California African American Museum

Los Angeles, CA



Half Past Autumn: The Art of Gordon Parks


The first retrospective exhibition of the works of renowned American artist Gordon Parks will open at the California African American Museum on Saturday, October 14 and run through Saturday, December 30, 2000. Parks is an American Renaissance man who has mastered many media to express an uplifting and influential message of hope in the face of adversity. (left: Photo Credit: © Johanna Fiore, Portrait of Gordon Parks, 1977)

This exhibition is organized by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and co-curated by Philip Brookman, curator of photography and media arts at the Corcoran, and Deborah Willis, collections coordinator at the Center for African-American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution. (right: © Gordon Parks: Ella Watson and her Grandchildren, Washington, D.C., 1942, gelatin silver print)

Although the 87 year-old Parks is best known as a photojournalist, this retrospective brings together for the first time his works as a filmmaker, novelist, poet and musician. Half Past Autumn: The Art of Gordon Parks begins in the present with several of his most recent images and then, like a cinematic flashback, propels visitors into the past through Park's early photographs of Kansas that represent his childhood. (left: © Gordon Parks, New England Fisherman, John Lafond 1942, gelatin silver print)

Sponsored by Ford Motor Company and Time Warner Inc., the exhibition features 219 photographs, with significant works from each of Parks' major series from 1940 through 1997, including several galleries of color photographs and portraits, combined with his books, music, film and poetry. The result is, in the artist's words, a "tone-poem" that impressionistically tells his own story. The exhibition is accompanied by a full-color 360-page book by Parks, entitled Half Past Autumn: Gordon Parks, published by Bulfinch Press/Little, Brown and Company. (right: © Gordon Parks, Travelers, 1995, Iris ink jet print)

"Half Past Autumn: The Art of Gordon Parks is a record of one artist's creative search for humanity in the face of intolerance," says Brookman. "Parks' art is about pressing social issues, such as poverty, race, segregation and crime, while it also enhances our understanding of beauty, nature, landscape, childhood, music, fashion and memory. His striking balance, moving seamlessly between these diverse topics, sketches a poetic portrait of post-war culture." (left: © Gordon Parks: Spanish Fashions, 1950, gelatin silver print)

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CAAM is located at 600 State Drive, Exposition Park in Los Angeles. Please see the museum's website for hours and admission fees. (information as of 10/00)

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