David McMillan: Growth and Decay

In the wake of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident, a thirty-kilometer Exclusion Zone surrounding the irretrievably damaged power plant was created to curtail exposure to radiation. In addition to numerous rural communities that were buried for eternity, the “atom city” of Prypiat, built in 1970 to accommodate some 50,000 residents, including the plant’s workers and their families, was permanently evacuated.

By 1994, the Scottish-born Canadian photographer David McMillan began to explore the Zone in search of images evoking the essence of the tragedy. In fall 2018, McMillan made his twenty-second journey to the area to bear witness to the inexorable forces of nature reclaiming the abandoned community.

In tribute to McMillan’s singular achievement, the Oakland University Art Gallery presents the exhibition McMillan’s Chernobyl: An Intimation of the Way the World Would End (January 11–March 31, 2019). This is the first full-fledged retrospective of this major body of work. The exhibition coincides with the publication of McMillan’s monograph Growth and Decay: Prypiat and the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, which features some two hundred photographs, with an essay by Claude Baillargeon, the exhibition curator and a professor of art history at Oakland University.

To frame the exhibition and its accompanying publication, an array of public programming and events has been developed:

David McMillan, “Finding a Subject in a Disaster Zone”
January 11, 2019, 5:00 pm, Wilson Hall Room 124
Followed by book signing and opening in Oakland University
Art Gallery, 6:00–8:00 pm

“Chernobyl on Film: From Commemoration to ‘Containment’”
Eight-part film program featured throughout the run of the exhibition
Public screenings held in Wilson Hall Room 124

Claude Baillargeon, “McMillan’s Chernobyl: An Intimation of the Way the World Would End”
January 30, 2019, 12:00 pm
Oakland University Art Gallery

“Sacred Soil: Personal Stories of Loss, Perseverance, and Hope in Chernobyl’s Aftermath”
February 10, 2019, 2:00 pm
Oakland University Art Gallery

Alan Weisman, “Revisiting a Journey Through a Doomed Land”
March 14, 2019, 7:00 pm
Oakland Center, Founders Ballrooms

“Chernobyl Then and Now: A Global Perspective Symposium”
March 15, 2019
Morning session, Meadow Brook Hall Ballroom, 8:45 am
Afternoon session, Oakland Center, Founders Ballrooms, 2:00 pm

Oakland University Art Gallery, Department of Art and Art History,
College of Arts and Sciences, Wilson Hall Room 208
371 Wilson Boulevard, Rochester
For more information go to: http://www.ouartgallery.org/

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