Henrietta Schmoll Rauenhorst Court
GORDON PARKS: A HOMECOMING
March 7 – April 19, 2020
As a companion to A Choice of Weapons, Honor and Dignity: The Visions of Gordon Parks and Jamel Shabazz, the M will open Gordon Parks: A Homecoming, an installation in the Henrietta Shcmoll Rauenhorst Court. March 7 is the anniversary of Parks’s death, and the installation is a celebration of his time here in the Twin Cities. In the late 1930s, Gordon Parks worked as a staff photographer at the St. Paul Recorder and the Minneapolis Spokesman; he shot the latest fashions for Frank Murphy’s Department Store in downtown St. Paul; and he had his first solo exhibition at the Hallie Q. Brown Community Center in Rondo. During his early career, Parks focused on portraiture and fashion photography. He began by taking portraits of Twin Cities society women and went on to contribute pictures to Glamour and Vogue, to shoot Parisian fashions for Life, and to co-found and serve as artistic director for Essence magazine. Parks viewed style as a means of self-expression, a way for people to define themselves and their communities, and a weapon against prejudice and stereotypes.
Gordon Parks: A Homecoming pairs works from Parks’s years in the Twin Cities with pictures inspired by them. In her latest project with the Lovin’ The Skin I’m In initiative (founded in 2004), Robin Hickman-Winfield partnered with students at Gordon Parks High School and Frank Murphy’s Fashions to stage photographs inspired by Parks’s years in the Twin Cities and his life-long interest in capturing beauty and fostering self-esteem.
This installation was organized in collaboration with Robin Hickman-Winfield, Hallie Q. Brown Community Center, and the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder. Special thanks to Phoebe McGowan, Dawn Selle, Dr. Catherine Squires, and Tracey Williams-Dillard.