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Bob Adelman

Legendary photographer Bob Adelman (1930-2016) captured historic and artistic photographs for sixty years. His extraordinary visual documentation covered subjects ranging from the civil rights movement to the New York art scene, urban culture, social essays, politics, music, the South and revealing portraits of personalities.

Westwood Gallery NYC exhibited the premiere gallery exhibition in 2008 of Adelman’s civil rights photographs, marking the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Civil Rights Act. Fifty-five extraordinary photographs were on view to the public, including iconic images of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s, “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington DC in 1963. During the exhibition the gallery presented an historic media event on April 4, 2008 marking the 40th anniversary of the passing of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The legendary actress and civil rights advocate, Ruby Dee, read from Martin Luther King, Jr’s famed speech, “Beyond Vietnam” in tribute to King.

Westwood Gallery also represents Adelman’s photographs of iconic New York artists, from Andy Warhol to Roy Lichtenstein, Tom Wesselmann, Robert Indiana, James Rosenquist and many other Contemporary masters. A premiere NYC exhibition opened in January 2018.

New York Artists

Adelman focused his attention for decades on the greatest American New York artists at the height of their careers. The result is a body of work which constitutes iconic and important photographic images of a generation of seminal artists. Adelman captured moments with artists as they worked in their studio along with daily sources of inspiration. The portraits and studio scenes reveal the artistic energy and are important historical documents revealing the more intimate side of a very influential generation.

During the 1960s, Bob Adelman spent extensive time in Andy Warhol's Factory, photographing Andy on his red couch, in the foil covered factory rooms, with silkscreens of Marilyn, Liz and Elvis, as well as capturing the making of several Warhol films and interactions in the Leo Castelli Gallery. Adelman also initiated the making of his photographs with Warhol, asking Warhol to accompany him to Gristedes supermarket, so Adelman could photograph him in the aisles while Warhol shopped for Campbell’s Soup cans and Brillo boxes.

Bob Adelman was a good friend of Roy Lichtenstein, having dinners together, spending their time talking about the art world, Roy’s technique and social and historic events. Roy invited Adelman to document many projects including Roy’s ninety-six-foot-long Greene Street Mural in Leo Castelli’s gallery in 1983. WESTWOOD GALLERY NYC worked with Adelman to complete a print version of the well-known mural photograph into a 27 x 76 inch version, which hangs in the Lichtenstein Foundation. Adelman enjoyed staging photographs with Roy Lichtenstein, such as asking Roy to stand on a ladder in front of Lichtenstein’s 1989 “Bauhaus Stairway Mural”, a twenty-seven-foot-high mural in Creative Artists Agency, I.M. Pei building in Los Angeles or in front of the fifty-six-foot-long mural in the entrance hall of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. The photographs of Tom Wesselmann focus on his models, such as Monica Serra, and his artwork in the studios at 231 Bowery and 54 Bond Street, and at Sidney Janis Gallery. James Rosenquist is photographed with his paintings, such as “Big Bo,” his murals, and experimenting with a magnifying glass.

Adelman’s vast archive also includes photographs of Larry Rivers, Donald Judd, Jasper Johns, Marisol Escobar, Red Grooms, Jeff Koons, Adolph Gottlieb, Barnett Newman, Robert Rauschenberg, Dick Bellamy, Lucas Samaras, Jim Dine, David Hockney as well as influential art dealers who shifted the perception of how to sell art, such as Leo Castelli.

Photographs © Bob Adelman Estate

Photographs of the struggle for civil rights, 1960s

During the Civil Rights struggle of the 1960s, Bob Adelman's passion for social justice fueled his belief that images revealing the situation -- segregation, poverty, neglect -- might effect change. By volunteering his services as a photographer for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), he captured events that re-shaped modern American history. Adelman photographed not only the moments of civil and social unrest, the marches and riots in New York, Washington D.C. and the deep South, Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech and the protesters being water-hosed in Birmingham, Alabama, but also the fabric of everyday life. He traveled through rural areas and city ghettos to document the black community in sorrow and in joy, capturing images of successful musicians, sports figures, educators and one of the early African-American sheriffs elected under the Voting Rights Act in Alabama. These images of a transformative time are as poignant and heartening today as when Adelman first captured them.

