• Gordon Parks Exhibit at the Grand Rapids Public Museum

Gordon ParksThe Grand Rapids Public Museum has organized an important exhibition of photographs by photographer Gordon Parks.  Parks was the first African-American photographer to gain an international reputation in the twentieth century.  He was a fashion photographer for Vogue magazine and then worked for Life magazine for fifty years.  Much of his work in the middle of the century documented the events of the Civil Rights Movement.  In addition to being a photographer, Parks was an author, composer and filmmaker.  He died in 1996.  The exhibition, called “Black and White: Gordon Parks Photography” was organized in cooperation with the Gordon Parks Foundation.  

American GothicThe exhibiton, which runs until October 12,  includes thirty-five photographs, including rare vintage prints recently acquired by the museum.   The photographs span three decades from 1940 to 1970.  Included among them is “American Gothic, Washington DC” a photo of an African American cleaning woman for the Farm Security Administration standing in front of American flag.  Parks was moved to create the photo after encountering the racism that was prevent in the capital city in the 1940s.  The exhibit also includes Parks’ photo of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.,  as he gave his “I Have a Dream Speech” before the Lincolm Memorial in 1963, and photos of noted artists Alberto Giacometti and Alexander Calder, composer Aaron Copeland, musician Duke Ellington, and boxer Muhammad Ali.  

You can see a video about the exhibit on the Museum’s homepage by clicking here.