Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Well, This is Awkward.

Posted By on Wed, Jan 21, 2015 at 11:37 AM

click to enlarge Recognize local Ken Malcomson in this gem? Looking good, kid.
  • Recognize local Ken Malcomson in this gem? Looking good, kid.

Awkward Family Photos — the dated hair, forced smiles, uncomfortable poses and embarrassing fashion choices you've been enjoying online since 2009 — comes to the Morris Graves Museum of Art from Jan. 21 through March 1 ($5, $2 seniors and students, free to kids and members). You needn't wait for the big opening reception during Eureka's Arts Alive! on Feb. 7 — get in there before the crowds for a more intimate (too intimate?) experience.

Feel the blush rise as you peruse walls of matching outfits (and don't sniff — we saw your holiday card with the pajamas last year), vintage mullets, inappropriate skin and people who just love their pets a wee bit too much. The Morris Graves is only the third museum to host the photos in their appropriately tacky frames, so take it all in.

At some point, we've all been that child in the lumpy sweater, the gangly, cross-armed adolescent, the painfully uncool teen and the strained adult desperate for a perfect portrait. Is that perfection even out there? Possibly in IKEA catalogs and cereal ads. Maybe for that maddeningly cheery family that keeps sending you an annual newsletter. But the rest of us are going to have immortalized awkward moments because we're all in varying stages of figuring out who we are alone and together, out in the world and in the strange and familiar bubble of our families. In posed family portraits, we face the world, but with our vulnerabilities on our polyester sleeves.

Share in the catharsis by bringing in your own vintage photo to hang in the Knight Gallery with an accompanying backstory and you might win a prize. Either way, it's a chance to embrace the awkward and own it.

— Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

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