Northern Illinois University Art Museum Presents New Deal Era Photographs.
The Great Depression, one of the bleakest times in our nation’s history, represented a new moment for government involvement in many facets of American life. The exhibition This Great Nation Will Endure, opens on April 8 and runs through May 28, 2010, at the NIU Art Museum, and examines the national photography project that was part of the Farm Security Agency (FSA), and headed by Roy Stryker. Renowned photographers such as Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Jack Delano, and Arthur Rothstein worked under Stryker’s leadership to create photographs that have come to represent the quintessential picture of life during the Great Depression.
New Deal photographers skillfully recorded the American scene in great detail. Some caught the hard times and poverty of the Depression, but many others captured more commonplace aspects of American life, including views of newsstands and streets, bus stations and roadside rests, churches and movie houses. They moved beyond simply recording, celebrating, or criticizing contemporary life and created visual documents that subtly explored the complex changes in early 20th-century America.
The images in This Great Nation Will Endure include some of the most famous documentary photographs ever produced. They illustrate an incomparable and poignant portrait of Americans from all walks of life and from all over the country, who were trapped by circumstances beyond their control. This traveling exhibition from the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Presidential Museum and Library allows us to explore the photograph’s multiple roles as historical document, persuasive tool, and work of art.
Several programs have been planned in conjunction with this exhibition:
Tuesday, April 13, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m., Hope and Hard Times in the Heartland: Local Voices from the Great Depression, Panel Discussion chaired by Assistant Professor Stanley Arnold, NIU History Department.
Wednesday, April 14, 7:15 – 8:15 p.m., David Kyvig, Distinguished Research Professor, NIU Department of History, will present Documenting the Depression: The Farm Security Administration as the Nation’s Lens, Altgeld room 315.
Wednesday, April 21, 5 pm, Art Museum, Elizabeth Seaton, Eli Associate Curator, Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art at Kansas State University, Manhattan will present a lecture: New Deal Print Exhibitions: A Historical and Critical Perspective
Saturday, April 24, 1:00 – 3:00 pm, Art Museum,Printmaking Workshop for 10-13 year olds. Pre-registration required.
Thursday April 29, 7:00 p.m., Film and discussion led by NIU English and Theatre faculty of Tim Robbin’s Cradle Will Rock, Egyptian Theatre. Rated R. Co-sponsored with the University Honors Program. Free for NIU students with ID. $5 for the general public, $4 for students/seniors 65+. Doors open at 6:30.
Sunday, May 2, 3-4 pm, Public Reception for “If FSA Today…” Exhibition of photographs created by local teens documenting their views of the current economic landscape of DeKalb county.
Friday, May 14, NIU Art Museum Get-On-The-Bus trip to view WPA murals in Chicago with Heather Becker, CEO of the Chicago Conservation Center. We will visit Lane Technical High School, home of 68 murals and then two additional sites that Ms. Becker has chosen to share with us.. Fees charged, contact the museum for more information.