Issues relating to immigration have been front and center in the news, from the recent travel ban to the border wall to the uncertainty of the Dreamers. From December 14, 2017 through January 27, 2018, Howard Greenberg Gallery will focus on the immigrant experience – from hardship and sacrifice to pride and achievement. The Immigrants will survey the work of more than 40 photographers from the 1860s through 2015, exploring issues of labor, education, and poverty as well as discrimination, assimilation, and a sense of belonging. A portion of proceeds from the exhibition will benefit the International Rescue Committee (IRC), which supports refugee families in crisis.
More than 70 images exploring these important topics will be on view by Ansel Adams, Boushra Almutawakel, Margaret Bourke-White, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Edward Burtynsky, Robert Capa, Imogen Cunningham, Bruce Davidson, Robert Frank, Ernst Haas, Lewis Hine, Dorothea Lange, Alex Majoli, Ruth Orkin, Bill Owens, Gordon Parks, Dulce Pinzón, Augustus Frederick Sherman, W. Eugene Smith, Alfred Stieglitz, Tseng Kwong Chi, and Alex Webb, among others.
Tracing the immigrant’s journey, photographs in the exhibition will lead viewers through sections on otherness, growth, global issues, boundaries, work, and the history of the United States. In addition to iconic images such as Lewis Hine’s Climbing into America, 1905; Alfred Stieglitz’s The Steerage, 1907; and W. Eugene Smith’s Dream Street, 1955-56, the gallery will have on display two historic works by Augustus Frederick Sherman, who documented new arrivals while working as a clerk at the Ellis Island immigration station from 1892 to 1925.
Two rarely seen Dorothea Lange photographs about the incarceration of Japanese Americans by the U.S. during WWII will also be on view in the exhibition. Withheld from the public during the war by the government, Lange’s photographs reveal a hidden truth about a dark chapter in our nation’s history.
Ernst Haas’s Last Displaced Person Boat from 1951 documents that for a limited time, the U.S. authorized permanent residency for 200,000 Europeans displaced by WWII.
Immigration in Israel is depicted by Ruth Orkin in a touching 1951 portrait of three Jewish teenage refugees from Iraq, their faces pressed up against an airplane window landing at Lydda Airport in Tel Aviv.
Among the most poignant images in the exhibition are the portraits of immigrants who told their stories to the photographers. Bill Owens’s 1976 portrait of a worker in a factory notes, “I’m a refugee from China. I sew pockets on pants. Every day I have work, and living here is easy. In China it’s hard to find a job. Someone has to recommend you. I don’t speak English and I’m too old to learn so I’ll never get a better job.” A 2005 print by Dulce Pinzón shows a young man dressed in a Superman costume riding a bike. He is Noe Reyes from the state of Puebla who works as a delivery person in Brooklyn and sends $500 home to his family each week.