11 Curators Choose an Art Piece That Should Hang in the White House's New Gallery

Song Chong

Milk Studios Gallery


Gordon Parks, Outside Looking In, 1956
Gordon Parks, Segregated Drinking Fountain, 1956 

"The artwork that I would select (and this was very hard!) would be one of two photographs by Gordon Parks, Outside Looking In or Segregated Drinking Fountain, which were both taken in 1956 Mobile, Alabama."

"I chose these images for several reasons: one is aesthetic beauty. These are rare color photographs by Parks. But more importantly, I chose these photographs because of the complex narrative that they present on race, opportunity, mobility, and access. With these images, and the other images that form this body of work, Parks highlights the normalized conditions of racism that were insidiously a part of day-to-day life. Racism was hegemonic, and we are still trying to break these signifying chains. I also hope that works like these can remind us that the struggle for civil rights is not a part of our distant past: we have a long way to go, and we stand on the shoulders of giants. (And Gordon Parks is a national treasure!)"

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