Best known for his photographs documenting the civil rights era, I am You highlights a series of portraits of artists in their studios, including Helen Frankenthaler, Alexander Calder, and Alberto Giacometti. I am You also focuses on Parks’s fashion photography made in New York during the 1950s and 1960s. Situating models wearing haute couture clothing within the vibrant city, “readers could imagine themselves in the clothing, either waiting for a bus on Fifth Avenue or experiencing a flat tire on the way to a ball,” says photo historian Deborah Willis, who is a Gordon Parks Foundation board member.
The name Gordon Parks is often associated with the civil rights movement, which took off not long after Parks had begun his decades of documenting poverty, segregation, and (often racial) injustice—all issues that are, unfortunately, still all too timely, as Kendrick Lamar made clear this summer when he recreated quite a few of Parks's images in his music video for "Element." At the same time, however, Parks—who also wrote 15 books and directed eight films over the course of his lifetime—consistently dabbled in entirely other subject matters, thanks largely to his work for magazines. (He famously became Life's first-ever on-staff black photographer and writer in 1948, and also freelanced for titles like Vogue.) His portraits of names like Barbra Streisand and Ingrid Bergman were of course widely seen at the time, but it's only now that many of his younger fans are discovering the much more fashion-focused side of his work.
Though separated by the decades, the parallels between renowned photographer and social rights activist Gordon Parks and Kendrick Lamar are undeniable.
When Kendrick Lamar released the cinematic music video for ELEMENT. in June (taken from what we’ve crowned the album of the year, DAMN.) it was soon recognised as a visual homage to the seminal work of photojournalist and social activist, Gordon Parks.
This exhibition features works by the legendary American photographer Gordon Parks, alongside works of artists who have drawn great inspiration from his iconic work, including a new video released by recording artist Kendrick Lamar, portraiture by visual activist Zanele Muholi, and a collaborative project with Ralph Ellison—a series of films are screened continuously in the gallery.
Gordon Parks-Legacy: On view through Dec. 9, the multimedia exhibition explores the relationships between the works of the acclaimed photographer, journalist and musician, and works by artists he inspired. [10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Jenkins Johnson Gallery, 464 Sutter St., S.F.]
1948 was a watershed year in the career of American photographer Gordon Parks. An established fashion photographer who had been working on assignment for LIFE magazine, Parks was also an accomplished author, publishing his second book, Camera Portraits, a collection of his work accompanied by professional observations about posing, lighting, and printing. At the same, time, Parks longed for something deeper and more essential to his soul.
What direction might a magazine photo essay have gone if it hadn't been complicated, possibly compromised, by editorial agendas, attitudes toward race and class, or commercial imperatives? Those are some of the intriguing questions behind "The Making of an Argument" at BAMPFA. The compact yet potent exhibition dissects the process of creating "Harlem Gang Leader," a photojournalist project by Gordon Parks, who, after gigs at Vogue and Glamour, became the only African American staff photographer at Life magazine, where the piece was published in 1948. The show, which whets the appetite for a comprehensive retrospective of Parks' work, is interesting from both a sociological and nuts & bolts journalistic perspective, though you may be left wondering exactly whose argument this was, and who was advancing it.
A new exhibition, “Gordon Parks — I Am You. Selected Works, 1942-1978,” currently on view at Foam in Amsterdam through Sept. 6, explores how Mr. Parks not only made television and Hollywood films, but also employed cinematic techniques when taking and sequencing photographs.
As many Web sites, blogs, and Twitter users have pointed out, [Kendrick] Lamar’s video—directed by him, his manager and childhood friend Dave Free, and the German photographer Jonas Lindstroem—draws directly from the work of the photojournalist Gordon Parks.
Kendrick Lamar’s new “ELEMENT.” video is striking, but it’s also much more than that. Beyond its stunning imagery, the video doubles as an homage to the legendary photographer Gordon Parks. In 3 minutes and 33 seconds, co-directors Jonas Lindstroem and the Little Homies (comprised of Kendrick Lamar and Dave Free) referenced some of Parks’ most remarkable work, all while making a statement of their own.
In the Feature section, Jenkins Johnson (San Francisco) turns the spotlight to photographer Gordon Parks, who chronicled the years of racial segregation and the struggle for Civil Rights. Poignant testimonies of disadvantaged families in Harlem in the 1940s and of ordinary racism in the 1960s. Karen Jenkins-Johnson is the first black gallery owner to join Art Basel. "I am still considered a second-class citizen, and at the fair, people tend to address my white team rather than me,” she sighs, “But we are beginning to reap the rewards of the fight started by our parents. There is still a long way to go, but there is also hope."
