On July 29th, the DeSaisset Museum is premiering not one, not two, but four exhibitions that touch on the subject of homelessness and poverty.
The first is Hobos to Street People, which compiles of responses from various artists on homelessness from the New Deal, up to the present time. Produced during the 75th anniversary of the New Deal, it will feature original works that brought a wide range of cultural viewpoints, historical perspectives, and positions taken on the topic. Among the artists featured include Rockwell Kent, Francisco Dominguez, the San Francisco Print Collective, and the artist most famously known for the photographs that touched on the subject of homelessness, Dorothea Lange.
Next, is Between Struggle and Hope: Envisioning a Democratic Art in the 1930s. This one touches on poverty during the Great Depression, consisting of prints that show the struggle of how people tried to get by, during the time of the Dust Bowl, especially those that migrated in California. The artists featured in this exhibition were among the Works Progress Administration, the largest employer during the Great Depression, and they included artists such as Victor Arnautoff, Harry Sternberg, and Dorothea Lange.
The third exhibition is the Camera Fights Fascism (hence the title inspired by the phrase on Woody Guthrie’s guitar, “This Machine Kills Fascists”). This one consists of photos taken by David Bacon and Francisco Dominguez, which provides a powerful body of visual evidence of the continuing struggle of workers, migrants, and poor people. Inspired by Dorothea Lange, the selected photographs draws close connections between the 1930s and today.
Finally, there the Changing Face of Homelessness, which is a collection of portraits created by students at Santa Clara University, who were enrolled in the course Exploring Society through Photography. This exhibition compiles of various portraits of individual and families living in inns, local shelters, and experiencing extreme poverty. Great care was taken in making sure the people in the photographs are shown in a positive light, in order to break down stereotypes perpetuated by society.
Two of the exhibitions (Between Struggle and Hope and This Camera Fights Fascism) featured will close on December 4th, and reopen on January 4th. Log on to www.scu.edu/desaisset for more information.