After the chaos of 2020 – an extraordinary year that brought a deadly pandemic, political turmoil, and racial reckoning – Bryce Wolkowitz presents The Future We Choose: a survey of the most significant events in present day American history. Through the eyes of Stephen Wilkes, Cortis & Sonderegger, Paula Scher, José Parlá, Oliver Jeffers, Bruce Davidson, Berenice Abbott, William Klein, and Stephen Somerstein. The Future We Choose passionately confronts the fragile state of our democracy while saluting our innate resilience.


In his Day to Night series, Stephen Wilkes compiles thousands of moments throughout the course of a day from a fixed position into a time-bending, composite image. Twelve years after first photographing The Presidential Inauguration of Barack Obama, Wilkes was invited back to photograph a second historic moment: The Inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. 

Exactly Fifty-seven years to the day after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial, another event, captured in Wilkes' Commitment March, Day to Night™, drew thousands of people to Washington, D.C., to protest police brutality and racial injustice. Viewed across the large video screens are the characters of the event, including Vice President Kamala Harris, Reverend Al Sharpton, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s son and granddaughter, and the family of George Floyd.


Conceptual photographer duo Cortis & Sonderegger create dioramas of iconic photos, often histories most classic images. By revealing what exists just beyond the edges of their sets, the precarious connection between photography and truth emerges. Herein lies what their photographic predecessors kept under wraps. In the case of "Making of Büro by Thomas Demand, 1995", Cortis & Sonderegger depict how Demand recreated a press photo after citizens of the nearly defunct German Democratic Republic stormed the headquarters of the Stasi, the State Security services in Berlin, in 1990.


Paula Scher, whose intricate typographic maps of the United States and Washington, D.C. allude to distortion in the presentation of data across the web and in the media. Scher obsessively creates a hierarchy within each geographic framework. The volume of information is daunting, yet the fluent spatial arrangements create political and societal connections. Washington, D.C. appears cold and impenetrable, much like the barriers erected by the previous administration during the Inauguration of Joe Biden.


Modern-day history painter José Parlá's palimpsest work is portrayed in the exhibition in Modelo, a model for the mural conceived and executed for the University of Texas at Austin entitled Amistad America. The mural offers a nuanced lexicon in its representation of Austin, its urban core, and the larger ecology. It is aptly named in honor of La Amistad, a 19th-century Spanish trading ship that plied the Caribbean. In 1839, its African slave cargo famously mutinied, eventually re-establishing their liberty. Parlá chose the word both to commemorate this turbulent history and to celebrate its conciliatory and optimistic resonance: in Spanish, "Amistad América" means "Friendship America."


Irony has consistently been at play in Oliver Jeffers' whimsical works. He distorts symbols of American liberty, reclaiming their narratives to reveal the cracks in our Democracy. In New Liberty, Lady Liberty holds not a torch but a small match flame. Beneath her reads her mantra, "give me your huddled masses…hurry fast". Incongruously, Land of Plenty, an otherwise barren tree sprouts not leaves, but guns.

Finally, a compendium of vintage black and white photographic works from Bruce Davidson, Berenice Abbott, William Klein, and Stephen Somerstein, speak to the profound aspects of the human experience during critical moments in American history…a time of social change and civil unrest. Collectively, their works are a lens reflecting the past informing the present.