muldowney, Joseph Nugent, Robert Savage, and James Smith.
A recent catalogue—Martin Parr: From the Pope to a Flat White, Ireland 1979–2019, published by Damiani with an introduction by journalist Fintan O’Toole—contains many of the Irish photographs in the exhibition.
The exhibition is organized by the McMullen Museum in conjunction with Tracy Marshall-Grant for Northern Narratives and the Martin Parr Foundation. The Martin Parr Studio has loaned all works in the exhibition and Martin Parr is represented by Magnum Photos. Major support has been provided by the Martin Parr Foundation, the Patrons of the McMullen Museum, and Mary Ann and Vincent Q. Giffuni.
Accompanying Free, Public Events and Online Resources
In-person and virtual public programming is planned for the general public and museum Members. For more information, and to sign up for those events that require advance registration, please visit the McMullen Museum Events Calendar. More events will be added leading up to this exhibition; visit the McMullen website and subscribe to the McMullen mailing list for programming updates.
- In-person docent tours begin February 13 (every Sunday, 2–3 p.m.)
- Virtual docent tours on March 25, April 8, April 29, May 20, June 3 (3–4 p.m.)
- “Martin Parr: Photobiography”: BC Lowell Humanities Series lecture (Sunday, May 1, 2 p.m.). Martin Parr will give a virtual lecture on his career in photography, followed by an audience Q&A. Co-sponsored by the McMullen Museum of Art and the Irish Studies program.
A forthcoming series of virtual events includes: Publication Highlights by BC scholars, Into the Collection presentations on rarely displayed works from the McMullen’s permanent collection, Members’ Crash Courses on art historical movements, Museum Current lectures with leading museum directors and thought leaders.
Additional Digital Resources
Visit McMullen From Home for recordings of all lectures as well as an archive of virtual walkthroughs, digital exhibition catalogues, podcasts, interactive spotlights, and more.
View and search the McMullen’s permanent collection database.
McMullen Museum of Art
The McMullen Museum aims to cultivate learning, celebrate artistic excellence, explore the visual traditions of diverse cultures, and inspire transdisciplinary faculty and student research based on the visual arts. The McMullen offers exhibition-related programs and resources for diverse audiences of all ages on campus, in the Greater Boston area, and beyond.
The Museum mounts exhibitions of international scholarly importance from all periods and cultures of the history of art. In keeping with the University’s central teaching mission, exhibitions are accompanied by academic catalogues and related public programs. The McMullen Museum of Art was named in 1996 for the late BC benefactor, trustee, and art collector John J. McMullen and his wife Jacqueline McMullen. In 2005, the McMullen Family Foundation provided a lead gift to renovate and build an addition to the Museum’s new venue at 2101 Commonwealth Avenue. Designed in 1927 in the Roman Renaissance Revival style by architects Maginnis and Walsh, it originally served as the home of Boston’s cardinal archbishops. The renovation was completed in spring 2016 and opened to the public on September 12, 2016.
McMullen Museum Hours and Tours
Admission is free; wheelchair accessible. The McMullen asks that visitors be vaccinated and wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Located at 2101 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02135, on BC’s 65-acre Brighton Campus. Hours during this exhibition: Monday–Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday–Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.; the Museum will be closed: April 15, 17, 18, and May 30, 2022. Contact: email@example.com, 617.552.8587. All events are free. For directions, parking, and program information, visit www.bc.edu/artmuseum.