Industry News

Summer 2024 US Photo Exhibits Road Trip

May 29, 2024

By Aimee Baldridge

© Cara Romero

Cara Romero's exhibit, "The Artist Speaks" runs at the San Diego Museum of Art until October 20. It explores historical and contemporary narratives of identity and heritage through vivid self portraiture that draws on her dual identity as a citizen of the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe and an urban Houstonian. It's just one on of the many vibrant photo exhibits you can add to your road trip itinerary this summer!

Ready for a summer road trip? Set these photo exhibits as your destinations. Stop to see some shows featuring work by artists today as well as classic photographs from bygone eras along the way. It’s photo festival season, too, so don’t forget to include the nearest event on your itinerary.


Road Trip: American Photographs, 1968–2005

There’s no better place to start your photo exhibits road trip than this Milwaukee show featuring work from 20 photographers who hit the highway to capture the beauty, banality, and complexities of American life across the nation. The exhibit runs from May 31 through August 4 at the Haggerty Museum of Art.

Pink Trailer Tilt, 1976, from the American Roads portfolio. Gift of Richard D. and Kandace A. Riebel. Collection of the Haggerty Museum of Art, Marquette University. © Ken Brown


Captured Earth

Head to Chicago to explore “place, ecology, and the material and mystical qualities of the land” through photographs and installations by 20 artists. This show offers an expansive view of how artists have captured the earth over time, ranging from Karl Blossfeldt’s 19th century botanical prints to Jeremy Bolen’s recent works produced from film developed in a polluted river. See it all at the Museum of Contemporary Photography through August 18.

Untitled, from the Weed series, 1999. © Byung-hun Min



While you’re in Chicago, take in a couple more photo exhibits. Stop in at the Art Institute to see some classic direct-to-paper photographic works in the János Megyik Photograms exhibit through July 8, and explore the international resonance of 20th century modernism with Foreign Exchange: Photography between Chicago, Japan, and Germany, 1920–1960, from May 24 through August 18.


Widening the Lens: Photography, Ecology, and the Contemporary Landscape

Photo exhibits are springing up all over Pennsylvania this summer. You can start in Pittsburgh to expand your view of ecology with this show at the Carnegie Museum of Art. Widening the Lens features almost 100 works by 19 artists exploring our relationship to the environment. The exhibit is up until January 12, 2025. If you’re driving there after June 26, you can listen to the show’s six-episode podcast hosted by tennis champion Venus Williams on your way.

Untitled (Dune buggy), All American Canal, CA, 2021. Courtesy of the artist and Yancey Richardson, New York. © Victoria Sambunaris


Fellowship 24

While you’re in Pittsburgh, stop by the Silver Eye Center for Photography to see new work by six up-and-coming photographers who have been recognized by the organization’s annual juried competition. Their documentary and narrative series explore devotion to personal, social, and political concerns, and pursue new ways of constructing meaning through visual language. The exhibit is up through August 3.

Coyote Willow, pigment print photograph, 2024. © Anna Rotty


Frank Stewart’s Nexus

Head east to Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, to see this retrospective of Frank Stewart’s work at the Brandywine Museum of Art. Over 100 of his images from the 1960s to the present capture Black life and culture around the world and in Stewart’s home base in New York City, where he captured performances by jazz icons as senior staff photographer for Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra for 30 years. The show runs from June 29 through September 22.

Stomping the Blues, 1997. Collection of Rob Gibson, Savannah. © Frank Stewart



Hit the road to Philadelphia to travel back to the 1970s with two photo exhibits at the Philadelphia Museum of Art: In the Right Place presents the work of three innovative portraitists of the era while Transformations: American Photographs from the 1970s reveals some of its broad social changes. Both shows are up through July 7.



If you’re not into cars, you can go to New York City and take a citywide tour of photo exhibits by train, ferry, bike, and your own two feet. Start at the Asia Society for this immersive photo and video exhibit that explores the causes and consequences of climate change, as well as some creative solutions. The show presents the work of more than 37 artists, and traveled through China, Europe and the western U.S. before landing in NYC. It will be there through August 11.

Zhenxiong, Yunnan Province, China, 2002. Courtesy of the artist. © Geng Yunsheng


LaToya Ruby Frazier: Monuments of Solidarity

Head to MoMA for a look at how industrialization and deindustrialization have changed the human landscape in the United States. Frazier has been documenting the lives and labor of Rust Belt workers throughout the 21st century, and for this exhibit she organized her imagery into a sequence of installations she calls “monuments for workers’ thoughts.” Explore them through September 7.

Marilyn Moore, UAW Local 1112, Women’s Committee and Retiree Executive Board, (Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co., Lear Seating Corp., 32 years in at GM Lordstown Complex, Assembly Plant, Van Plant, Metal Fab, Trim Shop), with her General Motors retirement gold ring on her index finger, Youngstown, OH, from The Last Cruze, 2019. © 2023 LaToya Ruby Frazier, courtesy of the artist and Gladstone gallery.


