Episode No. 315 of The Modern Art Notes Podcast features photographer Beuford Smith and audio from “Teenie Harris Photographs: In Their Own Voice” at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.
With American art institutions increasingly looking at the long-neglected field of photography by African-Americans, this week’s program looks at the work of two museums trying to tell a more complete story of America’s history and art history.
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond is now showing “Like a Study in Black History: P.H. Polk, Chester Higgins and The Black Photographers Annual, Volume 2.” The Black Photographers Annuals were books that were created, published and edited by black artists and that featured the work of black photographers. The Annual was co-founded by Joe Crawford and photographer and editor Beuford Smith, who is the guest on the first segment of this week’s MAN Podcast.
Curated by Sarah Eckhardt, “Like a Study in Black History” is on view through April 15, 2018. It is the second in a series of VMFA collection rotations exploring the four volumes of The Black Photographers Annual (1973-80). (The first exhibition may be accessed here.) In conjunction with the exhibitions, Smith granted the VMFA a license to present the four volumes of The Black Photographers Annual online for two years. Each volume may be accessed here:
Smith is social documentarian who was a founding member of the Kamoinge Workshop (which he later led), a black photography collective. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the New York Public Library and the VMFA; the Studio Museum in Harlem and the International Center for Photography in New York have held exhibitions of his work.
The second segment looks at “Teenie Harris Photographs: In Their Own Voice,” an exhibition at the CMOA through January 28, 2018. The show, the CMOA’s latest in a series of examinations of its Teenie Harris Archive, pairs oral histories with Harris’s pictures. This week’s program features six audio clips from those oral histories; the related photographs are below.
The oral histories were collected by Ben Houston for the Remembering African American Pittsburgh project at Carnegie Mellon University (which Houston leads). The project was developed by CMU’s Center for Africanamerican Urban Studies & the Economy.
Air date: November 16, 2017.