David Owsley Museum of Art

Shout Freedom! Photo League Selections from the Columbus Museum of Art

D-Day Morning, Omaha Beach, 1944
Walter Rosenblum
Lent from Columbus Museum of Art

Chronicling some of the most turbulent chapters in the nation's history—from the Great Depression to World War II to the Cold War—Shout Freedom! Photo League Selections from the Columbus Museum of Art, offers visitors to the David Owsley Museum of Art an opportunity to view documentary images of gritty urban life. Founded in 1936, the Photo League included both amateur and professional photographers who believed in the power of the image to effect social change. For nearly three decades the group blazed the trail in social documentary photography. In 1951, amid McCarthyism and rumored links to Communism, the group disbanded.

In a way similar to how the Internet has changed the current political landscape, improved technology had a political impact in the last century, an impact Shout Freedom! documents.

"In the mid-1930s, printing technology improved, allowing unlimited high-quality photographic reproductions in newspapers and magazines," says Associate Director Carl Schafer. "We take photographs for granted now, and are even skeptical of their veracity. But at that time, photographs were seen as mechanical depictions of reality. Photographs had a lot of power to affect political and social change."

Members of the Photo League included Berenice Abbott, Lewis Hine, Lisette Model, Aaron Siskind, W. Eugene Smith, Paul Strand, and Weegee—some of the most important American artists of the twentieth century.

That the Shout Freedom! exhibition is being shown at this time is opportune."The museum's first full year of operation was 1936," says Director Peter Blume. "As we celebrate our 75th anniversary, we were looking for projects reflective of that time period, and this collection of photographs was made to order."

Shout Freedom! is organized by the Columbus Museum of Art and Arts Midwest. The national tour of this exhibition has been made possible through American Masterpieces support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Exhibition Date: September 17, 2010 - December 5, 2010

David Owsley Museum of Art
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