Jundt Art Museum Exhibition ‘Manzanar: The Wartime Photographs of Ansel Adams’ Opens

December 10, 2013
SPOKANE, Wash. – The Jundt Art Museum will display “Manzanar: The Wartime Photographs of Ansel Adams” in the Jundt Galleries Jan. 4 through March 29. The exhibition features 50 of the renowned photographer’s images of the Japanese-American relocation camp in Manzanar, Calif. during World War II.

The photographs are included in the controversial book “Born Free and Equal,” which protests the treatment of these American citizens. The book was published in 1944 while the war was in progress. Also included in the exhibition are various photographs, documents and other works of art that further contextualize the images. Robert Flynn Johnson, curator emeritus for the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, curated the exhibition.

“Adams’ images of Manzanar are not only important historical documents, the photographs are also beautiful examples of his work,” says Paul Manoguerra, director and curator of the Jundt Art Museum. “The Jundt is pleased to be able to share them with Gonzaga and Spokane.”

Born in San Francisco, Adams was a visionary in nature photography and wilderness preservation. He has become an environmental folk hero for his work in conservation as well as a symbol of the American West, particularly for his photographs of Yosemite National Park. Adams’ Manzanar work is a departure from his signature style of landscape photography. Most of the Manzanar photographs are portraits, views of daily life, agricultural scenes, and sports and leisure activities.

The Ansel Adams photographs taken between 1943-1944 are prints made from the original negatives in the Library of Congress. They were previously exhibited in the exhibition, “Born Free and Equal: An Exhibition of Ansel Adams Photographs,” organized by the Fresno Metropolitan Museum of Art, History and Science in 1984.

Also included in the exhibition is a first edition copy of Adams’s 1944 book, “Born Free and Equal”; a vintage gelatin silver print by Adams titled “A Photograph of Yosemite,” ca. 1938; three reproductions of Dorothea Lange photographing Japanese-Americans being evacuated; a watercolor painting of a camp by an internee; an original 1942 poster of the “Civilian Exclusion Order” that announced that Japanese-Americans were to be rounded up for imprisonment; seven original magazine covers and a poster that documents the virulent anti-Japanese attitudes present at the time; a watercolor by Henry Minakata of one of the Relocation Camps; and three original drawings by the famous artist Chiura Obata, who was imprisoned in the Topaz Camp.

The exhibition, which will tour museums in the United States over the next few years, was organized by Photographic Traveling Exhibitions of Los Angeles.

A free public walk-through with Director Paul Manoguerra will begin at 10:30 a.m., Friday, Jan. 17. Other public programs will be announced soon. The museum’s exhibitions are free and open to the public Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

For more information, please contact Karen Kaiser, curator of education, at (509) 313-6613 or via e-mail.