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Indepth Arts News:

"Half Past Autumn: The Art of Gordon Parks"
2001-06-23 until 2001-09-23
Oakland Museum of California
Oakland, CA, USA

The first retrospective exhibition of works by renowned American artist Gordon Parks will be on view at the Oakland Museum of California beginning June 23 and will run through September 23. Half Past Autumn: The Art of Gordon Parks examines a remarkable career that has produced photographs, films, novels, poetry and music. The exhibition, organized by the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., includes over 200 photographs.

The 88-year-old Parks is best known as a photojournalist, but this exhibition is the first time all genres of his art will be shown together. Using such media as film, poetry and music, Parks expresses his own search for compassion during a time in American history when poverty, race segregation and crime have been major social concerns. A June 22nd Tribute Concert, featuring music composed by Parks and from films he has directed, will kick off the exhibition‚s opening weekend.

The national tour of Half Past Autumn: The Art of Gordon Parks and related programs are made possible by AOL Time Warner and Ford Motor Company. The local presentation of this exhibition is supported by AOL Time Warner, Ford Motor Company and Wells Fargo.

Gordon Parks is one of a rare breed of American artists whose work has provided this country with the opportunity to recognize itself. We feel most privileged to be able to share this exhibition with the people of the Bay Area, says OMCA Director Dennis Power.

Parks has both recorded history and made history. Born in Fort Scott, Kansas, in 1912, Gordon Parks overcame poverty and racism to achieve success in an astonishing range of artistic endeavors. The youngest of 15 children, he moved to Minneapolis after his mother died when he was 16. Before taking up photojournalism Parks worked as a piano player, busboy, basketball player and Civilian Conservation Corpsman. A stint as photographer with the Farm Security Administration during the Depression led to work with Standard Oil, then a series of fashion assignments by Vogue, and, in 1948, a relationship with Life magazine that would last for two decades. An author of novels, photography texts, numerous collections of poetry and four autobiographical volumes, Parks has also directed groundbreaking films (including The Learning Tree and Shaft) and has produced memorable musical compositions ranging from classical to blues to pop.

Johanna Fiore,
Portrait of Gordon Parks, 1997,
Copyright Johanna Fiore.

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