Weinstein Hammons Gallery is pleased to present The Song Called Hope, an exhibition of over twenty photographs by Gordon Parks (b. Fort Scott, Kansas, 1912-2006).
Whenever the fist of doubt knocks at my door,
It is powerfully turned away by my hopeful singing.
When things go from bad to worse I still sing my song.
- Excerpt from Come Sing with Me by Gordon Parks
This will be the fourth exhibition of Parks' work at Weinstein Hammons Gallery since 2012.
A modern-day Renaissance man, Gordon Parks was one of the most prolific artists of the 20th century, whose creative practice extended beyond photography to encompass writing, musical composition, filmmaking, and painting. Taking its title from a line in Parks' poem “Come Sing with Me,” The Song Called Hope focuses on one of the most persistent subjects of Parks’ photographs over the years – children. Renowned for his profound and compassionate portrayal of American life for over five decades, Parks often turned his lens to children to use the camera to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.
One of the greatest examples of his commitment to representing children is his acclaimed semi-autobiographical bestselling novel turned movie, The Learning Tree, a coming-of-age story that revealed the harsh realities of navigating the injustices of systemic racism. Parks’ representation of children of color was therefore a deliberate effort to provide positive representations of Black youth in society. The exhibition is comprised of photographs from the early 1940s up to 1970s, locations spanning Harlem, Chicago, Alabama, Georgia and Fort Scott – all of significance in Parks’ life and career.
Parks’ work is in the permanent collections of major museums, among them The Art Institute of Chicago; Baltimore Museum of Art, Cincinnati Art Museum, Detroit Institute of Arts, International Center of Photography, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, Minneapolis Institute of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Saint Louis Art Museum; Smithsonian National Museum of American History, and Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
In recent years, Parks has been the subject of many solo exhibitions, all accompanied by illustrated publications, organized by The Gordon Parks Foundation with other institutions. These include: Gordon Parks: Stokely Carmichael and Black Power, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2022); Gordon Parks in Pittsburgh, 1944/46, Carnegie Museum of Art (2022); Gordon Parks: The Atmosphere of Crime, Museum of Modern Art (2020); Gordon Parks X Muhammad Ali, Nelson Atkins Museum of Art (2020); Gordon Parks: The Flávio Story, Instituto Moreira Salles, São Paulo (traveled; 2017–2019); Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940–1950, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (traveled; 2018–2019); I Am You: Selected Works 1942–1978, C/O Berlin (traveled; 2017–2018); Invisible Man: Gordon Parks and Ralph Ellison in Harlem, The Art Institute of Chicago (2016); Gordon Parks: Back to Fort Scott, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (2015); Gordon Parks: Segregation Story, High Museum of Art, Atlanta (2014–2015); Gordon Parks: The Making of an Argument, New Orleans Museum of Art (2013–2014); and Gordon Parks: A Harlem Family 1967, The Studio Museum in Harlem (2012–2013).
Weinstein Hammons Gallery would like to thank The Gordon Parks Foundation for their gracious assistance with this exhibition.
Image: Gordon Parks, Boy with June Bug, fort Scott, Kansas, 1963, Gordon Parks Foundation Stamp on verso, archival pigment print, 20 x 24 inches, edition of 10. Image courtesy and copyright Gordon Parks Foundation.
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