Photographs © Bob Adelman Estate

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During Black History Month, WESTWOOD GALLERY NYC premiered an exhibition of Mr. Adelman's historical photographs and hosted the launch of the book, MINE EYES HAVE SEEN: Bearing Witness to the Struggle for Civil Rights, photographs by Bob Adelman, essays by Charles Johnson, published by Time Inc. Home Entertainment.

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Solo Exhibitions

  • 2014 - The Movement: Bob Adelman and Civil Rights Era Photography, NSU Art Museum

  • 2008 - Mine Eyes Have Seen. Photographs of the Struggle for Civil Rights, WESTWOOD GALLERY NYC

  • 2005 - KING: The Photobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr, Margaret Mitchell House and Museum, Atlanta, GA



Group Exhibitions

  • 2016 - This Light of Ours: Activist Photographers of the Civil Rights Movement, Allentown Art Museum, Allentown PA

  • 2015 - This Light of Ours: Activist Photographers of the Civil Rights Movement, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, TN

  • 2015 - Images of the Civil Rights Movement, The Florida Holocaust Museum

  • 2015 - Land Lines, Photographs by Margaret Bourke White, Bruce Davidson, James Karales, Joel Meyerowitz, Bob Adelman, Gary Winograd, Dan Weiner Howard Greenberg Gallery

  • 2015 - Roy Lichtenstein’s Greene Street Mural, 1983, Gagosian Gallery, New York City

  • 2014 - Signs of Protest: Photography from the Civil Right Era, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond VA

  • 2013 - A Day Like No Other: Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, Library of Congress, Washington D.C.

  • 2013 - Mine Eyes Have Seen, Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site

  • 2013 - The Whole World was Watching: Civil Rights-Era Photographs from the Menil Collection, Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA

  • 2013 - 1963, Photographs by Bob Adelman, Bruce Davidson, Gordon Parks, James Karales, Eliot Elisofon Howard Greenberg Gallery

  • 2012 - This Light of Ours: Activist Photographers of the Civil Rights Movement, Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson, MS

  • 2011 - The Whole World was Watching: Civil Rights-Era Photographs from the Menil Collection, The Menil Collection, Houston, TX

  • 2010 - Road to Freedom , Bronx Museum of Art

  • 2008 - Road to Freedom, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA

  • 2008 - I Shot Warhol, Wesselmann, Lichtenstein, Rosenquist, and Indiana, Boca Raton Museum of Art

  • 2008 - J.P. Getty Museum, Malibu, CA

  • 1998 - We Shall Overcome: Photographs from America’s Civil Rights Era, Smithsonian American History Museum

  • Museum of Modern Art

  • J.P. Getty Museum, Malibu, CA

  • The Menil Collection, Houston, TX

  • Indianapolis Museum of Art

  • Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art

  • The Smithsonian

  • High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA

  • Boca Raton Museum of Art

  • Library of Congress, Washington D.C.

  • Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, TN

  • NSU Art Museum

  • MLK A Celebration in Word and Image, Photographs by Bob Adelman

  • Roy Lichtenstein's ABC, Bob Adelman

  • “I Have a Dream”: A 50th Year Testament to the March that Changed America, Bob Adelman

  • MLK: A Celebration in Word and Image, Bob Adelman, Charles Johnson

  • This Light of Ours: Activist Photographers of the Civil Rights Movement, Bob Adelman

  • Mine Eyes Have Seen, Bob Adelman

  • M.L.K.: The Journey of a King, Bob Adelman, Tonya Bolden

  • King: A Photobiography of Martin Luther King Jr., Bob Adelman, Charles Johnson, Robert Phelan

  • Gentleman of Leisure: A Year in the Life of a Pimp, Bob Adelman

  • Visions of Liberty: The Bill of Rights for All American, Bob Adelman, Ira Glasser

  • Carver Country: The World of Raymond Carver, Raymond Carver, Bob Adelman

  • Roy Lichtenstein: Mural With Blue Brushstroke, Roy Lichtenstein, Calvin Tomkins. Photographs by Bob Adelman

  • It Grows on You. A Hair Raising Survey of Human Plumage. , Roy Blunt Jr. Photographs of Bob Adelman.

  • The Next America: The Decline and Rise of the United States, Bob Adelman, Michael Harrington

  • Ladies of the Night, Bob Adelman, Susan Hall

  • Manhattan, Bob Adelman, Jean-Claude Suares, Chris Casson Madden

  • Down Home: Camden, Alabama, Bob Adelman