The Center for the Visual Arts (CVA) Gallery is proud to announce the launch of its spring exhibition, Between Experience & Reality. This innovative showcase not only presents an eclectic array of photography from both Brookdale students and esteemed 20th-century artists but also pioneers a groundbreaking initiative in accessibility and technology integration within the realm of art interpretation.

Scheduled to debut on Tuesday, March 26, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. and extending through April 24, Between Experience & Reality promises to captivate audiences with its dynamic blend of traditional and contemporary photographic works. From intimate portraits to sweeping landscapes, the exhibition offers a thought-provoking exploration of human experiences, and the ways photography intersects with reality.

At the heart of this exhibition lies a revolutionary approach to art accessibility: Alt-Text. Based on Bojana Coklyat and Shannon Finnegan’s “Alt-Text-as Poetry” model presented by the Diversity and Inclusion department as part of their Disabilty Justice series earlier this year, and spearheaded by a collaborative effort involving authors Oudai Al-Shuaibi, Sophie Jimenez, Gianella Rios, Anna Boiarchuk, Amy Faris, David Levy, and Barbara Russo, this initiative aims to enrich the viewing experience for individuals with low or no vision. By providing descriptive text for select photographs, the CVA Gallery ensures that art remains inclusive and accessible to all community members.

The exhibition combines famous artworks from Brookdale’s collection by artists like Walker Evans, Danny Lyon, Ansel Adams, Arthur Tess, and Bruce Davidson with pieces from current and recent Brookdale photography students. This comparison encourages discussions about how traditional and contemporary issues meet in photography.

Among the collection pieces is Bruce Davidson’s “East 100th Street, Spanish Harlem New York City, USA, 1966.” Davidson, an Illinois native, captured the essence of East Harlem with remarkable insight and sensitivity. His journey into the hidden worlds of East Harlem began in the early 1950s, spurred by a fleeting glimpse through a commuter train window. After receiving a grant from the US National Endowment for the Arts, Davidson photographed 100th Harlem Street. The piece in this exhibition demonstrates the intimacy and mutual respect between the photographer and the subject indicative of Davidson’s moral vision. His subjects are looking at the camera as he challenges the viewer to hold their gaze and consider their desperate circumstances. Davidson said, “I didn’t want to be the observed observer. I wanted to be with my subjects face to face.”

Another notable inclusion is Edward Weston’s “Dunes, Oceano, 1936.” Weston, a seminal figure in American photography, masterfully transforms ordinary subjects into extraordinary compositions. In “Dunes, Oceano,” Weston explores the contours and textures of shifting sands, blurring the lines between form and abstraction. His keen eye for detail and composition elevates the natural landscape into a realm of timeless beauty and intrigue.

Whether exploring the intricacies of Alt-Text or engaging with the timeless beauty of photographic art, Between Experience & Reality promises to inspire, provoke, and challenge perceptions.