09 Mar 2018

Black Power - Flower Power: Photographs by Pirkle Jones and Ruth-Marion Baruch

Museum Ludwig

Reviewed by Vera Wilde

After studying under the likes of Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange, power couple Pirkle Jones and Ruth-Marion Baruch combined their politics and art to humanize the black power and hippie movements. Adams advised Jones to stop his Black Panther series. Jones photocopied it for the Party's use as posters instead. The series was Baruch's idea - her family fled German racism in 1927, and she wanted to change the mainstream's panning of the Panthers.

Two features stand out: the beauty of black men organized to resist racism, and the beauty of black women exuding both strength and femininity. These men, in black leather jackets and resistance berets, are not victims. Their posture conveys instead the ease of those who are open, honest, and right. These women, in big hair and African prints, are inferior to no one. Even among flower children, Kathleen Cleaver's iconic, supple certainty is the hottest thing on display.

Exhibition Black Power - Flower Power: Photographs by Pirkle Jones and Ruth-Marion Baruch link
Start date 03 Feb 2018
End date 03 Jun 2018 (43 days ago)
Presenter Museum Ludwig link
Venue Hein­rich-Böll-Platz, Köln, DEU map
Image Pirkle Jones, Untitled (Black Panthers demonstration, Alameda County Courthouse, Oakland, CA, during Huey Newton’s trial), July 30, 1968, print 2010, © Pirkle Jones Foundation
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