October 17, 2020 - January 3, 2021
In 1952, Roy DeCarava was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to photograph people and everyday life in Harlem, where he was born and raised. As he explained in his application for the fellowship, he did not want to make a “documentary or sociological statement,” but rather a “creative expression” of Black American life. From street scenes to intimate family moments, DeCarava portrayed his subjects in this series and in his work in the decades that followed, with unparalleled warmth, humanity, and beauty. Perhaps most striking are the rich tonalities in DeCarava’s prints and his sensitive use of light, which remarkably transform a quiet hallway or an empty hotel room into an aesthetic experience.
This installation of 14 photographs is presented in the Exhibition Hall on the first floor of the museum.
Generous support for this exhibition has been provided by the Francesca S. Woodman Exhibitions Fund.