Jenkins Johnson Gallery of San Francisco, exhibiting at the Swiss edition of [Art Basel] for the first time, will show a selection of images by the African-American photographer Gordon Parks in the Survey sector.
In the wake of the controversy surrounding the display of Dana Schutz’s Open Casket (2016) at the Whitney, which came to focus on (among other things) the ethics of transforming documentary photography into art, New York’s Jenkins Johnson Gallery presents Gordon Parks’ photographs, including his celebrated images of the civil rights struggle.
With the exhibition Gordon Parks - I Am You. Selected Works 1942-1978, Foam presents 120 works from the collection of The Gordon Parks Foundation, including vintage prints, contact sheets, magazines, and film excerpts.
“Humanity Today,” the Jenkins Johnson Gallery’s latest exhibition, wants people to talk and think and question the world in 2017. The exhibition title itself, open for interpretation, posits the question: What do you, the viewer, believe is the state of humanity today?
How do artists stand up for what they believe in? With the rise of right-wing politics in the U.S. and Europe, people across all seven continents have felt a renewed urgency to fight for civil liberties. Though the pundits and politicians may have changed since the 1960s, many of the same issues are at stake.
With so many things to do in San Francisco, it's easy to miss the many fantastic art exhibits and shows that pass through smaller galleries, as opposed to big museum shows. While it's nearly impossible for even the most ardent art lover to see it all, TimeOut has once again curated a collection of must see exhibits currently (or soon to be) gracing the walls of San Francisco's finest art spaces.
The National Gallery of Art (NGA) in Washington, DC, has added 173 photographs by the American photographer Gordon Parks to its collection as part of an acquisition of 304 works from the now closed Corcoran Gallery of Art. Many of the works will be shown at the National Gallery as part of the exhibition Gordon Parks: The New Tide, 1940-50 (11 November 2018-18 February 2019), which surveys his early work.
Parks (1912-2006) was the kind of photographer whose work ranged widely. He chronicled crime in American cities like Chicago, where he visited a morgue to document the aftermath of murder. He photographed the March on Washington in 1963, for which 250,000 people came out to hear Martin Luther King Jr give his “I Have a Dream” speech. He did high fashion shoots for Life and Vogue magazines on the streets of New York, reported on segregation in the American South and visited Alexander Calder in his Connecticut studio. He even followed Muhammad Ali to Miami in 1970 to profile the fighter just before his first match in more than three years following his suspension for refusing to go to Vietnam.
The fourth edition of the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair in London opened Wednesday morning at Somerset House, the neoclassical palace overlooking the River Thames. This year, 1:54 is showcasing 40 galleries from 18 countries, representing a diverse spread of the vast African continent and its diaspora in the Victorian east and west wings of the Tudor mansion.
A camera does not just shoot images. It is a powerful instrument against oppression, racism, violence and inequality.Gordon Parks has described the camera as his choice of weapon, and his life has used the medium of photography intelligently and enlighteningly to show the shadows of the American way of life and to mediate between the groups of a fragmented society. As an important chronicler of the struggle for equality of African Americans he treated issues such as poverty, exclusion and injustice that have lost none of its urgency.
London’s biggest festival of contemporary African culture has returned with a bang for its fourth edition; taking place at Somerset House, one of London’s most iconic venues, 1:54 has established a reputation as a place of discover and the key place to acquire contemporary African art in Europe. This year, What’s On Africa contributor, Luar Klinghofer was at the fair, to bring you highlights from the first few days.
On September 24, 1956, against the backdrop of the Montgomery bus boycott, Life magazine published a photo essay titled “The Restraints: Open and Hidden.” Staff photographer Gordon Parks had traveled to Mobile and Shady Grove, Alabama, to document the lives of the related Thornton, Causey, and Tanner families in the “Jim Crow” South. As the Civil Rights Movement began to gain momentum, Parks chose to focus on the activities of everyday life in these African- American families – Sunday shopping, children playing, doing laundry – over-dramatic demonstrations. Guest curated by Columbus Staten University students, Gordon Parks – Segregation Story features 12 photographs from “The Restraints,” now in the collection of the Do Good Fund, a Columbus-based nonprofit that lends its collection of contemporary Southern photography to a variety of museums, nonprofit galleries, and non-traditional venues. Students’ reflections, enhanced by a research trip to Mobile, offer contemporary thoughts on works that were purposely designed to present ordinary people quietly struggling against discrimination. As the readers of Lifeconfronted social inequality in their weekly magazine, Parks subtly exposed segregation’s damaging effects while challenging racial stereotypes.
