James Van Der Zee and Michael Francis Blake

Picturing the "New Negro" of the 1920s


March 26, 2021October 3, 2021

Location: Rubenstein Library Photography Gallery

SCHEDULING NOTE: Due to COVID 19, it is difficult to know the exact schedule for this exhibition, as of 12/3/2020 the estimated installation is late March 2021.

This exhibition highlights resonances between the work of James VanDerZee and Michael Francis Blake, two African American photographers working in the 1920s at the height of the “New Negro Movement.” Blake’s postcard portraits of the “Lowcountry” inhabitants of Charleston, South Carolina,juxtaposedwith Van Der Zee’s “Big City” subjects in Harlem, New York,reflect a shared ethos of the cultural ferment of the Harlem Renaissance at its height: to document a dignified image of cultural blackness, foster racial pride, and promote an aesthetic refusal to submit to the laws of Jim Crow.