Join ICP for a virtual book program celebrating the release of American-Armenian photographer Diana Markosian’s first monograph, Diana Markosian: Santa Barbara (Aperture Books). Blending imagined and actual histories to form a visual storytelling style completely her own, Markosian explores the impact of her family’s final days in post-Soviet Russia before her mother became a mail-order bride, in pursuit of the American-utopia depicted in the 1980s soap opera Santa Barbara. For the project, Markosian collaborated with the screenwriter for the original show to create a script based on her family’s story and filmed staged reenactments in both her original homes in Russia and in Santa Barbara. Through the staged scenes, stills from the original show, and family pictures, Markosian explores the American dream and her own family history in this immersive documentary-based project. Erin O’Toole, the Baker Street Foundation associate curator of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA) will join Markosian in conversation on the making of the book and correlating short film.
About the Book
Diana Markosian’s Santa Barbara recreates the story of her family’s journey from post-Soviet Russia to the US in the 1990s.
The project pulls together staged scenes, film stills, and family pictures in an innovative and compelling hybrid of personal and documentary storytelling. In it, the artist grapples with the reality that her mother, seeking a better life for herself and her two young children, came to America as a mail-order bride. Markosian’s mother chose her future husband because he lived in Santa Barbara, a city made famous in Russia when the 1980s soap opera of that name became the first American television show broadcast there.
Weaving together reenactments by actors, archival images, stills from the original Santa Barbara TV show, Markosian reconsiders her family’s story from her mother’s perspective, relating to her for the first time as a woman, and coming to terms with the profound sacrifices she made to become an American.
How to Join the Virtual Program
This program will take place on Zoom. Those who register to attend will receive an email with a link to join the lecture through a computer or mobile device upon registration. We recommend you add firstname.lastname@example.org to your email contacts to ensure delivery of the Zoom link.
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Erin O’Toole is the Baker Street Foundation associate curator of photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), where she has worked since 2007. Recent exhibitions she has organized include Thought Pieces: 1970s Photographs of Lew Thomas, Donna-Lee Phillips and Hal Fischer (2020); April Dawn Alison (2019); New Work: Erin Shirreff (2019); and Anthony Hernandez (2016).
Diana Markosian (born in Moscow, 1989) holds an MS from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Her photographs have been published in National Geographic, the New Yorker, and the New York Times. Her most recent awards include a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship (2019) and a World Press Photo award (2019). Her work is represented by Galerie Les ﬁlles du calvaire, Paris.