The Whole World Was Watching

Civil Rights-Era Photographs From The Menil Collection

SEPTEMBER 21, 2012 – JANUARY 6, 2013

This exhibition presents a selection of civil rights-era photographs from an extraordinary gift to the Menil Collection by Adelaide de Menil and Edmund Carpenter. The work, by Dan Budnik, Danny Lyon, Bruce Davidson, Leonard Freed, Bob Adelman, Charles Moore, and Elliott Erwitt, captures the profound changes taking place in the United States beginning in the 1960s. It includes a wide variety of striking images that deal with race and politics: marchers on the road from Selma to Montgomery, Dr. Martin Luther King in protest, cotton workers in the Mississippi Delta, prison labor camps in Texas, and the Ku Klux Klan.

The photographers in the show were involved with showing the world both the struggle and the victories of those fighting for civil rights. As artists, their work is not only important photojournalistic documentation, but the photographs are also extraordinary works of art. With complex formal compositions and masterful plays with light and framing, they are indelible statements.

The exhibition is organized by the Menil Collection, Houston. In Houston, this exhibition was realized through the generous support of Mark Wawro and Melanie Gray; Roy and Evelyn Nolen; The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation; Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P.; Goldman, Sachs & Co.; Nina and Michael Zilkha; and the City of Houston.

Support for The Whole World Was Watching is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts;
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; The Brown Foundation, Inc., of Houston;
Wells Fargo; substance; Marty Gross; and Faegre Baker Daniels LLP.

Above: Dan Budnik
March On Washington. Martin Luther King Jr. moments after delivering his 'I HAVE A DREAM' speech, Lincoln Memorial, 1963 (Aug. 28)
(c) Dan Budnik 1999
The Menil Collection, Houston, gift of Edmund Carpenter and Adelaide de Menil
Photo: © Hester + Hardaway Photographers Fayetteville Texas

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