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Exhibits Overview

The exhibitions program at the Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) presents images, documents, sound, and written experiences in four galleries, bringing to light telling details and resonant moments in everyday life that might otherwise go unnoticed. CDS exhibitions connect people to those moments, and to a larger story. Serving as a community forum for documentary work, the galleries make the documentary arts accessible to a general audience and present experiences that inform, heighten our historical and cultural awareness, create discourse, foster understanding, and confront traditional views of “others.”

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The Juanita Kreps Gallery, established in 1994 and located on the first floor of our renovated turn-of-the-century house, hosts three to four exhibitions annually. The changing exhibits reflect the work of documentary artists who have spent significant periods of time observing and recording diverse cultures in the United States and the world. Recent exhibitions have included Full Color Depression: First Kodachromes from America’s Heartland, color photographs taken by the Library of Congress’s Farm Security Administration (FSA) team; a video installation by filmmaker Laura Poitras, O’ Say Can You See, a stirring meditation on loss and revenge in the aftermath of 9/11; and Unsung Heroes, William Earle Williams’s powerful black-and-white photographs of places where black soldiers trained, fought, and lost their lives in the Civil War. The Juanita Kreps Gallery is committed to introducing new documentary work to audiences as well as supporting the work of established artists.

The Lyndhurst Gallery, established in 2001, is used both to expand the space of the Kreps Gallery and to present smaller exhibits in conversation with those in the Kreps. Exhibitions have included Reciprocity, an exhibition of Cedric Chatterly’s handmade large-format cameras; Disfarmer: Photographs from the Studio of Mike Disfarmer, Heber Springs, Arkansas 1939-1946; and Walker Evans at 100, digital translations of some of Evans’s best-known works in celebration of the 100th anniversary of his birth.

The Porch Gallery, established in 1998, is an intimate viewing space with natural light located on the first floor of CDS's Bridges Building. Originally used for work growing out of CDS programs, now a much wider range of work is presented there. Recent exhibitions include Sparkle & Twang: An American Musical Odyssey, with photographs by Marty Stuart, and work by winners of the 2011 Daylight/CDS Photo Awards.

The University Gallery—located on the ground floor of the Bridges Building, in close proximity to the CDS auditorium—was established in 2004 as a dedicated space for presenting the work of Documentary Studies students and faculty, and other documentarians associated with Duke University. Exhibitions presented in this gallery have included selected prints from There Is No Eye, photographs by John Cohen, the Lehman Brady Joint Chair Professor in Documentary Studies and American Studies at Duke and UNC–Chapel Hill in Spring 2004; Scenes of Secrecy: Visual Studies on Suspicion, Intelligence, and Security, including work by Trevor Paglen and William Noland; and Mr. Green’s Barbershop, a photo-essay by Jeremy M. Lange. 

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Public Programs and Outreach

CDS exhibitions are supplemented by a slate of visiting photographers, filmmakers, audio producers, and writers along with local constituents who have relevant ties to the themes or issues represented in a show. These guests are invited to share their work and stories with public audiences through presentations, screenings, lectures, readings, and panel discussions. All exhibitions and related programs are open to the public, and most events are free of charge.

CDS also engages in school and community arts-outreach efforts to bring public school classes, university students, community groups, and people from other educational institutions to the galleries. Exhibitions Program staff members work on a variety of interactive and exploratory projects to provide enriching experiences for participants, from young children to teens, from schoolteachers to senior citizens and families. Special programs and field trips for students from area schools can be arranged by contacting CDS exhibitions program staff at 919.660.3687. 

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Image above (detail): From Full Color Depression: First Kodachromes from America's Heartlandexhibited at the Center for Documentary Studies January 23–July 23, 2012.

CDS Gallery Fall Hours

Monday: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Tuesday: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Wednesday: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Thursday: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m
Friday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday: closed

On occasion, the galleries are closed for installation, maintenance, and university scheduling considerations. Visitors might wish to call 919.660.3663 before they make a special trip to see an exhibition, to ensure that the galleries are open. 
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