"Adelman has moved beyond the familiar clichés of most documentary photography into that rare sphere wherein technical ability and social vision combine to create a work of art."
- Ralph Ellison
Photographer Bob Adelman (1930-2016) captured historic and artistic photographs for sixty years. His extraordinary visual documentation covered subjects from the civil rights movement, the New York art scene, urban culture, social essays, politics, music, the South, and revealing portraits of personalities.
An internationally-recognized photojournalist, Bob Adelman worked for LIFE, The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, TIME, Esquire, Vanity Fair, London's Sunday Times Magazine, Paris Match, and other major publications. He was a Guggenheim Fellow and National Endowment for the Arts Grantee. He is primarily known for his photographs of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, when he volunteered his services as a photographer to the Congress of Racial Equality and captured the transformative events that re-shaped modern American history. Adelman’s images were exhibited worldwide during his lifetime, in institutions including: Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian, Getty Museum, High Museum, The Nelson-Atkins Museum, Boca Raton Museum of Art, Tate Modern, and many others. Acquired by the Library of Congress in 2017, the Adelman archive is regarded as the foremost documentation of crucial periods in modern US history.
'NEW YORK ARTISTS' SERIES
For decades, Adelman captured some of the greatest New York artists including Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist, and many more. Bob spent extensive time photographing the cultural milieu that passed through Andy Warhol's Factory, openings and interactions in the Leo Castelli Gallery, large-scale murals painted by Roy Lichtenstein, and historic New York art world scenes.
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 New York art dealers.
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.
SELECTED GALLERY EXHIBITIONS
WESTWOOD GALLERY NYC
2008, FEB - APR
2018 - New York Artists: Warhol, Lichtenstein, Rosenquist, Wesselmann, WESTWOOD GALLERY NYC
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
2021 - Brooklyn Resists, Public History Project at the Center for Brooklyn History, Brooklyn, NY
2018 - Andy Warhol: Subject and Seriality, Neuberger Museum at SUNY Purchase, New York
2018 - Andy Warhol: Unique Studio Screenprints, 1980s, WESTWOOD GALLERY NYC
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