May 1, 2018 – Pleasantville, New York – The Gordon Parks Foundation today announced exhibition dates for I AM YOU, a new exhibition of photographs by Gordon Parks. The exhibition, which explores Parks’ civil rights and social justice photographs, will be on view at the Foundation’s exhibition space from May 11 through July 13. The exhibition is free and open to the public.
I AM YOU offers both Parks’ iconic photographs and his lesser-known pictures side by side in an exhibition that investigates themes of racism, poverty, and bigotry that the artist explored throughout his seventy year career. The earliest picture on display—American Gothic, Washington, D.C., 1942—is not only Parks’ most recognizable, but also one of the most important photographs of the twentieth century. Little seen early color images of segregated Alabama are shown alongside leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, like Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Images of boisterous demonstrations are shown alongside moments of quiet protest.
In his poetic introduction to his 1968 photostory about racism and poverty for Life, Parks said, “What I want. What I am. What you force me to be is what you are. For I am you, staring back from a mirror of poverty and despair, of revolt and freedom.” Jelani Cobb, staff writer for The New Yorker, offers his impression of what Parks meant in his essay “Witness” written for the release of a limited edition portfolio of Parks’ photographs in 2017. He explained, “Parks was visually articulating a premise fundamental to democracy: that one is able to see the humanity of one’s fellow citizen.”
For more information about The Gordon Parks Foundation, please visit gordonparksfoundation.org