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Gordon Parks, Doug Barrett photography exhibitions at Beach Museum of Art

Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021

Gordan Parks' Miss Jefferson

This 2017 gelatin silver print of Gordon Parks' "Mrs. Jefferson," taken in 1950, is a gift to Kansas State University from the photographer and the Gordon Parks Foundation. | Download this photo.



MANHATTAN — The Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art at Kansas State University is kicking off its 25th anniversary in style with two partner exhibitions by Kansas photographers: one featuring works of the iconic Gordon Parks and a companion exhibition with works by rising star Doug Barrett.

"Gordon Parks: 'Homeward to the Prairie I Come'" and "Doug Barrett: Find Your Voice" open at the Beach Museum of Art on Tuesday, Sept. 7. View both exhibitions in person through Saturday, May 28, 2022. Online versions also will be offered.

The name of the Parks exhibition comes from the first line of a poem by the Fort Scott native that appeared with a selection of his photographs in a 1984 insert to the Manhattan Mercury celebrating the newspaper's 100th anniversary. Renowned for his photography, writing, films and music, Parks served as an artist-in-residence in Manhattan for part of 1984 at the invitation of the Mercury. The next year he returned to Manhattan for another residency organized by the Manhattan Arts Council and community partners, and partially supported by the newspaper.

The Parks exhibition, in the Marion Pelton Gallery, features photographs related to these two visits to Manhattan and works the artist donated to K-State in 1973 — the first he curated for a public institution.

"The images, representing the broad sweep of Parks' career, constitute a kind of self-portrait aimed at the home crowd," said Beach Museum of Art Curator Aileen June Wang, who co-curated the exhibition with Collections Manager Sarah Price.

Exhibition information is available at beach.k-state.edu. K-State's New Prairie Press will release a digital exhibition catalog on Oct. 28 with new research on Parks and Kansas.

"Homeward to the Prairie I Come" is part of the Gordon Parks Project, a collaboration between the Beach Museum of Art and K-State English department.

"Doug Barrett: Find Your Voice," in the Archie and Dorothy Hyle Family Gallery, exemplifies Parks' influence on contemporary artists. Barrett is a Manhattan-based photographer who makes personal connections with his subjects, especially with the harm they have suffered because of race-based stereotypes.

Barrett’s first museum solo exhibition features three series: "Homeless Veteran Project," "Yuma Street" and "George Floyd Protest." Barrett wrote the text that accompanies each of his photos.

"Barrett invested considerable time and energy embedding himself in his subjects' lives and getting to know them, just as his hero Gordon Parks did," said Wang, who also curated this exhibition. "Barrett also followed Parks' example of telling a story through a combination of texts and images."

Wang said the results are works that distill universal truths of human experience and bring to light, with sincerity, the shared humanity that connects all people.

McCain Auditorium is a programming partner. Watch for additional events with Salina partners. Events related to the exhibitions will be at the museum and offered online unless otherwise noted:

• Gallery conversation with Doug Barrett, in person and livestreamed, at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 16. Register online.

• “Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured the Black and White American" book giveaway, a part of K-State Family Day/Smithsonian Museum Magazine Day activities, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 18.

• "Let's Talk Art: Fort Scott's Gordon Parks Museum and Gordon Parks Festival," featuring a livestream conversation with Kirk Sharp, director of the Gordon Parks Museum, at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30. Register online.

• "Home, What Does It Look Like?: Gordon Park Responds," a livestream talk and conversation with Deborah Willis, chair of the Tisch Department of Photography and Imaging at New York University, 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 4. Register online.

• "Let's Talk Art: Considering the Dance Film 'Martin' by Gordon Parks," at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022. Wang will discuss Parks' 1990 ballet film, "Martin," honoring Martin Luther King Jr., with Theresa Ruth Howard, ballet dancer and founder-curator of Memoirs of Blacks in Ballet. Register online. "Martin" will be screened earlier in the month at the Gordon Parks Museum on the Fort Scott Community College campus. The screening date and time will be posted at beach.k-state.edu.

• "Art for Social Good: A Conversation With Terence Blanchard, Andrew Scott and Kevin Willmott," 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 6, 2022, at McCain Auditorium.

• Concert by Terence Blanchard, the E-Collective and Andrew Scott at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 7, at McCain Auditorium. Tickets can be purchased at the auditorium or online at mccain.k-state.edu.

• The Beach Film Club also will offer virtual discussions, one on African American short films in February and one on the movie "Shaft," directed by Gordon Parks, in April. Dates for both events, which will start at 7:30 p.m., will be announced.

The Beach Museum of Art follows K-State's guidelines for COVID-19 health and safety procedures. Face masks are currently required inside the museum. For more information visit k-state.edu/covid-19.

The museum, 701 Beach Lane, is on the southeast corner of the K-State campus. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays; and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Free parking is available adjacent to the building. To catch a livestream event or view exhibitions online, go to beach.k-state.edu, or watch videos of the museum's special programs and events on its YouTube channel, beach.k-state.edu/videos. For calendar of events in the Art in Motion annual program series visit beach.k-state.edu/calendar.


Beach Museum of Art


Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art


Download the following photo.

Doug Barrett

Doug Barrett's"Will the hate end?" is a 32-by-22-inch print taken in 2020 and is part of the series "George Floyd Protest" in the exhibition of Barrett's work at Kansas State University's Beach Museum of Art.