Picturing Puerto Rico under the American Flag: The Photographs of Louise Rosskam, 1937-1948
Guest-curated by Laura Katzman
On view at Hunter College East Harlem Art Gallery: May 11 – July 21, 2012
Opening reception: Thursday, May 10, 2012 6:30 – 8:30pm
Gallery hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 1 – 6pm
The Hunter College East Harlem Art Gallery is pleased to present Picturing Puerto Rico under the American Flag: The Photographs of Louise Rosskam, 1937-1948 on view from May 11th – July 21st. This exhibition features the work of Louise Rosskam (1910-2003), a pioneer of the golden age of 20th century American documentary photography. With little concern for credit, Rosskam always insisted that it was the social purpose of her projects that were paramount, not the promotion of her career. The exhibition highlights her most compelling and compassionate images - the photographs she created on the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico in the New Deal and post-World War II eras.
Picturing Puerto Rico is the first exhibition to focus exclusively on Louise Rosskam’s work in Puerto Rico. It has brought together 60 photographs drawn largely from the Library and Archives of Centro, Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, as well from the collection of Ani Rosskam and Susan Marchon, and a private collection in Washington, D.C.
The bulk of the exhibition focuses on Rosskam’s exhaustive postwar documentation commissioned by the Office of Information for Puerto Rico (OIPR), the island’s government agency for which she recorded Puerto Rico’s social conditions and its breathtaking transformation from an agricultural to an industrial economy. Louise and Edwin Rosskam bonded strongly as friends and trusted advisors of Luis Muñoz Marín, the charismatic Senate President, Popular Democratic Party leader, and architect of the 1952 establishment of Puerto Rico’s status as a Commonwealth (Estado Libre Asociado).
Picturing Puerto Rico under the American Flag: The Photographs of Louise Rosskam, 1937-1948 was guest-curated by Laura Katzman, Associate Professor of Art History, James Madison University. This exhibition is made possible by the Hunter College East Harlem Art Gallery and the President’s Office, co-sponsored by Centro, Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, CUNY.