Past Exhibitions

Jill Brody:
Hidden in Plain Sight

June 16 – July 26, 2015


Twenty years ago, photographer and native New Yorker Jill Brody began to visit Montana. Instead of finding only the expected stereotypical cowboy culture of the West, she saw diversity and difference. On Tuesday, June 16, at 7 pm the exhibition “Hidden in Plain Sight” will open at the North Dakota Museum of Art. Taken over the course of four years and winnowed down from hundreds, thirty-six beautiful large-scale photographs capture the daily life of Montana’s Liberty Country Hutterites—Brody’s “the other.” Women and children play in the snow, or tag along as helpers to the grownups. They take their meals in the communal hall, women on one side of room, men another. The youngsters attend German school through grade 8. Adults gather pumpkins, tend the green house, and work in the garden. They play field hockey. They stock their larders for winter. Days end in the chapel. The whole community works and plays and prays together. The photographs reveal a remarkable layered existence. According to Stephen Glueckert, curator at the Missoula Art Museum which organized the exhibition, “Brody is a genuine artist, true to herself and to her audience.”

Brody was given permission to show her work to the public but with the following request, Please, when you show people our pictures and you tell your friend about us, tell them that we are not all alike. We are Lehrerleut. We are different from the
Darius people and the Schmiedleut. They allow their women to drive, and their children can go to school after eighth grade. Their head shawl has different size polka dots. It may sound strange to you to care about such small things, but we do. And we worry when people come here and take pictures and think that they know all but us, because in our history people have hurt us and killed us—even in the twentieth century—right here in this country. So we try to be careful. You’re different, but we don’t want you to show certain things or talk about us without understanding that we’re not all alike, either.

                                        —Colony Elder