Between matter and memory
Expanding the Walls 2023

Daisy Lopez, Running Away, 2023. Expanding the Walls: Making Connections Between Photography, History, and Community 2023. Courtesy the artist

Aug 2, 2023Jul 15, 2024


The photography exhibition Between matter and memory: Expanding the Walls 2023 features work by the fifteen artists in the 2023 cohort of the Museum’s signature teen program, Expanding the Walls: Making Connections Between Photography, History, and Community. This year’s online edition of the exhibition marks the program’s twenty-third anniversary.

Between matter and memory considers how photographs can be used to process the gap between physical experiences and intangible recollections of the world.

The exhibition is on view at

Founded in 2001, Expanding the Walls supports the photographic practices of high school students based in New York City through workshops, gallery visits, and discussions led by contemporary artists. For over twenty years, the archive of Harlem photographer James Van Der Zee (1886–1983) has been central to the program as formal inspiration. Over the course of the eight-month program, the young artists also engage with the work of photographers such as Dawoud Bey, Latoya Ruby Frazier, Texas Isaiah, Carrie Mae Weems, and Ming Smith. These artists, alongside Van Der Zee, provide a rich intergenerational dialogue in which the teenagers can situate their work and practices.  

For more than two decades, Expanding the Walls has encouraged participants to explore and define their artistic practices while building community through workshops, gallery visits, intensive darkroom training, and discussions led by contemporary artists. The program continues to be a source and site for critical and creative skill-building through photography and the creative process.

Between matter and memory: Expanding the Walls 2023 is organized by Amber Edmond and Sheldon Gooch, the Studio Museum in Harlem and MoMA Curatorial Fellows; with Ally Caple, Expanding the Walls Coordinator, and the 2023 Expanding the Walls participants. 

Expanding the Walls and youth programs are made possible with support from The Keith Haring Foundation Education Fund; Joy of Giving Something; Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation; Conscious Kids; Hearst Endowment Fund; and by the Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence Trust.

The Studio Museum in Harlem’s Learning and Engagement programs are supported by the Thompson Foundation Education Fund; William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust; Con Edison; Harlem Community Development Corporation; May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation; and Joseph and Joan Cullman Foundation for the Arts. Additional support provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and New York State Council on the Arts.

The Studio Museum in Harlem is deeply grateful for Donna Van Der Zee’s continued support of Expanding the Walls.