“Lewis Hine: The Rise of a Landmark” at Walsh Art Gallery
American photographer Lewis Wickes Hine (1874-1940) documented the construction of the Empire State Building at every stage of the building of this New York City landmark, from its inception in the bedrock to its spectacular appearance on the Manhattan skyline. Fairfield University’s Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery presents 51 of these engaging photographs in the exhibition Lewis Hine: The Rise of a Landmark on view September 12, 2013 through November 26, 2013. The photographs emerging from Hine’s yearlong project do more than glorify the magnificent building; they speak to the integrity and courage of the workers who constructed it and explore the human condition in early 20th-century urban America. Moffly Media is exclusive media sponsor for special exhibitions at the Thomas J. Walsh Gallery during the 2013-14 academic year.
Besides being a photographer, Lewis Hine taught botany and nature studies at New York City’s Ethical Culture School from 1901 until 1908. In his photography, he used his lens to highlight the bleak realities of a nation caught in the thrall of progress and mechanization. Intensely committed to the cause of social welfare, Hine focused his Graflex on child laborers, immigrants, and the working poor, immortalizing their plights and ennobling their lives. Many of his photographs were commissioned by investigatory bodies, including the National Child Labor Committee, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the American Red Cross. Hine himself referred to his photographs of the working poor, including those on view in the exhibition, as “work portraits” (emphasis added); a nod to his steadfast desire to capture character as well as historical fact. “More than an art form, photography was for Lewis Hine a critical instrument, capable of promoting enlightenment and education by exposing prejudice, marginalization, and exploitation,” said Jill Deupi, J.D., Ph.D., Director and Chief Curator of University Museums. “In thenearly 1,000 exposures he took of the mammoth skyscraper as it rose wondrously, Hine was demonstrating his commitment to memorializing mankind’s capacity for ‘productive’ energy (his term), interwoven with an innuendo of moral judgments and social imperatives. The result, to which this exhibition bears ample witness, is a visceral record of the collision of man, nature, and technology.”
Lewis Hine: The Rise of a Landmark was organized by George Eastman House (Rochester, NY). The Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery is free and open to the public. Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and one hour prior to curtain and during intermission at all Quick Center events. The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts is located on the campus of Fairfield University at 1073 North Benson Road in Fairfield, Connecticut. Entrance to the Quick Center is through the Barlow Road gate at 200 Barlow Road. Free, secure parking is available. Access for people with disabilities is available throughout the Quick Center. Fairfield University is located off exit 22 of Interstate-95. For further information and directions, call (203) 254-4010 or 1-877-278- 7396, or visit www.fairfield.edu/quick.
JPEG Caption: Lewis W. Hine (American, 1874-1940). Icarus Atop Empire State Building, 1931. Gelatin Silver Print, Gift of the Photo League, New York, ex-collection Lewis Wickes Hine. George Eastman House Collection