*VARIOUS ARTISTS, “Beyond the Backyard,” photography. In an inspired foray into the museum’s massive collection, curator Karsten Lund has brought forth more than a hundred images by fifty modernist and contemporary photographers depicting backyards and other small verdant patches of every variety as sites where the human tragi-comedy unfolds. With an accent on social photography, the images range from middle-class banality and sentimentality, through kitsch, camp and decadence, to downright sleaze. Nothing tops Kohei Yoshiyuki’s series from 1971-73, for which he hid in the shadows of Tokyo parks in the dead of night snapping unsuspecting lovemakers and—when he was lucky—other voyeurs ogling them from behind bushes. Tricia Moreau Sweeney’s contemporary attempt to do the same thing in staged scenarios shot in broad daylight has its less-than-tender ecstatic moments, but they are no match for the real thing. Both Yoshiyuki and Sweeney have been consigned to the back recesses of the top floor. (Michael Weinstein)
Through August 23 at the Museum of Contemporary Photography, 600 S. Michigan. (312)663-5554.