Down These Mean Streets: Community and Place in Urban Photography
Photographs are the entry point to help students think critically about the nature of community in America's urban environments of the 1960s and 1970s. The exhibition introduced here, after which this collection is titled, features Latino artists who "turn a critical eye toward neighborhoods that exist on the margins of major cities like New York and Los Angeles." Smithsonian American Art Museum Curator E. Carmen Ramos has said that the exhibition was meant to explore the artists' complex vision of life in the urban environment, juxtaposing both a sense of unwelcoming urban neglect with a strong sense of community.
Included here are photographs from the exhibition, a bilingual video with the curator, the "Step In - Step Out - Step Back" Thinking Routine from Harvard's Project Zero Global Thinking Strategies, some links to Smithsonian American Art Museum supporting exhibition materials, including the exhibition webpage, a blog post, a link to Piri Thomas's book after which the exhibition was titled, and footage from a poetry reading at the museum.
Teachers and students can use these photographs in a variety of ways - to explore the work of individual artists, to compare the works of different artists, and to look as a whole at the exhibition and extract deeper meaning about "the urban crisis" of America's urban environments in the 1960s and 1970s.
Keywords: El Barrio, New York City, Urban Crisis