The exhibition GORDON PARKS—THE NEW TIDE, EARLY WORK 1940–1950G looks at his mid-century work from the time when “images began to proliferate in picture magazines and on television,” providing an “engaging study of the competing purposes and meanings” of his commissions—journalistic, governmental, industrial, and fashion.*
“My beautiful city is set on rock between two flowing paths of water that run to the sea. My city is tall and jagged—with gold-slated towers… My city chokes on its breath, and sparkles with its false lights—and sleeps restlessly at night. My city is a lone man walking at night down an empty street watching his shadow grow longer as he passes the last lamp post, seeing no comfort in the blank, dark windows, and hearing his footsteps echo against the building and fade away.” — Jerome Robbins
Admired, disparaged, beloved, feared, JeromeRobbins (1918–1998) was one of the great choreographers of the twentieth century. ArthurLaurents told Robbins he was “a shit” for naming names as a “friendly witness” for HUAC. (Robbins feared being exposed as bisexual.) Yet Laurents continued to collaborate with him, most notably on West Side Story. (StephenSondheim, the show’s lyricist, said that Robbins was one of the only geniuses he’d ever worked with.)
Through his work with the American BalletTheatre and New York City Ballet, and on Broadway—On the Town, Gypsy, and Fiddler on the Roof, to name just three shows among dozens—Robbins was indelibly associated with his home base and muse: Manhattan.
A new exhibition curated by Julia Foulkes marks Robbins’ centenary and his lifelong celebration of the city, and includes dance films and videos, diaries, paintings, story scenarios, press clippings, and extensive photographic documentation.
From top: Sharks and Jets dance in West Side Story, on tour in Europe in the early 2000s; the original Fancy Free cast—MurielBentley, Janet Reed, Harold Lang, John Kriza, and Jerome Robbins—in Times Square in 1958, with photographer Gordon Parks leaning over his tripod, courtesy the Jerome Robbins DanceDivision/The New York Public Libraryfor thePerforming Arts; Mikhail Baryshnikov in the NewYork City Ballet production of The Four Seasons (1979), choreographed by Robbins; AntoinetteSibley rehearses Afternoon of a Faun with the choreographer, photograph by Michael Childers, courtesy Dance Magazine; Damian Woetzel and Tiler Peck dance Robbins at Kennedy Center, 2017; Carmen de Lavallade, Robbins, and Yves Saint Laurent—photograph by Whiteside—and Robbins in 1944, both courtesy Dance Magazine.
This is the closing weekend for TRUTH & BEAUTY—CHARLES WHITE AND HIS CIRCLE, an exhibition of works by the great draftsman and his friends and colleagues, reflecting White’s working life in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles—the host cities of his concurrent retrospective.
Among White’s circle and included in the show are Romare Bearden, Betye Saar, Roy DeCarava, Philip Evergood, Robert Gwathmey, David Hammons, Jacob Lawrence, Gordon Parks, Norman Lewis, Ben Shahn, John Biggers, Eldzier Cortor, Kerry James Marshall, and Hale Woodruff.
Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street, New York City.
The retrospective will be on view in Los Angeles in early 2019, along with two coincident exhibitions: LIFE MODEL—CHARLES WHITE ANDHIS STUDENTS at LACMA’s satellite gallery at Charles White Elementary School—formerly Otis Art Institute, where the artist taught for many years—and a show at CAAM.
“As a photographer, film director, composer, and writer, Gordon Parks (1912-2006) was a multi-disciplinary artist whose art and advocacy for social justice still resonates in contemporary culture.
“In collaboration with the Gordon Parks Foundation, this second half of I AM YOU at Jack Shainman Gallery will focus on some of Parks’ most celebrated and iconic imagery; demonstrating his abilities as a photographer and journalist who moved just as seamlessly documenting everyday life and injustice facing African-American families across the country, framing his subjects with compassion amidst unvarnished reality.”*
GORDON PARKS—I AM YOU, through March 24.
JACK SHAINMAN GALLERY, 524 West 24th Street, New York City.