FotoFocus announces 2022 Biennial theme, first artists and curators

FotoFocus is announcing today the theme for its sixth edition of the FotoFocus Biennial“World Record.”

FotoFocus is a Cincinnati-based nonprofit arts organization that champions photography and lens-based art through exhibitions and public programming. The 2020 Biennial was truncated by the pandemic, and in April 2020, FotoFocus pledged $800,000 of its Biennial budget to financially support the Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, Dayton and Columbus, Ohio art communities.

The 2022 Biennial will activate museums, galleries, universities and public spaces throughout Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, Dayton and Columbus in October 2022, with a concentrated week of programming held Oct. 1-8, and preview events Sept. 30.

The theme ‘World Record’ considers film and photography’s extensive record of life on earth, while exploring humankind’s impact on the natural world and the choices – for ill or good – we now face as a global community.

Since its invention, photography has recorded plant varieties, animal species and behaviors, habitats, weather conditions, geologic upheavals, as well as the “other worlds” of moons, planets, stars and galaxies. This mass documentation has fed knowledge, creating a scientific record that has enriched our understanding of life. But it has also contributed to the exploitation of natural resources and their increasing scarcity, lending data to rampant industrial development that threatens the very resources it is based on.

World Record also refers to records, as in breaking records. World records have traditionally been thought of positively as records of quantifiable human achievement, but records have come to be associated increasingly with the extremes of the natural world, such as the hottest year on record, record numbers of animal extinctions, record levels of air pollution, record numbers of hurricanes per season, or rising sea levels, all a direct response to human impact on the planet.

FotoFocus invites venues in Greater Cincinnati and the surrounding region to apply to the 2022 Biennial, and welcomes proposals addressing the theme on a range of topics, including nature and science, exploration, space travel and outer space, climate change and its impact on societies, social lives of human beings within various environments (cultural as well as natural), forms of energy (past and present), the cultivation of natural resources (mineral and animal), and utopian and dystopian visions of man in nature.

Application deadline: Friday, September 17, 2021


The 2022 Biennial will feature new commissions by artists working internationally and in the Greater Cincinnati region, in addition to new exhibitions and film programming curated by the FotoFocus team and FotoFocus guest curators. The first announced commissions and exhibitions are listed below. Additional information and programming will be released over the coming year.


  • Kevin Moore, artistic director and curator
  • Carissa Barnard, deputy director of exhibitions and programming
  • C. Jacqueline Wood, film curator


  • Amara Antilla, senior curator, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH
  • Ylinka Barotto, associate curator, Moody Center for the Arts, Rice University, Houston, TX
  • Makeda Best, Richard L. Menschel Curator of Photography, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA
  • Matt Distel, exhibitions director, The Carnegie, Covington, KY
  • Ariel Goldberg, writer and independent curator, New York, NY
  • Tony Oursler, multimedia artist, New York, NY


Solo Exhibitions

  • An exhibition by New York-based artist Baseera Khan at the Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, co-curated by Amara Antilla of the Contemporary Arts Center and Ylinka Barotto of the Moody Center for the Arts, Rice University. Khan’s work sublimates colonial histories through performance and sculpture in order to map geographies of the future.
  • A show by New York-based artist Tony Oursler, co-curated by the artist and FotoFocus artistic director Kevin Moore. Oursler’s work, always rooted in the media of painting and film, hearkens back to the media’s past while looking forward to the fully networked, digitally assisted future of image and identity production.
  • A large-scale, public, site-specific artwork by Australian trans-disciplinary artist Ian Strange, curated by FotoFocus’s Kevin Moore. Strange explores architecture, space, and the home in his work.
  • A multi-site, experiential public video installation by artist Liz Roberts, curated by Carissa Barnard of FotoFocus. Roberts uses moving image and sound to recreate the cinematic experience of the open road – revealing a collective fear and false sense of security along the journey.

Group Exhibitions

  • “On the Line,” a group exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Center co-curated by Makeda Best of the Harvard Art Museums and Kevin Moore. Focusing on performance and climate, the exhibition comprises a diverse group of artists centered geographically in the Americas.
  • “Images on which to build,” a group show at the Contemporary Arts Center curated by writer and independent curator Ariel Goldberg, presents a range of photographic practices, from slideshows to archiving, to understand spaces for learning within LGBTQ and feminist grassroots activism of the 1970-1990s.
  • A special collaborative project curated by Matt Distel of The Carnegie. A Cincinnati native, Distel will develop an exhibition at The Carnegie focused on artists from the region, in collaboration with outside partners.

Leave a Reply