Press Release

This Spring: Gordon Parks at National and International Museum and Solo Gallery Exhibitions

Pleasantville, NY
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The Addison Gallery of American Art, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and The Museum of Modern Art Among Institutions to Feature Gordon Parks

The Gordon Parks Foundation collaborates on a range of national and international exhibitions this spring. Featuring significant works by Parks and providing insight on his multifaceted practice, the Spring 2020 exhibitions range from photographs of Muhammad Ali at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art to a presentation highlighting new Parks acquisitions at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). The season also includes solo gallery exhibitions and presentations at The Gordon Parks Foundation Gallery in Pleasantville, New York, as well as group exhibitions at The Jewish Museum and Princeton University Art Museum. The Foundation’s year-round and wide-ranging programming reflects its commitment to supporting and producing artistic and educational initiatives that advance the legacy and vision of Gordon Parks, who is recognized as one of the most significant photographers of the 20th century, as well as a writer, musician, and filmmaker.

“We’re delighted to follow a series of incredible museum exhibitions this past fall with an equally strong and exciting roster of exhibitions and programs in spring 2020,” said Peter W. Kunhardt, Jr., Executive Director of The Gordon Parks Foundation. “These major exhibitions, including those that highlight recent museum acquisitions of Parks’ works, advance the study and exploration of Gordon Parks’ legacy and demonstrate the widespread interest in and relevance of his work today.”

Upcoming exhibitions and programs co-organized by The Gordon Parks Foundation follow below:

MUSEUM EXHIBITIONS:

Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940-1950

Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, MA

On view through April 26, 2020

Organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington in collaboration with The Gordon Parks Foundation

Gordon Parks was part of what author Richard Wright called “the new tide” of African Americans who were pushing for respect and racial equality in the 1940s. Organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, in collaboration with The Gordon Parks Foundation, Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940–1950 explores the early years of Parks’ career as an influential photographer who captured the essence of the civil rights movement in addition to breaking barriers for African Americans. The exhibition was also exhibited at the Cleveland Museum of Art from March 23 through June 9, 2019 and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth, Texas from September 14 through December 29, 2019.

Gordon Parks x Muhammad Ali: The Image of a Champion, 1966/1970

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO

On view through July 5, 2020

Organized in collaboration with The Gordon Parks Foundation

Gordon Parks photographed Muhammad Ali during two in-depth assignments for Life magazine, the first in 1966, and the second in 1970. The Image of a Champion emphasizes the way Parks and Ali came together for these projects, transcending their roles as photographer and athlete to shape a sympathetic public image of the young champion during this tumultuous period in Ali’s career. The museum has recently acquired the American Champion portfolio, selections of which will be on view during the exhibition. This exhibition is accompanied by the publication Gordon Parks x Muhammad Ali, printed by Steidl and co-edited by April M. Watson and Paul Roth, and includes a foreword by Peter W. Kunhardt, Jr. with essays by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, April M. Watson, and Gerald Early.

Gordon Parks and “The Atmosphere of Crime”

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY

Opening May 2020

Organized in collaboration with The Gordon Parks Foundation

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) will feature a selection of color photographs from Gordon Parks’ 1957 Life magazine photo essay titled “The Atmosphere of Crime” in its first seasonal rotation of the Museum’s newly renovated collection galleries. MoMA and The Gordon Parks Foundation collaborated closely on the Museum’s recent acquisition of 56 prints from this series, which Parks produced traveling the streets of New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, capturing the criminalization of poverty, addiction, and race with images taken at crime scenes, police precincts, hospitals, morgues, and prisons. The collection installation will be located in one of MoMA’s fourth floor galleries, specially titled Gordon Parks and “The Atmosphere of Crime,” with Parks’ work as an anchor for exploring representations of criminality in photography, with a particular focus on work made in the United States. The collection installation is accompanied by the publication Gordon Parks: The Atmosphere of Crime, 1957, printed by Steidl and including a foreword by Glenn D. Lowery and Peter W. Kunhardt, Jr. with essays by Sarah Meister, Bryan Stevenson, and Nicole Fleetwood.

