If you missed the much-ballyhooed Vivian Maier photography exhibition at the Mpls Photo Center, which closed March 1, don’t despair. Maier’s work now has a permanent home at the Photo Center in its very own gallery, opening March 14. The Photo Center will have its own collection of 55 prints and many new prints that have never before been exhibited.
The Maier show’s backstory is as intriguing as the photos, mostly black-and-white images of Chicago streets and neighborhoods taken during the 1950s to 1970s. Born in New York in 1926 to a French mother and absent Austrian father, Maier grew up in France, returned to the States at 25, and spent much of her life working as a nanny in Chicago, where she wandered the streets with a slow, boxy medium-format Rolleiflex camera at her waist. Self-taught, eccentric and elusive, she rented storage lockers for her possessions, which included more than 100,000 negatives and thousands of rolls of undeveloped film. Later in life, when Maier could no longer pay the rent on the lockers, their contents went up for auction, and a young real-estate agent looking for vintage photos bought a box. You can read more of Maier’s story when the Minneapolis gallery’s website goes live later this month.