Gordon Parks: Legacy Highlighted by SF/ARTS Curator Christian L. Frock
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.]
Gordon Parks at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
A Fresh Look at Gordon Parks' Photo Essay "Harlem Gang Leader"
November 22, 2017
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.
With Zanele Muholi, the South African LGBTQ Community Is (Literally) Taking Center Stage
November 10, 2017
Right before South African photographer and visual activist Zanele Muholi took the stage at New York’s Schomburg Center for a discussion with artist Renee Cox, a group of 20 or so South African dancers, singers, and artists circled around the New York Public Library’s Langston Hughes Lobby and performed a version of the South African national anthem “Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika.” Sung in Zulu and Shona, but without the English and Afrikaans that are part of the current official version, the song is part of a push to rid the country of colonial legacies and continue the discussions of post-apartheid racial inequalities, both of which have been heated by the recent student protests that have roiled its cities. Hence, it seemed only appropriate that the group was standing on the cosmogram at the center of the space, under which Langston Hughes’s ashes were buried.
Zanele Muholi Brings Her ‘Visual Activism’ Out of Africa, and Into New York
November 7, 2017
Zanele Muholi travels with a crew: a multitalented posse of artists, project managers, make-up mavens, even a doctor—specifically, a gynecologist. The personnel is variable — in 2012, for a project in Paris, she brought a whole soccer team to the famous Parc des Princes stadium — with the constant that all are South African, Black, and queer, lesbian, or trans folk. Last week, Muholi and her team descended on New York, registering their presence by breaking into group harmonies, dance steps, and South African liberation chants from JFK Airport to the Hoyt-Schermerhorn subway station. “I don’t like to shine alone,” Muholi says. “It’s always nicer to have a number of diamonds.”
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.
The Fever-Dream Urgency of Zanele Muholi’s Self-Portraits in “Somnyama Ngonyama”
October 20, 2017
Looking at the astonishing pictures in Zanele Muholi’s recent series, “Somnyama Ngonyama” (which means “Hail the Dark Lioness” in Zulu), it’s tempting to start mentally sketching an art-family tree. One branch might include other women who’ve excelled at photographic self-portraiture, from the trans French Surrealist Claude Cahun to Cindy Sherman and Carrie Mae Weems. Another might reach back to the mid-twentieth-century photo studios of Seydou Keïta and Malick Sidibé, in Bamako, Mali, which were meccas of pattern on pattern and personal style. But such affinities, while undoubtedly relevant, occlude the real power of Muholi’s project, which is a radical act of protest and reclamation, a deeply personal response by a woman born in 1972, in Umlazi, South Africa, to the colonizing and exoticizing of the black female body by all those cameras that arrived before hers.
‘I'm scared. But this work needs to be shown’: Zanele Muholi's 365 protest photographs
July 14, 2017
Her house has been broken into, her images stolen. But the South African will not stop using photography to highlight massacres, homophobia, hate crimes and rape. She talks about her new series: taking a self-portrait every day for a year.
Zanele Muholi at PERFORMA17 Featured in Art Africa Magazine
Zanele Muholi to Take Over PERFORMA17
September 27, 2017
Muholi to showcase at PERFORMA, the internationally acclaimed organization dedicated to live performance across disciplines. AFROGLOSSIA and a South African Pavilion Without Walls both will feature in Performa 17, the seventh edition of the Performa Biennial, to take place November 1–19, 2017, at locations throughout New York City.
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.
Kendrick Lamar’s "ELEMENT" Inspired By Gordon Parks Reviewed by The New Yorker
Kendrick Lamar’s Lyrics Get the Images They Deserve in the Video for “ELEMENT.”
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.
How Kendrick Lamar's 'element.' Video Honors Gordon Parks' Iconic Photograph
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.