Opening Celebration for Cleveland Museum of Art Photography Exhibition - Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940–1950

Blog Date: 
Mon Apr 1st 2019

Note that this post about the Gordon Parks photography exhibition is the first of two blog posts about my evening in University Circle (@InTheCircle) on March 21, 2019. After reading this blog post, please read my second blog post: Cleveland Museum of Natural History: Think & Drink -- Fantastic Beasts of the Natural World

Opening Celebration for Cleveland Museum of Art Photography Exhibition - Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940–1950
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Join Us to Celebrate the Opening of “Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940–1950”

The Cleveland Museum of Art invites you to attend the opening celebration of the special photography exhibition Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940–1950.

A simple email invitation led to an enjoyable evening in University Circle (@InTheCircle), beginning at the Cleveland Museum of Art (@ClevelandArt) and continuing at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History (@goCMNH). Normally, these museums are not open late on Thursdays, but Thursday, March 21, 2019, was special!

In addtion to the description of Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940–1950 (#CMAGordonParks) on the Cleveland Museum of Art website, I read two interesting articles shared on Twitter. @Miss_Rosen shared an article by @AnOtherMagazine and @CoolCleveland gave a great historical summary. I would recommend you read the museum's description, and the two articles in the tweets that follow, as background before attending the Gordon Parks photography exhibition:

When I saw the “doll test” photo featured in the CoolCleveland (@CoolCleveland) article, Legendary Photojournalist Gordon Parks’ Show Opens at Cleveland Museum of Art, I wondered if I had seen Gordon Parks' photography whle I was in college. I remembered learning in either a college psychology or history class about how this test was used to study self-esteem issues in black children. (Learn more about the “doll test” in the Library of Congress (@LibraryCongress) article Brown v. Board at Fifty: “With an Even Hand”.)

'Problem Kids: New Harlem clinic rescues ghetto youth from emotional short circuit.' Click on the image in the teacher lessons/activities Gordon Parks Photography section of the National Gallery of Art (@ngadc) website to read the full description of how...

Parks took this picture on assignment for Ebony magazine in 1947 for an article called, 'Problem Kids: New Harlem clinic rescues ghetto youth from emotional short circuit.' . . . “doll test” research investigated issues of segregation and self-esteem in black children. . . . Their research, while not wholly scientific, was used in school desegregation lawsuits including Brown v. Board of Education (1954).

 

Cleveland Museum of Art - Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940–1950

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

Sat, 03/23/2019 to Sun, 06/09/2019
The Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation Exhibition Gallery

The pioneering African American photographer Gordon Parks (1912–2006) considered his work during the 1940s and ’50s to be the benchmark for his 60-year career. . . .

. . . the exhibition and accompanying catalogue examine the role of government and corporate archives in encouraging creativity and innovation in photography, the importance of World War II in establishing a role for photography in the civil rights movement, and the expanding function of mass media in creating and distributing a new visual culture.

When I arrived at the Cleveland Museum of Art for the opening, there was entertainment and food provided in the Ames Family Atrium, but I decided to go directly to the Kelvin and Eleanor Smith Foundation Gallery on the lower level to see the exhibtion. A museum staff member welcomed me, and commented that it was wise to come before the crowds arrived. She was correct -- as the evening progressed, the gallery filled with attendees enjoying the photography. People like me, who arrived earlier, had a more leisurely time looking at the photos and reading the historical descriptions.

The show was much bigger than I expected, and I really liked how it was laid out in chronological order, reflecting the different parts of Gordon Parks' life.

Washington, D.C. government charwoman Reading about the photograph entitled Washington, D.C. government charwoman, I was interested in how it was later given a second title of American Gothic (referring to Grant Wood’s American Gothic painting of midwestern farmers). I recognized Cleveland Museum of Art Interpretive Planner Stephanie Foster (@SFosterCLE) from all her great art tours she has led at the museum's Mix At CMA events, and asked her for more background on this piece. (If you have never attended a MIX, please see my #MIXatCMA blog posts.) She not only shared with me her knowledge, but then introduced me to Philip Brookman, who is the curator from the National Gallery of Art. I really enjoyed having a long discussion with him about several aspects of the Gordon Parks photography exhibition, and appreciate him taking so much time to talk to me. See my photos in the tweet below, and go the Library of Congress website to see:

The Gordon Parks photography exhibition was organized by the National Gallery of Art (@ngadc) in collaboration with The Gordon Parks Foundation (@GParksFound), so I recommend if you want to learn more, check out the resources they created, including:

There is much more to tell about the Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940–1950 exhibtion, but rather than writing more details here, I recommend you go see for yourself. Both the Cleveland Museum of Art and this special exhibition in the museum are free and open to the public. Here are my @sos_jr tweets and retweets with #CMAGordonParks photos to give you a taste of what you will see when you visit the museum.

 

The Fun of the Evening Continues

After visiting the Cleveland Museum of Art, my evening in University Circle continued at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History (@goCMNH) Think & Drink with the Extinct -- Fantastic Beasts of the Natural World! Read more about my fun evening on Thursday, March 21, 2019, in my second blog post: Cleveland Museum of Natural History: Think & Drink -- Fantastic Beasts of the Natural World

 

More to See...

Here are more of my @sos_jr tweets and retweets about the Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940–1950 exhibtion.

 

Related Blog Posts

There are many more blog posts that I have written about the Cleveland Museum of Art (read them here), and the museums in University Circle (read them here).

In addition to following the museum's @ClevelandArt twitter feed, I also recommend following @InTheCircle on Twitter, and exploring University Circle's website: UniversityCircle.org

 

Thank You!

Thank you, Cleveland Museum of Art, for inviting me to the opening celebration of Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940–1950! It was more than I expected.

I look forward to coming back to the museum to see the Gordon Parks Photography Exhibition again with Julie, my co-blogger and wife. A special thank-you to Communications and Media Relations Manager Kelley Notaro Schreiber (@KelleyNotaro) for thinking to send me information about the celebration.

 


Disclosure: My co-blogger and wife, Julie, and I were invited by the Cleveland Museum of Art's communications department to attend the special Thursday, March 21, 2019, opening celebration of Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940–1950! Julie was not able to attend due to a previous committment. Free entertainment and food was provided, but of most importance is that I was able to view the exhibit before it opened to the general public. The exhibition is free for the public to visit through June 9, 2019.

We were approached to attend the preview because of our support of the Cleveland Museum of Art via our @sos_jr Twitter feed, and our sosAssociates.com blog posts about the museum. I enjoyed the preview, and wrote this blog to share my experience at the event, and to thank the museum's communications department for inviting us to the preview.