No. 315: Beuford Smith on The Black Photographers Annual, Teenie Harris

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.

The exhibition and the related audio may be more fully accessed via its app, which is available for both Apple and Android devices.

Air date: November 16, 2017.

Roger Tucker, untitled, before 1974.

John Sloan, The Wake of the Ferry II, 1907.

Opening two-page spread of The Black Photographers Annual, Vol. 1, 1973. Both photographs by Morris Rogers.

From the Beuford Smith portfolio in The Black Photographers Annual, Vol. 2.

From the Beuford Smith portfolio in The Black Photographers Annual, Vol. 2.

From the Beuford Smith portfolio in The Black Photographers Annual, Vol. 2.

From the Beuford Smith portfolio in The Black Photographers Annual, Vol. 2.

From the Beuford Smith portfolio in The Black Photographers Annual, Vol. 2.

Prentice Herman Polk, The Boss, 1932/81.

Prentice Herman Polk, Henry Baker, 1932/81.

Teenie Harris, Brick wall of Pittsburgh Railways Company Shops with graffiti reading “Nigger, Monkey, Darkey,”
Homewood and Frankstown Avenues, Homewood, August 1955.

Teenie Harris, Members of Pittsburgh Housing Authority and politicians pulling rope attached to pillar of
dilapidated house, with workers on porch, porch roof, and roof, Kirkpatrick Street, Hill District, 1951.

Teenie Harris, Crowd, including Greta Richardson fourth from right, holding signs inscribed “Andy Jackson need
not have died” and “Detour, Speedway closed for lack of lights and police protection,” on
Webster Avenue near Morgan Street, Hill District, August 1951.

Teenie Harris, Elderly woman holding Pittsburgh Courier newspaper with headline reading “Reverend King Freed:
Albany Tense” seated in armchair, July 1962.

Teenie Harris, Police officers, including Sam Karam, in riot gear pursuing individuals in crowd with Washington, 1968.

Teenie Harris, Members of Black Berets of Homewood leading protest march against discrimination in construction jobs, Fifth Avenue, Oakland, August 1969.

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