American Moments: Photographs by John Shearer
America woke from a long sleep in the late 1950’s. The prosperous post-war era was coming to an end and an angry unrest was about to unfurl across a new and troubled landscape. American Moments: Photographs by John Shearer is a symphony of images that tell the story of this turbulent period in American history.
The five-part collection begins with an overview of the period: from the funeral of John F. Kennedy in 1963, the 1968 funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King, and the black rage that followed. The collection’s second movement highlights trailblazers who made a change in the American story. The third movement focuses on Muhammad Ali, the great athlete who moved beyond boxing and became an important voice against the war in Vietnam. The fourth part explores the complex social dynamics of street gangs. The collection concludes with gritty images of the Attica prison riot in 1971, which erupted over the issue of personal liberties in a system of incarceration intent on dehumanization.
The artist says, “I would have loved to cover Bunker Hill during the American Revolution or the Civil War battle of Gettysburg. That was before my time, I was a product of the 60’s, and I am Black. My war was the war on poverty and inequality; its battle cry was the call for social justice.”
Support for this project is provided by the Friends of the Neuberger Museum of Art and the Purchase College Foundation.
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