Pace Gallery | Gordon Parks

An exhibition remembering one of the 20th century's most influential artists, on view from July 12 to August 30

Written by

Emma Raff

Photographed by

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Gordon Parks, “Mr. and Mrs. Albert Thornton, Mobile, Alabama” (1956). Archival Pigment Print 50" × 50". © The Gordon Parks Foundation, Courtesy Pace Gallery.

LA'S Pace Gallery is showing Gordon Parks from July 12 to August 30, a display of works from the legendary photographer, composer, filmmaker, and writer Gordon Parks, who documented American society and culture from the 1940s to the 2000s. Self-described as “an objective reporter with a subjective heart,” the exhibition is created in partnership with The Gordon Parks Foundation, co-founded by Parks shortly before his death. The show features around 40 photographs from the 40s to the 80s, capturing the compassion and pride with which Parks portrays his subjects' personal lives.

Born in Fort Scott, Kansas in the midst of the segregation era, Parks went on to become one of the most influential photographers of the 20th Century, deeply engrossed in race relations, poverty, the Civil Rights Movement, and urban life. He worked as a freelance photographer for publications including Vogue, Glamour, and Ebony, and in 1948, he became the first Black staff photographer for Life Magazine where he remained for two decades. During that time, he photographed Black legends including Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Duke Ellington, Adam Clayton Powell Jr., and Stokely Carmichael.

The exhibition will present selections from Parks’ series, Segregation Story (1956) as well as a video installation of his short film, Diary of a Harlem Family (1967). Featured photos include American Gothic (1942), an iconic image of FSA employee Ella Watson posed with a mop and broom in front of the American flag, Baptism (1953), one of several photographs documenting worship and spirituality in Black communities, and a portrait of Muhammad Ali from 1966. 

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Gordon Parks, Pace, Pace Gallery, LA, Civil Rights Movement, The Gordon Parks Foundation, Emma Raff