A very special and timely exhibition, Gordon Parks: Back to Fort Scott, will open tomorrow at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston (MFA). In addition, the MFA has announced a free open house on Monday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The MFA Says:
Gordon Parks: Back to Fort Scott (January 17–September 13, 2015) traces Parks’ return to his hometown of Fort Scott, Kansas and then to other Midwestern cities, to track down and photograph each of his childhood classmates. On view in the MFA’s Art of the Americas Wing, the exhibition’s 42 photographs were from a series originally meant to accompany a Life magazine photo essay—but for reasons unknown, the story was never published. The images depict the realities of life under segregation in 1950—presenting a rarely seen view of everyday lives of African-American citizens in the years before the Civil Rights movement began in earnest.
This has been on our calendar since we first read about it. We have so much to learn from this multi-talented man.
Make this exhibition more enjoyable by doing your homework before attending.
The MFA gives you some tools for learning about an exhibition like this on it's website. We often rely on the press releases they send out to understand why a particular subject was selected and about the people and organizations that make an exhibition possible. Here's a link to the press release for Gordon Parks: Back to Fort Scott.
For each of its exhibitions, the MFA sets up a page that gives the details and often adds some resources that allow you to learn a bit about the topic before you attend. For this exhibition, they have a slideshow that lets you preview a few of the images and a short video by the curator, Karen Haas.
The museum has also announced the publication of the book Common Wealth: Art by African Americans in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
And, if you want to attend the exhibition at a time when there is something special scheduled around the topic, you'll find a "More Events" button near the top of that page.
We've also taken advantage of the Boston Public Library's resources on Gordon Parks and are reading some of his poetry and his memoir.
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Words: Penny & Ed Cherubino
Photography: © 2015 Penny Cherubino, And screenshots courtesy of the MFA