Historical Heroes in the Lamont Gallery
Where on campus can you find a close up shot of Andy Warhol and his infamous glasses, or Ray Charles performing at a nightclub in 1965, or even Robert Kennedy during his presidential campaign? One might think these pictures could only be found hanging in the Smithsonian; however, Exonians now have the privilege to find these photos, and more, on campus in the Lamont Gallery.
Director of the Lamont Gallery Karen Burgess Smith brought photographer Steve Schapiro’s work to the academy through a circulating exhibitions company called art2art. "When I go to the American Association of Museum’s conferences, art2art is always there. Their exhibits were always too expensive but the time I went, there was information on Steve Schapiro and it was possible to bring his art here," Smith said. In addition to having Schapiro’s photographs here, the artist himself will come to the Academy to work with photography students and speak about his work.
Steve Schapiro is a freelance photojournalist who has shot for magazines including Time, Newsweek and People. Schapiro has been a photojournalist since the 1960s and has a profound sense of people and their effect on the decades as they have changed over time, as well as how the world has changed after these people have came around. "He gives you a sense that you’re getting a peek into that person’s life, and what kept them going," Smith said.
Students and teachers alike agree that Schapiro’s artwork not only has historical significance, but also a unique, artistic quality. PEA art instructor Tara Misenheimer believes that his work transcends just stereotypical portraits. "It is an art exhibit that connects to courses and fields of study beyond art and photography. It is a terrific visual sociological study," Misenheimer said. Schapiro’s artistic talent made Smith sure that the Lamont Gallery could count on him for the right images for the space. Upper Kaylee D’Amico visited the exhibit and appreciates the variety of atmospheres shown."The show expresses the many facets of people’s personalities. I especially like the picture of Samuel Beckett’s face because it shows a lot of detail," D’Amico said.
Other photos of Schapiro’s work that will be featured include Muhammad Ali in his hometown neighborhood, a photoshoot of James Baldwin for Life Magazine as well as pictures of Martin Luther King Jr. Some photos depict Dr. King’s contributions to the Civil Rights’ Movement in the form of speeches and marches in the 1960’s. Another photo shows Dr. King’s hotel room after his assassination. Schapiro’s work will be able to be here for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
In addition to having his presence in the classroom, Misenheimer also believes it is a useful asset to have his work here at Exeter. "Steve is so excited to come to the school, and it has something to do with the fact that he’ll be working with students," Smith said. "Having the gallery as a resource is so exciting and valuable. It’s terrific to take your students on a field trip to an art gallery exhibit and only travel down two flights of stairs," Misenheimer said.
Schapiro will visit Exeter from January 6 to January 8. He will meet with photography classes as well as hold an Artist’s talk on the 8 from 10:00-11:00am. A reception will be held on January 7. His work, entitled "Heroes," will be in the Lamont Gallery until January 22. "When he comes to Exeter it will be so difficult because he will have so many stories, and there won’t be enough time to hear all of them" Smith said.