TILT Institute for the Contemporary Image
Past Exhibitions

If We Never Get Better

September 8 – December 10, 2022
Main Gallery

  • An image of the exhibition at TIILT Institute. The artist statement is on the wall with a white podium and binder beneath it.
  • An image of the exhibition installed at TILT Institute
  • An image of the exhibition installed at TILT Institute
  • Two people are positioned in the photograph, one individual in the foreground and the other in the background. Only the hands and arms of the person in the background are visible, their right and left thumbs pressed into the other subject’s corresponding eye sockets between a bridge piercing. The person in the foreground has short, spiky hair. Their face is relaxed, mouth slightly open, exposing a small section of their teeth. They are wearing a cream short sleeve shirt with embroidered flowers. Two necklaces dangle from their next, one with a name in cursive and the other with a small stone attached to it. Both individuals have a tan complexion.
  • Black and white image of a shirtless masculine person who presents as South Asian, wearing dark colored track pants with a white strip along the side. Their body is slightly contorted, arms cradled above their head as it is tilted backwards positioned towards the sun light. Behind the subject is a lush, dense background of various foliage.
  • Two pillows partially covered with tan pillow cases sit atop wrinkled, sweat-soaked tan sheets. A light yellow wall completes the background. The bed appears to have been slept in, The soft light projected in the image gives the room a warm glow.
  • A photo collage consisting of green and gray plastic pipes woven together with brown,withering brush, forming a border for the entire composition. In the center are images depicting various forms of medical care meshed together. One photo shows a person administering a shot, pinching the patient’s skin as they inject the needle into their flesh. The second photo is an image of a person in green scrubs receiving an IV in their hand.
  • A woman sits in a wheelchair on a sidewalk with her back to the camera. Her long wavy hair capped at its ends by blue highlights, contrasts with the pink fabric slightly showing underneath her mesh top. A pair of sunglasses rests on the top of her head. The front of her body is facing the door of a white building adorned with green awnings. A red sign with the letters “LACA” capitalized sits just above the entryway. Flanking the entrance is another door to the left and a window to the right. All entry points are covered with bars.
  • Amber, gray, orange, and light pink blobs create a film that obscures an x-ray resting on top of a medical document. Below the x-ray is an image of a human skull.
  • Front page of The Sunday Star newspaper. The headline “Why COVID clusters on the edge of town” followed by a subtitle connecting neighborhoods with existing public health crises to those disproportionately impacted by COVID is situated above a photograph of a Black woman sitting in front of a vacant lot overgrown by trees and bushes. Behind her are two large apartment buildings. Hand written reflections about the topic cover the page.
  • Light blue, bubbling water obscures the body (torso up) of a white person lying on their back with their arm bent over their chest. Their face is obscured by the rushing water. They appear to be falling backward.

TILT Institute for the Contemporary image, in collaboration with The Photographer’s Green Book, presents a new group exhibition titled, If We Never Get Better. Curated by Sydney Ellison, Editor-in-Chief of The Photographer’s Green Book, the artwork invites the viewer to consider: What if we never get better? What if illness, pain, isolation, loss, etc. are not the worst case scenario? What if these circumstances aren’t pitied, ignored, or wished away, but instead are seen as a place for the study and cultivation of new skills that allow us to relate to others in a different way?

Featuring the work of Anique Jordan, Ari Golub, Clifford Prince King, Debmalya Ray Choudhuri, Frances Bukovsky, Jaklin Romine, Jenica Heintzelman, Shala Miller, and Shanna Merola, the exhibition examines these questions by bringing together lens-based artists who focus on health/care, collective grief, disability, illness, and healing as components of their practices. Examining health and disability as intersectional experiences, and the ways in which ableism and access to healthcare are directly intertwined with systems such as racism, sexism, and homophobia, these artists help to expand the preconceived notions of these topics. Highlighting principles of Disability Justice, a framework coined by a collective of Black, brown, queer, and trans activists, including Patty Berne, Mia Mingus, and Stacey Milbern, the works come together to facilitate a more nuanced understanding of how we are all impacted by these systems at different levels and how art can be used to challenge that reality.

If We Never Get Better corresponds with the production of The Photographer’s  Green Book Vol. 2. The second iteration of this publication brings together images, interviews, and essays by a variety of contemporary artists and scholars whose work and lives are aligned with these topics to create a resource that exists as a teaching tool, a point for individual reflection, and an archive. 


Exhibitions Calendar