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New Orleans Museum of Art Presents The Art of Caring: A Look at Life Through Photography

NEW ORLEANS, LA.- From May 16 to October 11, the New Orleans Museum of Art presents The Art of Caring: A Look at Life Through Photography, a major exhibition of more than 200 works exploring the moments that shape our being, from intimate memories to historic tragedies. Renowned photographer Annie Leibowitz sets the tone with a preface comprised of images hand-picked from her archive to illustrate the exhibition’s seven thematic components: Children and Family, Love, Wellness, Disaster, Caregiving and Healing, Aging and Remembering.

The Art of Caring showcases several works from the Time/LIFE Picture Collection, including recognizable classics by such legendary photographers as Alfred Eisenstadt, Gordon Parks, W. Eugene Smith and Margaret Bourke-White. Contemporary artists include other established photographers such as Tina Barney, Philip-Lorca Dicorcia, Nan Goldin, Sally Mann, Larry Sultan, Chester Higgins, Robert Polidori, Tatsumi Orimoto, Nicholas Nixon, Dona Schwartz and Neal Slavin. The exhibition features as well the work of emerging artists Elinor Carucci, Albert Chong, Misty Keasler, Jessica Todd Harper, Jeff Charbonneau and Eliza French.

A series of corresponding HBO Films will further illustrate the seven themes. For example, Spike Lee’s When the Levees Broke will complement the still photography of the “Disaster” segment.

“This exhibition does not purport to demonstrate that man is inherently good and caring,” said New Orleans Museum of Art Director E. John Bullard. “However, it does allege that through unpredictable life circumstances during both major and minor events, caring people around the world make incredible differences in the lives of others. We’re very proud to be offering such a thought-provoking exhibition to our audeinces from Louisiana and around the world.”

More about The Art of Caring
Beginning at the conclusion of World War II, the slightly more than 60-year time span encompassed by the photographs in this exhibition allows the viewer to witness many of the great events that shaped the last half-century, as well as those that are shaping the new millennium. The stage was set during World War II for photography to take on an unprecedented role as chronicler, consciousness raiser and educator. Throughout the war, new magazines like Life, as well as Vu in France and the Picture Post in Britain, were credited for turning “…documentary photographers into photojournalists and photojournalists like Robert Capa, Margaret Bourke-White and W. Eugene Smith into heroes.”

After the Second World War, photo-essays by photographers like Smith and Gordon Parks in Life were credited with helping to stoke “the ‘can-do’ energy of the times.” By the 1970s, many of the same established photo-journalists, whose images stirred a nation and world, saw their professional lives evolve from careers replete with opportunities to have work published in Life, Look and other magazines, to earning a livelihood from less constant sources upon the demise of these same publications. At the same time, the advent of color photography and its acceptance as a legitimate artistic medium closed the gap between fine art and commercial work in new ways.

Caring Partners
The people of New Orleans are critically aware of how desperately help can be needed in order to survive, and how a timely, caring hand, gesture or other assistance can determine one’s very survival. In organizing this exhibition the New Orleans Museum of Art has reached out and invited to participate as our community partners a number of organizations that played and continue to play a role not only in the recovery of New Orleans after Katrina, but also New York after September 11, Indonesia after the tsunami in 2004, in the Sudan today, as well as in innumerable disasters around the globe over the time span covered by the photographs on display. The crisis in daily healthcare was also instrumental in our selection of partners.

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