Gordon Parks (American, 1912–2006), Emerging Man, Harlem, New York, 1952. Gelatin silver print. Courtesy of and © The Gordon Parks Foundation. The Capital Group Foundation Photography Collection at Stanford University, 2019.47.30
More Arts Programming at Stanford
Check out the upcoming programs from some of our arts partners within Stanford‘s Vice Presidency for the Arts.
A Loaded Camera: Gordon Parks
Through Jul 3, 2022
This is the third and final exhibition in a series celebrating The Capital Group Foundation Photography Collection at Stanford University, a 2019 gift to the Cantor Arts Center of more than one thousand twentieth-century American photographs. The collection features an outstanding representation of Gordon Parks (1912–2006), whose work as a photographer, writer, composer, and filmmaker repeatedly wrecked the barriers set against African Americans. For the self-taught Parks, born to a family of fifteen children in a segregated Kansas town, making a photograph was never a neutral act. He famously wrote that early on he had understood his camera to be a “weapon against all the things I dislike about America—poverty, racism, discrimination.”
This installation foregounds the significance of portraits—of known, infamous, or anonymous subjects—to Parks’ documentary work. The artist honed his direct visual style during World War II. He learned to anticipate critical moments and invest information in the body, through its gestures and physical context. The volatile civil rights era further sharpened and refined his voice while continuing to expose the deep roots of contemporary racism and economic inequity in the United States. Parks’ portraits and close figure studies offered clear and personal views into black American life. The persuasive humanity of the images is a testament to Parks’ capacity to create objective and documentary art while also motivating social change.
Elizabeth Kathleen Mitchell, PhD, Burton and Deedee McMurtry Curator and Director of the Curatorial Fellowship Program
The Burt and Deedee McMurtry Lecture: Artist Wendy Red Star
in conversation with Karen Biestman
Wed, Apr 27 at 6:30 PM
Bing Concert Hall
Artist Wendy Red Star will deliver the annual Burt and Deedee McMurtry Lecture, a program of the Anderson Collection, and engage in conversation with Karen Biestman, associate dean and director of the Native American Cultural Center and the dean for community engagement and diversity at Stanford. The lecture and conversation will focus on Red Star’s experience as an Apsáalooke (Crow) artist and her exhibition at the Anderson Collection.
Wendy Red Star (left) and Karen Biestman will be in conversation on April 27 for the annual Burt and Deedee McMurtry Lecture.
Wendy Red Star: American Progress on view at the Anderson Collection Apr. 6 to Aug. 28 presents newly created artwork that addresses the racism, displacement, and culture that expanded our country into the Western United States. Installed throughout the first floor of the museum, Red Star explores the ideas of Westward Expansion and Manifest Destiny through the lens of John Gast’s 1872 painting, American Progress. Gast’s painting exemplifies the justification of American settlers driving Indigenous communities off their land during the 19th century. Through the varied lenses of historical research, Stanford student collaborations, large-scale installations, and images of sovereignty, Red Star asks us to grapple with the layered complexity of American history.
In addition to her director and dean roles, Karen Biestman teaches at Stanford’s Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in the areas of federal Indian law, nation building, American Indian religious freedom, and peacemaking. The common thread in her professional roles is the unwavering commitment to promoting academic excellence and institutional support for Native students and creating intellectual forums for thoughtful discourse around critical issues impacting Native communities, their lands, cultures, and sovereignty.