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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 include Hard Art, DC 1979: Photographs by Lucian Perkins, pictures from the punk scene in Washington, D.C., on the eve of Reagan’s presidency; My White Friends, Myra Greene’s collaborative “racial identity portraits” of “whiteness”; Legendary: Inside the House Ballroom Scene, photographs by Gerard H. Gaskin, winner of the 2012 CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in PhotographyCampaign for Braddock Hospital: Photographs by LaToya Ruby Frazier, which addresses the struggle for economic opportunity and access to health care by marginalized residents in Frazier’s hometown; and O’ Say Can You See, an installation by filmmaker Laura Poitras. 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 One Place: Paul Kwilecki and Four Decades of Photographs from Decatur County, Georgia; Keep All You Wish: The Photographs of Hugh Mangum, early twentieth century portraits of both African American and white communities in Durham, North Carolina; and The Restraints: Open and Hidden: Photographs by Gordon Parks, an exhibition of a color photo essay by the same name that Life ran in 1956, as part of a celebration of the 100th anniversary of Parks’s 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 An Everyday Affair: Selling the Kodak Image to America, 1888–1989, curated by Lisa McCarty; Tiksi: Photographs by Evgenia Arbugaeva, in partnership with the Magnum Foundation Emergency Fund and Duke’s Center for International Studies; and Beyond the Front Porch, a showcase of work by students graduating with the Certificate in Documentary Studies.

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 include Here, Anywhere: Photographs by Tamas Dezso; Scenes of Secrecy: Visual Studies on Suspicion, Intelligence, and Security, including work by Trevor Paglen and William Noland; and selected prints from There Is No Eye, photographs by John Cohen.
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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. Click here to check our Winter hours and close days.
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