SOLO GALLERY PRESENTATION:

Gordon Parks

Alison Jacques Gallery, London, UK

March 27 through April 25, 2020

Organized in collaboration with The Gordon Parks Foundation

The first solo show of Gordon Parks’ work to be held in London in over 25 years, Gordon Parks focuses on three defining series that were created by the artist between 1956 and 1966: Segregation in the South (1956), Black Muslims (1963), and Muhammad Ali (1966-1970). Coinciding with the burgeoning civil rights movement, the visionary images that constitute these three series offered visibility to marginalized and misrepresented figures in American society at large, from anonymous families to public figures.

FOUNDATION EXHIBITIONS:

On view at The Gordon Parks Foundation Gallery, Pleasantville, New York

Gordon Parks: Selections from “The Flávio Story”

The Gordon Parks Foundation, Pleasantville, New York

March 23 through June 12, 2020

The Flávio Story explores one of Parks’ most important photo essays for Life magazine and traces its decades-long development. In 1961, the magazine sent Parks to Brazil to document poverty in one of Rio de Janeiro’s working-class neighborhoods known as favelas. Parks focused his attention on industrious and ailing 12-year-old, Flávio da Silva, and over several weeks he photographed Flávio performing daily activities that were often interrupted by debilitating asthma attacks. Having himself grown up in abject poverty in Kansas, Parks felt deep sympathy for Flávio and forged an emotional bond with him that lasted decades. Co-organized by the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles) and the Ryerson Image Centre (Toronto) in partnership with Instituto Moreira Salles (Rio de Janeiro) and The Gordon Parks Foundation, this exhibition is completing its international tour at The Gordon Parks Foundation Gallery in Pleasantville, New York.

Ed Clark: On Assignment

The Gordon Parks Foundation, Pleasantville, New York

June 29 through August 22, 2020

Ed Clark (American, 1911-2000) is one of the 20th century’s most significant “unknown” photographers. A gifted photojournalist, Clark began his career in 1929 with The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville before being hired as a stringer for Life magazine in 1936, the publication’s inaugural year, where he photographed many of the magazine’s most culturally impactful assignments for over two decades. From political pageantry to small-town life, movie stars to the working class, Clark covered the defining personalities and events of his age with images that helped shape national identity. The exhibition Ed Clark: On Assignment reveals the work of a key figure from the golden age of American photojour-nalism and celebrates the release of a career-spanning, two-volume publication by Steidl, co-edited by Keith Davis and Peter W. Kunhardt, Jr.

ABOUT THE GORDON PARKS FOUNDATION

The Gordon Parks Foundation supports and produces artistic and educational initiatives that advance the legacy and vision of Gordon Parks—recognized as the most significant African American photographer of the 20th century, as well as a writer, musician, and filmmaker, who used the arts to further “the common search for a better life and a better world.”

Through exhibitions, publications, and public programs organized in collaboration with national and international institutions at its exhibition space in Pleasantville, New York, the Foundation provides access to, and supports understanding of, the work and contributions of Gordon Parks for artists, scholars, students, and the public. Through its year-round educational programming and annual grant-making initiatives, the Foundation champions current and future generations of artists and humanitarians whose work carries on Parks’ legacy.

ABOUT GORDON PARKS (1912-2006)

Gordon Parks was a seminal figure of 20th-century photography. A humanitarian with a deep commitment to social justice, he left behind a body of work that documents many of the most important aspects of American culture from the early 1940s up until his death in 2006, with a focus on race relations, poverty, civil rights, and urban life. In addition, Parks was also a celebrated composer, author, and filmmaker who interacted with many of the most prominent people of his era—from politicians and artists to celebrities and athletes. 

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Untitled, Chicago, Illinois, 1957. Courtesy of and copyright The Gordon Parks Foundation.

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