December 09, 2017

Bringing together more than 80 pictures taken by photographers from the 19th century to today, (un)expected families at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), explores the definition of the American family—from the families we’re born into to the ones we’ve chosen. The photographs in the exhibition, on view from December 9, 2017 through June 17, 2018, depict a wide range of relationships—multiple generations, romantic unions and alternative family structures—whether connected by DNA, shared life experiences, common interests or even a social media network. Encompassing both carefully staged portraits and serendipitous snapshots, the selection of vernacular, documentary and fine art photographs in (un)expected families illustrates that the concept of family has long taken many forms—a subject that has fascinated photographers since the invention of the camera—and challenges visitors to consider what family means to them.

Image: Tina Barney, "Thanksgiving," 1992, chromogenic color print, 48 x 60 inches, 121.9 x 152.4 cm. © Tina Barney, Courtesy Paul Kasmin Gallery.