John Shearer was a witness to pivotalevents in 20th century American history and hecaptured themwith his camera through the lens of race, politics, and civil rights. His photos of three-year old John-John saluting the coffin of his father, President John F. Kennedy at the funeral procession; the rage and sorrow of the crowd gathered at the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King; the brutal assault by law enforcement authorities on rioting inmates at Attica prison; violent anti-war protests in Chicago; and street gangs inthe South Bronx are iconic. As one of America’s premier photojournalists, Shearer captured many defining moments, but it was social disparity and injustice that he cared the most about illuminating. “Black America is my beat,” he once declared.
Beginning September 26, 2018, over forty ofShearer’s compelling photographs from the 1960s and 1970s, taken during periods of intense turmoil and upheaval in the United States, will be on view in American Moments: Photographs by John Shearer, at the Neuberger Museum of Artthrough December 23, 2018.The exhibition is divided into what Shearer describes as “a symphony of images that tell the story of a turbulent period in American history,” and is curated by Helaine Posner, the Museum’s Chief Curator. Support has been provided by theFriends of the Neuberger Museum of Art,and the Purchase College Foundation.
The newly printed works are organized into five parts: the first is an overview of the period, beginning with the funeral of John F. Kennedy in 1963, then the 1968 funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King and the black rage that followed. The second highlights trailblazers who stimulated change in the American story. The third focuses on the charismatic Muhammad Ali, one of America’s greatestboxers, who became an important voice against the war in Vietnam. The fourth explores the complex social dynamics of street gangs, and the fifth concludes with gritty images of the Attica prison riot in 1971, which erupted over the lack of personal liberty and dehumanization in the American system of incarceration.(Shearer was the only photographer allowed inside the prison during the assault.)
Cost: $5.00 General Public
$3.00 Seniors 62+
Free admission for Museum members, children 12 and under, and Purchase College students, faculty, and staff; FWMA institutions.