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Photography exhibit features Chicago’s urban landscape

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The College hosts an exhibit by photographer Michael Wolf in the Schoenherr Art Gallery at the Fine Arts Center through Oct. 2. His photographs of Chicago’s central downtown area focus on issues of voyeurism and the contemporary urban landscape in flux. The exhibit is free and open to the public and is made possible through a partnership between U.S. Equities and Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Photography. "The Transparent City" features 13 large-scale pieces also featured in a book of the same name. Wolf was born in Germany, raised in the United States and has lived and worked in Hong Kong for the past 10 years. He created "The Transparent City" images in 2007, when the Museum of Contemporary Photography, in collaboration with the U.S. Equities Reality artist-in-residence program, invited Wolf to create his first body of work to address an American city. While it has been common for photographers to glorify Chicago's distinctive architecture and environmental context, Wolf depicts the city more abstractly, focusing less on individual well-known structures and more on the contradictions and conflicts between architectural styles when visually flattened together in a photograph. His pictures look through the multiple layers of glass to reveal the social constructs of living and working in an urban environment, focusing specifically on voyeurism and the contemporary urban landscape in flux. Wolf explores the complex, sometimes blurred distinctions between private and public life in a city made transparent by his intense observation. Wolf has described the collection as "Edward Hopper meets ‘Blade Runner.'" "In fact, I was greatly influenced by Hopper, taking these photographs, even walking along the streets at night and looking into restaurants," he says. "It was almost a cliché. You'd see these Nighthawks-like scenes at 11 at night, two people sitting at a table discussing things or a waiter wiping a table, and so Hopper's paintings were in my mind while taking these."