Half a century ago in America, nonviolent protests and acts of civil disobedience, organised by leaders like Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X, helped put the spotlight on the bigotry and injustice that black Americans faced. The civil-rights movement prompted lawmakers to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964, outlawing discrimination based on "race, color, religion, sex or national origin", and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. A fifty-something African-American photographer Gordon Parks, who also directed the Blaxploitation film “Shaft” in 1971 and co-founded “Essence” magazine in 1970, was an integral part of that movement, from taking intimate portraits of the characters involved, to photographing the myriad rallies that took place in the 1950s and 1960s. Yet Parks, who straddled protest and photography, remains outside the pantheon of great black leaders in civil rights, and is less known than his mostly white contemporaries in photography.
When LIFE photographer Gordon Parks decided not to snap his shutter on the Swedish-born actress--who was born 100 years ago on Aug. 29--it paved the way for one of the most treasured portraits of her ever made
This University Teaching Gallery installation examines the contested relationship between art, justice, and African American culture from the 19th through 21st century in the United States. The over 40 works on display range from prints by Kara Walker and Glenn Ligon that challenge the nexus between vision and justice during slavery to photographs by Bruce Davidson and Gordon Parks that synoptically summarize events from the segregation era through the civil rights movement.
This exhibition examines the realities of life under segregation in 1950s America, as seen through the lens of groundbreaking photographer Gordon Parks (1912–2006). As the first African American photographer hired full time by Life magazine, Parks was frequently given assignments involving social issues affecting black America. In 1950, one such project took him back to his hometown in Kansas for a photo essay he planned to call “Back to Fort Scott.”
At the Art Institute of Chicago, an exhibition looks at the relationship between the photographer and author as they were becoming famous.
Gordon Parks (1912-2006) never got much respect from art museums when he was alive. A staff photographer for Life magazine from 1948 to 1972, renowned for stories on poverty, African-American and celebrity themes, he was older, and more conventional, than the wild tribes of frame-bending street shooters favored by curators in the 1960s and 70s.
Muhammad Ali, the three-time world heavyweight boxing champion who helped define his turbulent times as the most charismatic and controversial sports figure of the 20th century, died on Friday in a Phoenix-area hospital. He was 74.
His death was confirmed by Bob Gunnell, a family spokesman. Ali, who lived in Phoenix, had had Parkinson’s disease for more than 30 years. He was admitted to the hospital on Friday with what Mr. Gunnell said was a respiratory problem, but no other details were provided.
Ali was the most thrilling if not the best heavyweight ever, carrying into the ring a physically lyrical, unorthodox boxing style that fused speed, agility and power more seamlessly than that of any fighter before him.
But he was more than the sum of his athletic gifts. An agile mind, a buoyant personality, a brash self-confidence and an evolving set of personal convictions fostered a magnetism that the ring alone could not contain. He entertained as much with his mouth as with his fists, narrating his life with a patter of inventive doggerel. (“Me! Wheeeeee!”)
Masters of their fields, the photographer Gordon Parks and the writer Ralph Ellison bonded over a shared vision of using their creative talents to address racial injustice. That commitment led to the powerful, enduring 1952 photo essay “A Man Becomes Invisible.”
But that Life magazine project was not their only collaboration. A new exhibition, “Invisible Man: Gordon Parks and Ralph Ellison in Harlem,” for the first time shows images from a lesser-known 1948 project of theirs, “Harlem Is Nowhere.” On view through Aug. 28 at the Art Institute of Chicago, the exhibition offers the two men’s counternarrative (the reality, that is) of the living conditions of black Americans during that time. Among the show’s more than 50 objects — the known surviving material belonging to both “A Man Becomes Invisible” and “Harlem Is Nowhere” — are newly discovered images, photographs that have never been exhibited and items that had not been definitely identified as belonging to either project.
Gordon Parks and Ralph Ellison are both recognized as major figures in American art and literature: Parks, a renowned photographer and filmmaker, was best known for his poignant and humanizing photo-essays for Life magazine. Ellison authored one of the most acclaimed—and debated—novels of the 20th century, Invisible Man (1952). What is less known about these two esteemed artists is that their friendship, coupled with a shared vision of racial injustices and a belief in the communicative power of photography, inspired collaboration on two projects, one in 1948 and another in 1952.
