Each week, Artful spotlights an art experience or destination that speaks to us right now.
During his two decades of working for Life magazine, where in 1948 he became the first Black photographer to be given a staff position, Gordon Parks (1912-2006) covered the Civil Rights movement as both an observer and a participant. His images reflect not just the cruel rules and rituals of racism and segregation, but also the daily negotiations of people living under them. The first show in a two-part exhibition at the London gallery Alison Jacques, organized with the Gordon Parks Foundation, presents images from two of his published photo-essays. Black Muslims, a look at religious and political gatherings of the early 1960s, captures scenes of peaceful protest in New York and Chicago; Segregation in the South, photographed in Alabama in 1956, follows three Black families as they navigate a landscape of labeled drinking fountains and ice cream counters. Part Two of the exhibition, opening September 1, will show off Parks's gifts as a portraitist (of, in this case, the boxer Muhammad Ali) but Part One, which runs through August 1, is a chance to appreciate his keen eye for the strength and endurance that comes from a sense of community.