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The Bitter Years: Dorthea Lange and Walker Evans Photographs from the Martin Z. Margulies Collection

The Gibbes Museum of Art will exhibit some of the finest examples of 20th century American photography in the museum’s third-floor galleries from Sept. 8, 2023 – Jan. 14, 2024. The Bitter Years: Dorthea Lange and Walker Evans Photographs from the Martin Z. Margulies Collection showcases 65 photographs by renowned American photographers Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Marion Post Wolcott, Jack Delano and others who launched their careers as documentarians of the Great Depression. The exhibition is a tribute to the 1962 Bitter Years exhibition organized by the illustrious curator Edward Steichen for the Museum of Modern Art.

“We’re pleased to be able to share this spectacular collection of 20th century documentary photography. The Farm Security Administration’s effort to create a visual picture of the effects of the Great Depression on American citizens was a project of monumental scale and the first of its kind,” says Angela Mack, executive director of the Gibbes Museum of Art. “The show features images of the era from across the country but each of these major photographers traveled through and worked in South Carolina as well.”

Working for the Farm Security Administration, a branch of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal program, these photographers were hired to capture the social landscape of the country, highlighting the challenges facing Americans between 1935 and 1944. As one photographer articulated, “the idea is to show New York to Texans and Texas to New Yorkers.” The Martin Z. Margulies Photography Collection includes over 100 photographs from the Farm Security Administration, and 65 of them were selected for this exhibition.

The Margulies Collection is the largest photography collection of its kind in South Florida, with over 4,000 vintage and contemporary works from the most important figures of the 20th and 21st centuries. Former Gibbes Distinguished Lecture Series keynote speaker, Martin Z. Margulies, has been named by ARTnews magazine as one of the top 25 photography collectors in the world and has collected photographs for more than 25 years. The collection continues to advance and reflect on the cultural significance and historical importance of the photographic medium in our contemporary society.

This exhibition is co-curated by Katherine Hinds and Jeanie Ambrosio of The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse. The Margulies Collection will be complemented by a group of photographs from the Library of Congress Collection, featuring images taken in South Carolina by the FSA photographers.

This exhibition is presented at the Gibbes by the generous support of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, the Jane Smith Turner Foundation and the Gibbes Women’s Council.

September 8, 2023 - January 14, 2024

Gibbes Museum of Art
135 Meeting Street
Charleston, SC 29401

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