The racist elements so visible in this year’s political scene give the lie to the notion, bruited about in certain circles a decade ago, that we as a society no longer discriminate; that we have become "post-racial." The documentary photographer Gordon Parks (1912-2006), who covered the civil rights movement for decades, notably for Life magazine, would not have been amused or fooled. A large selection of his works in black and white as well as color shows us amnesiacs a review of history as if written by lightning (to paraphrase southerner Woodrow Wilson’s praise for the racist 1915 film "The Birth of a Nation"). Selections from photo essays on the 1963 march on Washington and the Black Muslim and Black Panther movements depict the turbulent sixties, when President Johnson’s support for civil rights effectively delivered the south to the once-abolitionist GOP.
With so many things to do in San Francisco, it's easy to miss the many fantastic art exhibits and shows that pass through smaller galleries, as opposed to big museum shows. While it's nearly impossible for even the most ardent art lover to see it all, we've once again curated a collection of must see exhibits currently (or soon to be) gracing the walls of San Francisco's finest art spaces. Plan accordingly.
Gordon Parks: Higher Ground. Presenting a solo exhibition of over sixty works by one of the most important photojournalists of the 20th century. Parks (1912 - 2006) was the first black photojournalist to work at Life magazine, from 1948 to 1972. Through Life, Parks documented the stories of those he photographed, personalizing his assignments to tell the broader story of the African American experience. The gallery's second solo exhibition for Parks will commemorate his photo essays on the Civil Rights Movement.
Some images are difficult to ignore. The dashboard camera footage of Sandra Bland's arrest, three days before her wrongful death in prison. The still image of Michael Brown's body covered by a sheet, just after the unarmed 18-year-old was fatally shot by a police officer. Protest photos of massive crowds bearing a single message, so simple it's absurd: "Black Lives Matter."
A camera is not in itself political. But the photographic tool carries with it the potential for widespread awareness, reform and revolution. Contemporary protest movements are propelled by the images and videos circulating across social media, broadcasting in plain sight the systemic injustices and atrocities still inextricably linked with blackness in America.
"I realized that the camera could be a weapon against poverty, against racism, against all kinds of social ills. Then I knew I had to have one. "
Gordon Parks was the youngest of fifteen children in a poor family in Fort Scott, Kansas. Born in 1912, he held various jobs until he could buy in 1937 in a pawnshop in Seattle, a camera, and was hired for fashion images in a mall in Minneapolis. It was clear her talent, and in 1942 received from the Farm Security Administration a grant that, among others, had obtained before Dorothea Lange. (Translated from Spanish)
Jenkins Johnson Gallery, San Francisco presents Gordon Parks: Higher Ground, a solo exhibition of over sixty works by one of the most important photojournalists of the 20th century. The gallery’s second solo exhibition for Parks, February 4 through April 2, 2016, commemorates his photo essays on the Civil Rights Movement.
Gordon Parks (1912 - 2006) was the first black photojournalist to work at Life magazine, from 1948 to 1972. Through Life, Parks documented the stories of those he photographed, personalizing his assignments to tell the broader story of the African American experience. By gaining their trust unlike any other photojournalist, Parks’ empathy and charisma enabled him to gain access into his subject’s world. The show will include works from the essays for Life magazine, Invisible Man, 1952; Segregation Story, 1956; Duke Ellington, 1960 The March on Washington, 1963; The Nation of Islam, 1963; Muhammad Ali, 1970; and The Black Panthers, 1970.
The words “Lord, plant my feet on higher ground” rang out from the churches of Alabama, as black Americans opened their hymnals to sing. The year was 1956, and in Montgomery a woman by the name of Rosa Parks had just refused to surrender her bus seat to a white passenger. Nearby in Mobile, photojournalist Gordon Parks, formerly of the Farm Security Administration, told the story of the Thornton family for Life magazine, where the American public at last were given a glimpse into the daily lives, joy, and suffering of African American men, women, and children living in the Jim Crow South.
Gordon Parks, one of the most celebrated African American artists of his time, is the subject of this exhibition of groundbreaking photographs of Fort Scott, Kansas—focusing on the realities of life under segregation during the 1940s, but also relating to Parks’s own fascinating life story.
In 1950, Gordon Parks was the only African-American photographer working for Life magazine, a rising star who was gaining the power to call his own shots, and he proposed a cover story both highly political and deeply personal: to return to Fort Scott, Kan., the prairie town where he had grown up, to find his 11 classmates in a segregated middle school.