Although Lange’s work constitutes the bulk of the Hunter’s current photographic exhibition, there are 12 other photographers featured in the show. Six of these photographers were, like Lange, involved with the Farm Security Administration. They are Marion Post Walcott, Ben Shahn, Arthur Rothstein, Walker Evans, Russell Lee and John Vachon. Additionally, there are six other documentary photographers, including Wright Morris, Lewis Hine, Arnold Eagle, Willard Van Dyke, Mike Disfarmer and Doris Ulmann.
Many of these photographs contain difficult subjects of displaced people and ruined places. This remains especially true of Lange’s colleagues at the Farm Security Administration. There is much to be gained by looking into the works of photographers like Evans, Lee and others whose works are shown here.
The larger point of this photographic show that documents people’s lives during the earlier 20th century has to do with a more global aesthetic evolution demonstrated in a number of movements that strengthened the connection of arts with ordinary people. Now, more than a half-century later, more and more people possess the intention and the means to produce art. With so many more artists in our own contemporary culture, it’s important to understand the aspirations and choices of artists who have preceded this time.
How many are now stepping into the paths that Dorothea Lange once traversed?
“Dorothea Lange’s America”
Through April 22
Hunter Museum of American Art
10 Bluff View (423) 752-0992 huntermuseum.org