In 1936 a group of young, idealistic photographers, most of them Jewish, first-generation Americans, formed an organization in Manhattan called the Photo League. Their solidarity centered on a belief in the expressive power of the documentary photograph and on a progressive alliance in the 1930s of socialist ideas and art. Members rejected the prevailing style of modernism in order to engage the gritty realities of urban life. Leaguers focused on New York, and this meant looking closely at ordinary people.
Featuring works by celebrated League photographers, including Berenice Abbott, Sid Grossman, Lisette Model, and Weegee, The Radical Camera: New York's Photo League, 1936-1951 takes an in-depth look at the League's accomplishments from the end of the Great Depression to the start of the Cold War. By its demise in 1951, the League had propelled documentary photography from factual images to more challenging ones--from bearing witness to questioning one’s own bearings in the world.
This application includes images of selected artworks from the exhibition and audio featuring interviews with the exhibition’s co-curators, Mason Klein (Curator, The Jewish Museum) and Catherine Evans (Curator, Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio), as well as Maurice Berger (Research Professor and Chief Curator, Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, University of Maryland Baltimore County) and Rebecca Shaykin (Curatorial Assistant, The Jewish Museum).
The Radical Camera: New York's Photo League, 1936-1951 is on view at these venues as follows:
The Jewish Museum
1109 Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street, New York, NY 10128
November 4, 2011 - March 25, 2012
Columbus Museum of Art
480 East Broad Street, Columbus, OH 43215
April 19 - September 9, 2012
Contemporary Jewish Museum
736 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
October 11, 2012 - January 21, 2013
Norton Museum of Art
1451 South Olive Avenue, West Palm Beach, FL 33401
February 9 - April 21, 2013
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