The first museum retrospective of Richards’s work includes 146 photographs, 15 books, and a selection of moving image works
Rochester, N.Y., April 20, 2017—Eugene Richards: The Run-On of Time, an exhibition co-organized by the George Eastman Museum and The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, explores Eugene Richards’s career as a photojournalist and documentary photographer from 1968 to the present. The Run-On of Time is the first museum retrospective devoted to Richards’s work and will open at the George Eastman Museum on June 10. The exhibition will remain on view through October 22.
For more than forty years, photographer Eugene Richards has explored complicated subjects such as racism, poverty, emergency medicine, drug addiction, cancer, family, aging, the effects of war and terrorism, and the depopulation of rural America. Until now, his work has been known primarily through international news and media outlets, for which he created images on assignment, or through books, wherein he delves into his subjects further using his photographs and first-person texts. Through 146 photographs, fifteen books, and selected moving image works, The Run-On of Time provides a fuller understanding of Richards’s career, demonstrating how his personal artistic vision draws on the legacies of W. Eugene Smith and Robert Frank to address the salient issues of our time.
“Eugene Richards is widely respected and internationally renowned for the integrity and power of his work, which is deeply informed by his dedication to socioeconomic issues,” said Lisa Hostetler, Curator in Charge of the Department of Photography, George Eastman Museum. “Through his photographs, writings, and moving image works, he confronts challenging subjects with an impassioned honesty that can be simultaneously controversial, lyrical, beautiful, and melancholy.”
The Run-On of Time will present photographs from all of Richards’s major bodies of work, including Dorchester Days (1978), a study of life in a south Boston neighborhood; Below the Line: Living Poor in America (1987), a documentation of urban and rural poverty; Cocaine True, Cocaine Blue (1994), an in-depth exploration of the social toll of drug use; and Stepping Through the Ashes (2002), pictures of New York in the days after September 11, 2001.
Richards’s most recent projects will also be represented as part of the exhibition, with photographs from The Blue Room (2008), a poetic meditation on the displacement of rural America; A Procession of Them (2008), about his visits to psychiatric facilities around the world; War Is Personal (2010), consisting of empathetic yet unsparing portraits of individuals who experienced the Iraq War firsthand; and Red Ball of a Sun Slipping Down (2014), a reconsideration of his first mature body of work in the Arkansas Delta.
“Richards’s great talent lies in his ability to create photographs with emotional immediacy that ground the overwhelming complexity of social issues in the lived, personal experiences of his subjects’ lives,” notes April M. Watson, Curator of Photography at the Nelson-Atkins. “He cares for his subjects, and brings to our attention deeply human stories which might otherwise go unnoticed. Ultimately, Richards’s photographs reflect an integrity of practice that few photographers are able to achieve, let alone sustain for a lifetime.”
Co-curated by Lisa Hostetler and April M. Watson, the exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue with essays by each of the curators, published by the Hall Family Foundation in association with The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the George Eastman Museum, distributed by Yale University Press. The exhibition will travel to The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, MO, and will be on view there December 9, 2017–April 15, 2018. The presentation of Eugene Richards: The Run-On of Time at the George Eastman Museum is supported in part by the Rubens Family Foundation.
Thursday, June 8, 6–8 p.m.
Exhibition co-curators Lisa Hostetler and April Watson will give remarks in the Dryden Theatre at 6 p.m., and artist Eugene Richards will be present. Cash bar and light refreshments. $15 general admission, $10 students, free for museum members. Reservations are required by calling (585) 234-6064 or e-mailing email@example.com.
Gallery Talk with Eugene Richards
Friday, June 9, 12 p.m.
Eugene Richards and co-curators Lisa Hostetler and April Watson will lead a guided tour of the exhibition. Book signing to follow. Free to museum members; included with museum admission.
Film Screening and Conversation
Wednesday, July 19, 7:30 p.m.
The Dryden Theatre will screen Eugene Richards’s recent films Thy Kingdom Come and The Rain Will Follow, followed by a conversation with Richards and curator Lisa Hostetler. $6 museum members, $8 general, $4 students.
Thursday, September 14, 6 p.m.
Eugene Richards will discuss the work on view in his exhibition. Book signing to follow. Exhibitions open until 8 p.m. Free to museum members, $10 general, $5 students.
Documentary Photography for Teens
July 17–21, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
The George Eastman Museum has partnered with Flower City Arts Center in Rochester to offer a week-long workshop to teach students how to use a 35mm film camera (including f-stops, shutter speeds, ISO, and proper exposure) and how to make their own black-and-white prints in a darkroom. Students will have the unique experience of meeting Eugene Richards for an exclusive tour of his exhibition The Run-On of Time, and an online gallery of students’ work will be created at the completion of the workshop. $300 per person. For more information, visit rochesterarts.org.
About Eugene Richards
Born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, Richards began to photograph seriously while taking classes from Minor White at Massachusetts Institute of Technology after graduating from college. During the Vietnam War, Richards refused the draft and joined VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America), working as a healthcare advocate in eastern Arkansas. Later, he cofounded an organization that published a newspaper, Many Voices, devoted to informing local minority communities of their rights as voters and citizens. Deeply affected both physically and emotionally by the poverty and racial violence he witnessed, Richards found a purpose for his photography. The photographs he made in Arkansas during this period resulted in the publication of his first monograph, Few Comforts or Surprises: The Arkansas Delta (1973). Beginning with this modest yet powerful publication, Richards has used the book format as the primary vehicle for his personal documentary work, publishing more than seventeen monographs throughout his career.
About The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
The Nelson-Atkins in Kansas City is recognized nationally and internationally as one of America’s finest art museums. The museum, which strives to be the place where the power of art engages the spirit of community, opens its doors free of charge to people of all backgrounds. The museum is an institution that both challenges and comforts, that both inspires and soothes, and it is a destination for inspiration, reflection and connecting with others. The Nelson-Atkins serves the community by providing access to its renowned collection of nearly 40,000 art objects and is best known for its Asian art, European and American paintings, photography, modern sculpture, and new American Indian and Egyptian galleries. Housing a major art research library and the Ford Learning Center, the Museum is a key educational resource for the region. In 2017, the Nelson-Atkins celebrates the 10-year anniversary of the Bloch Building, a critically acclaimed addition to the original 1933 Nelson-Atkins Building. For museum information, phone (816) 751-1ART (1278) or visit nelson-atkins.org.
About the George Eastman Museum
Founded in 1947, the George Eastman Museum is the world’s oldest photography museum and one of the largest film archives in the United States, located on the historic Rochester estate of entrepreneur and philanthropist George Eastman, the pioneer of popular photography. Its holdings comprise more than 400,000 photographs, 28,000 motion picture films, the world’s preeminent collection of photographic and cinematographic technology, one of the leading libraries of books related to photography and cinema, and extensive holdings of documents and other objects related to George Eastman. As a research and teaching institution, the Eastman Museum has an active publishing program and, through its two joint master’s degree programs with the University of Rochester, makes critical contributions to the fields of film preservation and of photographic preservation and collection management. For more information, visit eastman.org.
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