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November 6, 2012
Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture Presents For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights
November 15, 2012 - March 10, 2013
Contact: Thomas Moore
Opening on Thursday, November 15, 2012 and continuing though Sunday, March 10, 2013, the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture presents For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights, curated by Maurice Berger. The exhibition is organized by UMBC's Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture in partnership with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Through a host of media—including photographs, television and film, magazines, newspapers, posters, books, and pamphlets—the project explores the historic role of visual culture in shaping, influencing, and transforming the fight for racial equality and justice in the United States from the late-1940s to the mid-1970s. For All the World to See includes a traveling exhibition, website, online film festival, and richly illustrated companion book.
The exhibition demonstrates the extent to which the rise of the modern civil rights movement paralleled the birth of television and the popularity of picture magazines and other forms of visual mass media, and traces the gradual introduction of African American faces into those contexts. These images were ever-present and diverse: the startling footage of southern white aggression and black suffering that appeared night after night on television news programs; the photographs of achievers and martyrs in black periodicals, which roused pride or activism in the African American community; the humble snapshot, no less powerful in its ability to edify and motivate.
Efforts to combat racism and segregation were waged not only with fiery speeches and nonviolent protests but also, significantly, with pictures, forever changing the way political movements fought for visibility and recognition. Nonetheless, the role of visual media in combating racism is rarely included in standard histories of the movement. For All the World to See includes approximately 230 objects and television and film clips, ranging from the late-1940s to the mid-1970s.
The exhibition is divided into five sections: "It Keeps on Rollin' Along: The Status Quo" looks at the world of visual culture into which the modern civil rights movement was born and the power of these images to perpetuate stereotypes, prejudice, and complacency. "The Culture of Positive Images" investigates the role of images in fostering a sense of black pride and accomplishment as well as improving the habitually negative view of African Americans in the culture at large. "'Let the World See What I've Seen': Evidence and Persuasion" considers the use of pictures to report, document, or offer proof, depictions powerful enough to alter public opinion, perceptions, or attitudes about race in America. "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner: Broadcasting Race" examines the role of entertainment television in supporting black performers and exploring controversial racial issues. "In Our Lives We Are Whole: Snapshots of Everyday Life, 1935–1975" studies the roles played by the visual artifacts of daily life—from family snapshots to the visual campaign of the Black Panther Party—in emboldening black pride, maintaining the status quo, or countering mainstream values and points of view.
Exhibition highlights include: materials relating to the Emmett Till case, such as a rare pamphlet by the photographer Ernest C. Withers recounting the murder and its aftermath; historic footage of Jackie Robinson's first game in the major leagues and other sports memorabilia; an examination of the Negro pictorial magazine, from the widely-read (Ebony, Jet, and Tan) to the short-lived (Hue, Say, and Sepia); photographs documenting the civil rights movement and its leaders by Roy DeCarava, Elliot Erwitt, Benedict Fernandez, Joseph Louw, Francis Miller, Gordon Parks, Robert Sengstack, Moneta Sleet, Carl Van Vechten, and Dan Weiner; clips from groundbreaking television documentaries, most not seen in decades, such as The Weapons of Gordon Parks, Ku Klux Klan: The Invisible Empire, and Take This Hammer; and excerpts from nationally broadcast (The Beulah Show, East Side, West Side, All in the Family, and The Ed Sullivan Show) and local African American TV programs (Soul, Say Brother, and Colored People's Time). For All the World to See looks at images from a range of cultural outlets and formats, tracking the ways they represented race in order to alter beliefs and attitudes.
The Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, November 15, from 5 to 7 p.m., and the exhibition will open for regular hours on Friday, November 16. Admission to the CADVC and all related events is free.
For All the World to See will be enhanced by a series of public programs organized by the CADVC and by other UMBC divisions. These include For All the World to Hear: Stories from the Struggle for Civil Rights, an oral history, performance and digital humanities project; and lectures and discussions produced by UMBC’s Humanities Forum and Social Sciences Forum. Additional information on these events is available at http://artscalendar.umbc.edu.
About the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture
The Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture is dedicated to the study of contemporary art and visual culture, critical theory, art and cultural history, and the relationship between society and the arts. The CADVC serves as a forum for students, faculty, and the general public for the discussion of important aesthetic and social issues of the day. Disciplines represented include painting, sculpture, drawing, printmaking, photography, digital art, video, film, television, design, architecture, advertising, and installation and performance art.
Since 1989, the CADVC has incorporated a number of public programs into its exhibition programming schedule to further impact the communities it serves. Symposia, lecture series, conferences, film series, visiting artist series, and residencies have all been fundamental in an effort to create an ongoing dialogue about contemporary art and culture. The Center has also initiated a number of projects with Baltimore and surrounding schools to integrate the contemporary artist and their concerns into the classroom. These projects take place on-site at both middle schools and high schools and are team taught by the instructors at these schools, professional artists, and students from the CADVC's Internship Program.
The Center produces one to two exhibition catalogues each year. Each document is fully illustrated and contains critical essays on the given subject by a variety of distinguished professionals in the field. Recent publications include Postmodernism: A Virtual Discussion and Paul Rand: Modernist Design. These books and catalogues are published and are distributed internationally through Distributed Art Publishers.
Since 1992, the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture has actively pursued the organization of exhibitions that contain the aesthetic, theoretical, and educational potential to reach both a national and international audience. Over the years, the CADVC has traveled these exhibition projects to a broad spectrum of museums, professional non-profit galleries, and universities national and internationally. Recent traveling exhibitions include:
- For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights (2010)
- White: Whiteness and Race in Contemporary Art (2003)
- Fred Wilson: Objects and Installations (2001)
- Adrian Piper: A Retrospective (1999)
- Bruno Monguzzi: A Designer's Perspective (1998)
- Minimal Politics (1997)
- Kate Millett, Sculpture: The First 38 Years (1997)
Beyond the scope of these traveling exhibitions, the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture also undertakes projects such as the Joseph Beuys Tree Partnership. As part of the educational mission of the CADVC, one graduate thesis exhibition and one undergraduate senior exhibition are presented each year. This multi-faceted focus for presenting exhibitions, projects and scholarly research publications focused on contemporary art and cultural issues positions the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture in a unique position within the mid-Atlantic region.
Images for Media
High resolution digital images are available for media use:
Image in this release: Ernest C. Withers, Sanitation Workers Assemble in Front of Clayborn Temple for a Solidarity March, Memphis, TN, March 28, 1968, Gelatin silver print, Image: 8 1⁄2 x 14 3⁄4 in., Paper: 16 x 20 in., Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Museum Purchase, © Ernest C. Withers, Courtesy Panopticon Gallery, Boston MA
Missing: Call FBI, 29 June 1964, Offset lithograph, 15 11/16 x 10 7/16 in., Anonymous Gift, 2005, Collection of International Center of Photography, 10.2005
I AM A MAN, 1968, Offset lithography on paper, Copyright: Emerson Graphics, 28 x 22 in., Collection of Civil Rights Archive/CADVC-UMBC, Baltimore, MD
Pamphlet, Frank Cieciorka (Artist), All Power To The People: The Story Of The Black Panther Party, 1970,, 10 x 7 7/16 in., Peoples Press, San Francisco, Collection of Civil Rights Archive/CADVC-UMBC, Baltimore, MD
Posted by tmoore at November 6, 2012 10:56 PM