John Shearer was a witness to pivotal events in 20th century American history and he captured them with his camera through the lens of race, politics, and civil rights. Iconic are his photos of three-year old John-John saluting the coffin of his father, President John F. Kennedy at the funeral procession; the rage and sorrow of the crowd gathered at the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King; the brutal assault by law enforcement authorities on rioting inmates at Attica prison; violent anti-war protests in Chicago; and street gangs in the South Bronx. As one of America’s premier photojournalists, Shearer captured many defining moments, but it was social disparity and injustice that he cared the most about illuminating. He once declared, “Black America is my beat.”
Beginning September 26, 2018, over forty of Shearer’s compelling photographs from the 1960s and 1970s, taken during periods of intense turmoil and upheaval in the United States, will be on view in American Moments: Photographs by John Shearer, at the Neuberger Museum of Art. The exhibition is curated by Chief Curator Helaine Posner.
Through various techniques, Shearer could illustrate an entire story in a single image. When asked what he wanted audiences to take away from American Moments, Shearer said: “I want them to see that when we look back, we see that there’s the past, the present, and the future. So, in the early sixties, we see the struggle; then we start to think about #MeToo and Black Lives Matter, and we see the parallels.”
American Moments: Photographs by John Shearer is on view at the Neuberger Museum of Art through December 23, 2018. For more information, visit neuberger.org
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