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Baldwin Lee

September 22 – November 22, 2022

Untitled, 1983-1989, Gelatin silver print; printed 1983-1989

Untitled, 1983-1989

Gelatin silver print; printed 1983-1989

15 x 19 inches

DeFuniak Springs, Florida, 1984, Gelatin silver print; printed c.1984

DeFuniak Springs, Florida, 1984

Gelatin silver print; printed c.1984

15 x 18 7/8 inches

Rosedale, Mississippi, 1985  Gelatin silver print; printed c.1985  15 x 18 7/8 inches

Rosedale, Mississippi, 1985

Gelatin silver print; printed c.1985

15 x 18 7/8 inches

Untitled, 1983-1989  Gelatin silver print; printed 1983-1989  15 x 18 7/8 inches

Untitled, 1983-1989

Gelatin silver print; printed 1983-1989

15 x 18 7/8 inches

Montgomery, Alabama, 1984  Gelatin silver print; printed c.1984  15 x 18 7/8 inches

Montgomery, Alabama, 1984

Gelatin silver print; printed c.1984

15 x 18 7/8 inches

Plain Dealing, Louisiana, 1984  Gelatin silver print; printed c.1984  15 x 18 7/8 inches

Plain Dealing, Louisiana, 1984

Gelatin silver print; printed c.1984

15 x 18 7/8 inches

Vicksburg, Mississippi, 1983  Gelatin silver print; printed c.1983  15 x 18 7/8 inches

Vicksburg, Mississippi, 1983

Gelatin silver print; printed c.1983

15 x 18 7/8 inches

Untitled, 1983-1989  Gelatin silver print; printed 1983-1989  15 x 18 7/8 inches

Untitled, 1983-1989

Gelatin silver print; printed 1983-1989

15 x 18 7/8 inches

Vicksburg, Mississippi, 1984  Gelatin silver print; printed c.1984  15 x 18 7/8 inches

Vicksburg, Mississippi, 1984

Gelatin silver print; printed c.1984

15 x 18 7/8 inches

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 1985  Gelatin silver print; printed c.1985  15 x 18 7/8 inches

Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 1985

Gelatin silver print; printed c.1985

15 x 18 7/8 inches

Boyle, Mississippi, 1985  Gelatin silver print; printed c.1985  15 x 18 7/8 inches

Boyle, Mississippi, 1985

Gelatin silver print; printed c.1985

15 x 18 7/8 inches

Untitled, 1983-1989  Gelatin silver print; printed 2022  32 x 40 inches

Untitled, 1983-1989

Gelatin silver print; printed 2022

32 x 40 inches

Lakeland, Florida, 1984  Gelatin silver print; printed c.1984  15 x 18 7/8 inches

Lakeland, Florida, 1984

Gelatin silver print; printed c.1984

15 x 18 7/8 inches

Montgomery, Alabama, 1984  Gelatin silver print; printed c.1984  15 x 18 7/8 inches

Montgomery, Alabama, 1984

Gelatin silver print; printed c.1984

15 x 18 7/8 inches

Untitled, Valdosta, Georgia, 1984  Gelatin silver print; printed c.1984  18 7/8 x 15 inches

Untitled, Valdosta, Georgia, 1984

Gelatin silver print; printed c.1984

18 7/8 x 15 inches

Untitled, 1983-1989, Gelatin silver print; printed 1983-1989

Untitled, 1983-1989

Gelatin silver print; printed 1983-1989

15 x 18 7/8 inches

New Orleans, Louisiana, 1983-1989  Gelatin silver print; printed 1983-1989  15 x 18 7/8 inches

New Orleans, Louisiana, 1983-1989

Gelatin silver print; printed 1983-1989

15 x 18 7/8 inches

Untitled, Monroe, Louisiana, 1985  Gelatin silver print; printed c.1985  15 x 18 7/8 inches

Untitled, Monroe, Louisiana, 1985

Gelatin silver print; printed c.1985

15 x 18 7/8 inches

Valdosta, Georgia, 1984  Gelatin silver print; printed c.1984  15 x 18 7/8 inches

Valdosta, Georgia, 1984

Gelatin silver print; printed c.1984

15 x 18 7/8 inches

Vicksburg, Mississippi, 1983  Gelatin silver print; printed c.1983  15 x 18 7/8 inches

Vicksburg, Mississippi, 1983

Gelatin silver print; printed c.1983

15 x 18 7/8 inches

Natchez, Mississippi, 1984  Gelatin silver print; printed c.1984  18 7/8 x 15 inches

Natchez, Mississippi, 1984

Gelatin silver print; printed c.1984

18 7/8 x 15 inches

Nashville, Tennessee, 1983  Gelatin silver print; printed c.1983  15 x 18 7/8 inches

Nashville, Tennessee, 1983

Gelatin silver print; printed c.1983

15 x 18 7/8 inches

Richmond, Virginia, 1988  Gelatin silver print; printed 2022  32 x 40 inches

Richmond, Virginia, 1988

Gelatin silver print; printed 2022

32 x 40 inches

Vicksburg, Mississippi, 1984  Gelatin silver print; printed c.1984  15 x 18 7/8 inches

Vicksburg, Mississippi, 1984

Gelatin silver print; printed c.1984

15 x 18 7/8 inches

Press Release

In 1983, the photographer Baldwin Lee left his home in Knoxville, Tennessee, and set off on a road trip through the American South. He did not know what his subject would be, but during the trip, he found himself drawn to photographing Black Americans at home, at work and at play, in the street and amid nature. Over the next seven years, he made numerous road trips to the South to continue his work. He returned with images so poignant and piercing, the Museum of Modern Art in New York acquired his photographs.

 

Nearly 40 years after Lee’s initial 2,000-mile road trip, the first solo exhibition of his work in New York will be on view at Howard Greenberg Gallery from September 22 through November 12, 2022. The exhibition Baldwin Lee coincides with the publication of a new monograph of his work by Hunters Point Press in New York in September.

 

The exhibition at Howard Greenberg Gallery will present 30 photographs selected from the book, from an archive containing nearly 10,000 black-and-white negatives from the seven-year period. The images by Lee, a first generation Chinese American, show an intimate portrayal of daily life in the American South that is considered to be among the most remarkable in the last half century. Most of the work in the exhibition has never before been on public view. His compelling depictions of childhood pleasures, the working life of adults, the bonds among families and communities reveal the artist’s unique commitment to picturing life in America.

 

As Lee has written about his Southern experiences: “My profession was announced as I walked down the road by the tripod-mounted, large-format wooden camera perched on my left shoulder. I had long since discovered that walking is by far the most useful way to increase your chances of encountering interesting people and situations. I was making my way along a street in a dilapidated commercial area on the outskirts of downtown Augusta, Georgia, when a beater van slowed as it passed. A slowing vehicle usually means one of two things. Either it is a random innocent event, or you are being checked out, perhaps out of curiosity. It is not every day that people see an Asian man in the black section of town carrying a big camera.” A couple inside the van invites Lee in: “A short time later we arrived at a funeral home. The man and his wife had lost their baby a few days before.” Baldwin was asked to take a photograph of the baby.

 

The curator Joshua Chuang noted, "The pictures stand apart, not because they are depictions of Black subjects by a first-generation Chinese American, but because they were made by a photographer of rare perception and instinct."