“Harlem: Found Ways” is a new exhibition opening today at The Cooper Gallery at Harvard University that “presents artistic visions and engagements specific to Harlem, New York City, in the last decades.” Check it out if you are in Cambridge this summer!
And, look for an essay by yours truly in the exhibition catalogue reflecting on Dawoud Bey’s two important photographic series Harlem, U.S.A. and Harlem Redux, selections of which are featured in the show. These preview photos are courtesy of Dawoud.
Check out this exhibition Let Us March On: Lee Friedlander and the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom at the Yale University Art Gallery curated by my former student, La Tanya Autry.
The Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom, a virtually forgotten civil rights gathering at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC on May 17, 1957, was photographed by Lee Friendlander.
This look back can hopefully provide inspiration for our trying times…
It’s CAA time and I am participating in a panel called “Photography and Race.” My talk is about race and modernism in interwar photography. One key phenomenon that I have noted is that lighting and shadow take on a metaphoric role beyond their descriptive function that gives visual expression to the period’s racial imagination in new ways. Older notions of race as biology and blackness and whiteness as material properties of the body are supplanted with more elusive codes that reside in the darkness and the light. That is not to say that move traditional means of visualizing race entirely disappear but the burden of representation is removed from the body in subtle but significant ways that allow for the articulation of changing racial paradigms. The preponderance of these shadows that limn blackness makes it difficult to select which images to show in my fifteen minutes. What a dilemma! Here are some of my current objects of fascination:
Carole Lombard by Otto Dyar, 1931
Anna May Wong by Hurrell, 1938
Katherine Hepburn by Ernest Bachrach, 1935
Model Helen Lyons Wearing a Dress and Matching Cape by Boue Soeurs, in Vogue, April 1922 by Baron de Meyer
Elsa Schiaparelli by Man Ray, 1930s
Josephine Baker by Huene, 1927
Nelly van Doesburg by Man Ray, 1925
Lillian Gish by Doris Ulmann, 1930
Delores del Rio by Ernest Bachrach, 1932