This exhibition examines the work that trailblazing photographer, Margaret Bourke-White, produced abroad. Drawing on the Cornell Fine Arts Museum’s collection of Bourke-White’s photographs taken in Russia and augmented by loans of her photojournalism conducted during World War II and beyond, the exhibition explores Bourke-White’s groundbreaking subject matter. Beyond her work in Europe, this exhibition will include Bourke-White’s rarely-seen photographs taken in India, Pakistan, and South Africa, among other locations.
As a young photographer, Bourke-White abandoned pictorialism and pursued a documentary vision. Her first photographs of Russia were the earliest images produced by a foreign artist in that country under Joseph Stalin. Later, following her pioneering role as woman photojournalist during World War II, she produced highly emotional images of the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp. These photographs are some of the most powerful works produced in the twentieth century. While Bourke-White’s photographs are often understood in context of her domestic photography and the images she produced as a pioneering photojournalist in Europe during World War II, this exhibition focuses exclusively on her work abroad and demonstrates a more complex understanding of her role as a woman photographer documenting pivotal moments of change, political consequences, cultural shifts, and class transformations.
May 24 – August 26, 2018