Classics and Festivals

For insight into everyday life during the 20th century, go to Fotografiska to see Vivian Maier: Unseen Work. The show presents 200 of the documentarian’s works in print, Super 8, and sound from May 31 through September. To get a view of the 20th century from a distinctly different vantage point, check out Paul McCartney Photographs 1963–64: Eyes of the Storm through August 18 at the Brooklyn Museum. That show presents over 250 of the musician’s shots taken around the world at the height of Beatlemania.

If you’re in the Big Apple between June 1 and 16, you can go on a truly citywide photo exhibits tour by setting the Photoville festivals 85 outdoor exhibits as your destinations in all five boroughs (yes, even Staten Island!). Check the festival’s website for exhibit locations and event listings.

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The Artist Speaks: Cara Romero

Start your photo exhibits California road trip at the southern end of the state with this exhibit at the San Diego Museum of Art. Romero explores historical and contemporary narratives of identity and heritage through vivid scenarios and self portraiture, drawing on her dual identity as a citizen of the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe and an urban Houstonian. The show runs through October 20.

Gikendaaso, 2022. © Cara Romero



To take in some of the earliest self-portraiture and historical scenes, stop off in Los Angeles to see the 19th century photographic explorations of Hippolyte Bayard: A Persistent Pioneer and Nineteenth-Century Photography Now. The latter show pairs older works with thematically similar images from 21 contemporary photographers. Both exhibits are up at the Getty through July 7.

Brian Taylor: The Art of Getting Lost

Continue your exploration of 19th century photochemistry in Carmel with this exhibit from contemporary alternative process maven Brian Taylor. The show presents images from 50 years of his surrealist explorations of all manner of photographic image-making, from gum bichromate and cyanotype to mixed media. The show runs from June 8 through July 28 at the Center for Photographic Art.

Somewhere, a Man’s Shoes Are Wet. © Brian Taylor


Christina Fernandez: Multiple Exposures

At the San Jose Museum of Art, immerse yourself in Christina Fernandez’s explorations of migration, labor, gender, and Mexican American identity. Photographic series and installations from the past 30 years of her highly conceptual work shift between the political and the personal, and between portraiture and landscapes. The show runs from June 7 through September.

Untitled Multiple Exposure #4 (Bravo), 1999. Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Luisotti, Los Angeles. © Christina Fernandez


Zanele Muholi: Eye Me

At the northern end of your California photo tour, explore the work of South African visual activist Zenele Muholi at the Museum of Photographic Arts at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The exhibit brings his photographic representations of the LGBTQ+ community in South Africa together with his painting and sculpture to explore gender identity, representation, and race. The show runs through August 11.

Thathu I, The Sails, Durban, 2019. Collection of Pamela and David Hornik. © Zanele Muholi



While you’re in San Francisco, spend some time with iconic portraitist Irving Penn. About 175 of his images of 20th century luminaries are on display at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco: de Young through July 21.


From Alpha to Creation: Religion in the Deep South

Twenty artists working in photography, film, and sculpture delve into religious life in the region spanning from North Carolina to eastern Texas in this exhibit. Their explorations of theology, iconography, religious practice, and ritual are on view at the North Carolina Museum of Art through August 18 in Raleigh.

Tent Revival #1, Naples, NC, 1992. © Ralph Burns


Truth Told Slant

“Tell all the truth but tell it slant,” wrote the poet Emily Dickinson. The slant in this exhibit is the personal perspective that photographers bring to documentary work. The five documentarians whose images are presented blend observation with narrative to explore contentious issues of our times, from race and identity to globalization and climate change. You can see the stories they tell through August 11 at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.

Cotillion, Boy with Bottle, 2022. Courtesy of the artist. © Jill Frank


Thank You Please Come Again

Kate Medley’s 10-year road trip through the southern states culminated in this exhibit and her new book, Thank You Please Come Again: How Gas Stations Feed & Fuel the American South. Her photographic journey focused on the roadside service stations and convenience stores that double as restaurants and community hubs throughout the region. You can see 22 of Medley’s images from the series through June 23 at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson, and pick up the book there to take the rest with you.

Gurjeet Singh at Punjabi Dhaba in Hammond, Louisiana, 2023. © Kate Medley



Swing by the New Orleans Museum of Art in Louisiana to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Surrealist Manifesto with the six 20th century photographers featured in Double Space: Women Photographers and Surrealism through August 4. Then head west to Fort Worth, Texas, and take in some rarely seen photographs from Hollywood’s golden age. Moving Pictures: Karl Struss and the Rise of Hollywood includes 100 images by the photographer and cinematographer, along with films and archival materials. That show runs through August 25 at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art.