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Shout Freedom! Photo League Selections from the Columbus Museum of Art

May 21 - September 4, 2011

Jerome Liebling, Butterfly Boy, New York, 1949, gelatin silver print. Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio: Photo League Collection, Museum Purchase with funds provided by Elizabeth M. Ross, the Derby Fund, John S. and Catherine Chapin Kobacker, and the Friends of the Photo League.
The Photo League (1936-1951) was a non-profit organization of photographers based in New York City and committed to the transformative power of photography to effect social change. Its members included Berenice Abbott, Lewis Hine, Lisette Model, Aaron Siskind, W. Eugene Smith, Paul Strand, and Weegee, some of the most important American artists of the 20th century.

The Photo League was comprised of both amateur and professional photographers and can be seen as the urban counterpart to the more visible, government-sponsored Farm Security Administration project which lasted from 1936 until 1941. The Photo League was the heart and soul of social documentary photography until McCarthy hysteria shut it down in 1951. In 2001, the Columbus Museum of Art (Ohio) acquired a major collection of work by 70 members of the Photo League, which served as the basis for the 55 black-and-white vintage photographs in this exhibition.

Shout Freedom! was organized by the Columbus Museum of Art and Arts Midwest. The national tour of this exhibition has been made possible through American Masterpieces support from the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art. The Cedar Rapids presentation of this exhibition is supported in part by Bradley & Riley PC and the Momentum Fund of The Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation.


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