ANDERSEN NORTH presents
Baruch & Pirkle Jones
Panther Photographs, 1968
January 21 -
February 25, 2012
Saturday, January 21, 2012, 6 - 9PM
a special screening of
Black Power Mixtape, 1967-1975
2011 documentary featuring never-before seen footage of
Power Movement taken by a group of Swedish journalists
the late '60s and early '70s, edited by director Göran Hugo Olsson.
Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 -
Movie Trailer (2011) HD
Baruch, "Black Panther Guards, Free Huey Rally, DeFremery Park,
1968", Gelatin silver print, 16"x20"
photographed the Black Panthers intensively from July into October of
1968, during the peak of a historic period and in the Bay Area, where the
Black Panthers National Headquarters is located. We couldn't possibly
photograph all the aspects of this virile, rapidly growing, and
deep-rooted movement, but we can show you: this is what we saw, this is
what we felt, and these are the people."
- Pirkle Jones and Ruth-Marion Baruch, 1969
The San Francisco Bay
Area was a turbulent cauldron in the sixties. The Free Speech Movement,
Vietnam War protests, Haight-Ashbury, Love-Ins and the Black Panthers
were all part of the roiling pot of political change, cultural unrest and
social upheaval. Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, students at Merritt College
in Oakland, California founded the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense
in 1966, and by 1968 the movement had spread to over 15 U.S. cities with
an estimated membership of over 10,000 people nationwide.
The party set out to
create practical change, and distinguished itself from both the
non-violent civil rights movement of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the
black nationalist rhetoric of Malcolm X, instead aligning itself with
socially, politically and economically oppressed people throughout the
Communications Director Kathleen Cleaver recalls the Panthers as "a
mobilization of tremendously talented but very young Black people who had
little financial and institutional resources, but we had unlimited
imagination.... We had to imagine how we could make a fundamental change
in the United States that would make Black People's lives better."
vilification by the mainstream media and a rash of internal conflicts
that would eventually divide the party, the Black Panthers were able to
combine divergent activities in a unique way. They provided free
breakfasts for school children and other community service programs.
Simultaneously, they ran electoral campaigns, challenged racist
exploitation, published a newspaper, organized schools, engaged in armed
clashes with police forces, formed international alliances with nations
and movements that shared their ideologies, and advocated a revolutionary
transformation of the political system of the United States.
By 1968, however,
optimism had taken some serious hits. FBI Chief J. Edgar Hoover vilified
the Black Panthers as "the greatest threat to the internal security
of the United States." Huey Newton was awaiting trial for allegedly killing
an Oakland, California police officer.
and Pirkle Jones
entered the scene at this critical moment. Baruch had proposed a
photographic essay on the Black Panthers to Jack McGregor, Director of
the De Young Museum in San Francisco, with the idea of presenting
"the feeling of the people." McGregor agreed to show the
photographs that same year, understanding the timeliness of the subject
After gaining permission to photograph the Free Huey Rally at DeFremery
park from Panther Party leaders Kathleen and Eldridge Cleaver, Baruch set
out to document the party for the next several months, bringing husband
Pirkle Jones to photograph alongside her. After showing the Cleavers
their first photographs, they were given unprecedented access to the
Party and its inner circle.
Stemming from the artists' work with the Peace and Freedom Party, the
project reflects a desire to capture in images a closer understanding of
the Black Panthers and their organization.
The work of Baruch and Jones stands in radical contrast to mass media
images of the time depicting the Panthers as thugs, criminals, or
dangerous subversives. Their pictures reflect the dignity and humanity
that animated the young revolutionaries, and also suggest universal themes
of family, commitment, and hope for the future.
McGregor cancelled the De
Young show, fearing media backlash, but when Baruch and Jones fought
against the censorship, he eventually agreed to let the exhibition go
forward. In December 1968,
A Photographic Essay on the Black Panthers opened to
record crowds and was viewed by over 100,000 people before traveling to
three other venues. The Vanguard, A Photographic Essay on the Black
Panthers was published in 1970 by Beacon Press, and Black Panthers, 1968,
which includes an essay by Kathleen Cleaver was published by Greybull
Press in 2002.
February is Black History
Month 2012 and in conjunction with this exhibition, Smith Andersen
North will be screening The
Black Power Mixtape, 1967 - 1975, a 2011 documentary
containing footage shot by a group of Swedish journalists who documented
the Black Power Movement in the United States in the late '60s and '70s.
The documentary has been edited together by contemporary Swedish
filmmaker Göran Hugo Olsson and features extraordinary, virtually unseen
footage from the Black Power Movement.
additional information, please contact:
Kirkeby or gallery manager Jennifer O'Keeffe
Pirkle Jones, "Kathleen Neal Cleaver, DeFremery Park, Oakland,
1968", Gelatin silver print, 16"x20"
Right: Pirkle Jones, "Black Panther Demonstration, Alameda County
Courthouse, 1968", Gelatin silver print, 20"x16"
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