This autumn, Howard Greenberg Gallery, one of the world’s leading galleries for classic and modern photography, is celebrating its 40th year with a move to two new locations on 57th Street, and an exhibition of work by renowned photographer and filmmaker Gordon Parks.
The gallery will continue its presence in the Fuller Building at 41 East 57th Street by relocating to a new exhibition space on the 8th floor. It will also occupy an entire floor at 32 East 57th Street, directly across from the Fuller Building, to house, manage and present its vast archive of over 40,000 prints. Both moves are planned for September.
About the exhibition ~ Parks, who described his camera as his “choice of weapons,” was known for his work documenting American life and culture with a focus on social justice, race relations, the civil rights movement, and the African American experience. He was hired as staff photographer for Life magazine in 1948, where over two decades he created some of his most groundbreaking work that cast light on the social and economic impact of poverty, discrimination, and racism. In 1969 he launched a pioneering film career by becoming the first African American to write and direct a major studio feature, The Learning Tree, based on his semi-autobiographical novel—a career move foreshadowed through his cinematic approach to photography.
Marking the 50th anniversary of the release of Parks’ second feature-length directorial endeavor, the blaxploitation classic Shaft (1971), the gallery will present photographic works that reveal the artist’s cinematic approach. Parks’ earliest photographs often evoke a narrative beyond the individual frame, echoing his desire to represent complex facets of his subjects’ lives and communities. Like his films, Parks’ photographs present robust narratives that seek to reveal the complexities of his subjects’ lives.
The exhibition coincides with the release of the HBO documentary A Choice of Weapons: Inspired by Gordon Parks in November, and the extended presentation of works from his series The Atmosphere of Crime in the permanent collection galleries of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
About the move ~ “On this 40th anniversary, inaugurating our new 8th floor space in the Fuller Building with an exhibition devoted to Gordon Parks is a fitting tribute to both the Gallery’s and Parks’ photographic legacy, and to Howard’s and Gordon’s long personal friendship”, said Karen Marks, Gallery Director.
Across the street, the Gallery begins a new chapter as it enters its fifth decade, by establishing a dedicated space for one of the largest commercial gallery archives in its category.
“As digital media continue to gain traction on our proliferating screens, it’s more important than ever that the opportunity to physically see, handle and acquire photographic prints is made available to current and future generations of collectors”, said David Peckman, Gallery Director.
This new space will be available for collectors and curators to access one of the world’s most comprehensive photography collections – further enabling and encouraging the kinds of explorations, discussions, and gatherings for which the Gallery has become renowned.
The gallery’s 2022 exhibition program will continue to focus on prominent 20th and 21st century photographers, such as Sarah Moon, William Klein, Ed Burtynsky and Nadav Kander. The gallery also continues its representation of other important photographers and estates, including Bruce Davidson, Joel Meyerowitz, Berenice Abbott, Arnold Newman, Mary Ellen Mark, Vivian Maier, Saul Leiter, and Ray K. Metzker, and others. The gallery has significant holdings of many more artists in its extensive archive.
About Gordon Parks (1912-2006)
Gordon Parks was born into poverty and segregation on a farm in Kansas in 1912, the youngest of 15 children. He worked at odd jobs before buying a camera at a pawnshop in 1938 and training himself to become a photographer. From 1941 to 1945, Parks was a photographer for the Farm Security Administration and later at the Office of War Information in Washington, D.C. As a freelance photographer, his 1948 photo essay on the life of a Harlem gang leader, Red Jackson, won him widespread acclaim and a position as the first African American staff photographer and writer for Life magazine, which continued until 1972. In addition to being a noted composer and author, in 1969, Parks became the first African American to write and direct a Hollywood feature film, The Learning Tree, based on his bestselling novel of the same name. This was followed in 1971 by the hugely successful motion picture Shaft. Parks was the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Medal of Arts in 1988, and was given over 50 honorary doctorates from colleges across the United States. Photographs by Parks are in the collections of many major museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, J. Paul Getty Museum, National Gallery of Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. stated, “Gordon Parks is the most important Black photographer in the history of photojournalism. Long after the events that he photographed have been forgotten, his images will remain with us, testaments to the genius of his art, transcending time, place and subject matter.”
About The Gordon Parks Foundation
The Gordon Parks Foundation permanently preserves the work of Gordon Parks, makes it available to the public through exhibitions, books, and electronic media, and supports artistic and educational activities that advance what Gordon described as “the common search for a better life and a better world.” The Foundation is a division of the Meserve-Kunhardt Foundation.
About Howard Greenberg Gallery
Since its inception in New York 40 years ago, Howard Greenberg Gallery has built a vast and ever-changing collection of some of the most important photographs in the medium. The Gallery’s collection acts as a living history of photography, offering genres and styles from Pictorialism to Modernism, in addition to contemporary photography and images conceived for industry, advertising, and fashion.
Formerly a photographer and founder of The Center for Photography in Woodstock in 1977, Howard Greenberg has been one of a small group of gallerists, curators and historians responsible for the creation and development of the modern market for photography. Howard Greenberg Gallery—founded in 1981 and originally known as Photofind—was the first to consistently exhibit photojournalism and ‘street’ photography, now accepted as important components of photographic art.
40th Anniversary celebration with opening exhibition, Gordon Parks: A Choice of Weapons, will be on view from October 7 to December 23, 2021 at Howard Greenberg Gallery, in the historic Fuller Building located at 41 East 57th Street, in its new exhibition space on the 8th floor, NYC.