Jason Lazarus · Don't close these doors unless you know what you're doing

The exhibition “Don’t close these doors…” surveys a selection of works from the past decade for what will be a Kansas City homecoming for Chicago-based conceptual artist Jason Lazarus.

The earliest image in “Don’t close these doors unless you know what you’re doing” embodies straightforward image making, with a title that emphasizes a subjective encounter to a moment that seems simultaneously mundane and historic. Lazarus’ artistic development is traced forward through 12 photographic works that increasingly look to abstraction and literary methods (via titles or text) to challenge the frame of an image as a starting point – rather than an endpoint – in generating meaning.

In an adjacent gallery, Lazarus has installed an iteration of his ongoing archive project “T.H.T.K.” (2010 to present), an expansive collection of photographs and photo-ephemera submitted by the public in response to the artist’s prompt: “Do you have images too hard to keep?” Here, Lazarus acts as artist-archivist-curator, installing these submitted images without context, essentially refuting beginning-middle-end narratives. The installation asks viewers to consider their own interpretations on how the images resonate alone and among rhizomic groupings, which offer only fragmented views into the stories that charge each of the submissions.

Lazarus, born in Kansas City, Mo., in 1975, has a master’s of fine arts from Columbia College in Chicago. His work has been exhibited internationally and is in major collections, including the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and the Milwaukee Museum of Art. He is a co-founder and co-editor of “Chicago Artist Writers,” an online art criticism platform.