Freedom to Expand
Gordon Parks Community Symposium
WAM presents Freedom to Expand: Gordon Parks in a community-wide collaboration this winter. The Ulrich Museum of Art at Wichita State University will unveil its new cache of 125 photographs acquired from the Gordon Parks Foundation. The Kansas African American Museum will present a Gordon Parks exhibition of his Farm Securities Administration assignment in 1943 to photograph interracial camps in New York.
Friday, February 12 and Saturday, February 13, 2016
Ulrich Museum of Art at Wichita State University and Wichita Art Museum
Three Wichita museums are partnering this winter with simultaneous exhibitions devoted to Gordon Parks (1912–2006), a Kansas native and one of the most prolific and esteemed African American artists ofthe 20th century. In February, the Ulrich Museum of Art at Wichita State University and the Wichita Art Museum collaborate on a two-day forum of presentations and conversations with nationally recognized speakers and scholars. The symposium talks and gallery viewing on February 12 and 13 are free and open to the public. No reservations required.
Friday, February 12, 2016
Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University
Welcome, Bob Workman, director, Ulrich Museum of Art
Jamal Cyrus on When Images are Deployed
Houston-based artist Jamal Cyrus will examine the political, psychological, and spiritual deployment of imagery within our society. Extending photography’s role beyond the selfie and the documentary, Cyrus will explore how the medium operates in a realm of powerful symbolic frameworks that control our movement and thought. He will address these concepts as they relate to his photographic, sculptural, and installation work both as an individual artist and with the collective Otabenga Jones & Associates.
Julia Brown on Unfitting Images
Julia Brown, artist and assistant professor, George Washington University, will discuss her exhibition The Swim, on view at the Ulrich. Using her research into photographic documentation of the Civil Rights era—including Florida wade-in protests over beach segregation—Brown asks why certain images and events achieve iconic status for a time, a people, and a movement, while others are overlooked, buried, or forgotten.
Reception and exhibition viewing
Dr. John Edwin Mason on Visual Justice: Gordon Parks’ American Photographs
Mason is working on Gordon Parks and the American Democracy, a book about Parks’ Life magazine photo-essays on social justice and Parks’ books during the Civil Rights era, noting how these essays and books challenged Americans’ notions of citizenship and made Parks one of the era’s most significant interpreters of the black experience. Mason will illustrate how Parks worked to identify and collapse the rift between the promise and the reality of the “American dream.” Mason is Associate Professor of History and Associate Chair of the Department of History at the University of Virginia.
Saturday, February 13, 2016
Wichita Art Museum
Welcome, Dr. Patricia McDonnell, director, Wichita Art Museum
Dr. Galyn Vesey on Black Wichita, 1945–1958
A retired professor of public affairs, Vesey was one of the participants, as a teenager, in the Wichita Dockum Drugstore Sit-In in 1958. Vesey will talk about his current research for the book project Black Wichita: 1945–1958.
Karen Haas on Gordon Parks in Kansas
Lane Curator of Photographs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Haas just curated the acclaimed exhibition Gordon Parks: Back to Fort Scott, now on view at WAM. Parks returned to his hometown in 1950—retracing his roots and examining troubled race relations before the Civil Rights Movement. Haas will examine the photographs and their meanings from this compelling photo narrative.
Dr. Martin A. Berger on Images of the Civil Rights Struggle
Berger wrote the 2014 book and curated the exhibition Freedom Now! Forgotten Photographs of the Civil Rights Struggle, now on view at WAM. In collective memory, the Civil Rights Movement is remembered by dramatic scenes—protesters attacked by police dogs or black activists victimized by violence. Berger asserts that other pictures tell other stories. Blacks changed American discriminatory practices through their action, not their suffering. Professor of History of Art and Visual Culture at University of California– Santa Cruz, Berger will explore this crucial aspect of the Civil Rights era.
5 to 6 pm
Reception and exhibition viewing