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Adler and Adler, Works by Eli Greene

June 8 - August 31

South Side Community Art Center X Independent Curators International Present Adler and Adler, Works by Eli Greene

JUNE 8-AUGUST 31 | Opening June 8, 2024



The South Side Community Art Center, in partnership with ICI, presents “Adler & Adler,” a poignant response by Chicago-based artist Eli Greene to the Adler & Adler Studio Collection. This Black-owned photography studio archive was once a monument in the Black Bottom neighborhood of Detroit. Founded circa 1910 by Charles and Mamie L. Adler, the studio was one of Detroit’s earliest Black photographic businesses. Adler & Adler Studio was where people celebrated and immortalized the joys of everyday life: graduations, weddings, and the arrival of new family members. This site and Black photography studios across the country were beacons of empowerment, offering Black communities new agency in self-representation.

When the Adlers passed away in 1973, they left no heirs, and the studio, along with its collection of photographs, was left behind. Some of these photographs were later discovered and sold to The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, where they now reside as a testament to the studio’s enduring impact.

Alongside the Adler & Adler images are (10) contemporary photographs of the site, a drawing inspired by the studio backdrops in the original photos, and a sound/video work. The work is invested in themes of memory, trace, and ghosts.

Greene’s work reflects on the photography studio as a site of moments and memories enacted by those who ask for their picture to be made and those who make it. The interplay of these two research modalities provides us with new ways to think about how we engage with archives and memories and, ultimately, how to breathe new life into them.