Reviews, profiles and news about art in Chicago

Review: Least Wanted: A Century of American Mug Shots/Intuit

Photography, Prints, River North Add comments


If you think that mug shots are small, standardized administrative documents of abject moments in the lives of suspected perps, your prepossessions will be forever changed when you see them blown up to super-size in contemporary prints in which their subjects take on an expressive individuality worthy of the finest portrait photography. Sure, some of the anonymous petty miscreants who have been resurrected from graphic designer Mark Michaelson’s massive collection of outdated images are decidedly unsavory, but others are attractive and, taken together, they evince the entire gamut of human emotions from despair through defiance to an unexpected good humor. We tend to forget that although sitting for a mug shot is a strictly formalized disciplinary procedure, its impersonality gives subjects the freedom to respond according to their discretion or the impetus of their mood—this is hardcore humanism. (Michael Weinstein)

Through April 12 at Intuit, , 756 North Milwaukee, (312)243-9088.

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