The photographs taken under assignment from the Farm Security Administration have long been icons of documentary photography. Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother, Arthur Rothstein’s Dust Storm, Cimarron County, and much of Walker Evans' seminal work later collected in American Photographs, were all products of the FSA and have each defined the period in their own inimitable way.
The FSA represents a high watermark of socially engaged art. With the Great Depression raging in the 1930’s and President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s sweeping legislative actions, collectively known as the New Deal, attempting to stop the economic freefall and to revitalize the country at one and the same time, artists were called upon to act as public servants.
From the program’s earliest days as the Historical Section, a department within the Information Division of the Resettlement Administration, the FSA’s mandate was to educate the public and elected officials about the dire conditions of poverty affecting millions, in order to then make the case for resettling hundreds of thousands of people to more fertile land. The work by these photographers was an instrumental part of moving public opinion and bringing to light just how severely the Depression was eroding standards of living across the country.
We look forward to bringing this exhibition to our gallery walls once normal business operations resume.