AU’s Katzen Arts Center will host Re-viewing Documentary, an exhibition of the works of Louise Rosskam (1910-2003) who stands out as one of the elusive pioneers of the “golden age” of documentary photography. Re-viewing Documentary, which will be on display at the Katzen from September 7 to December 15, is the first contextual retrospective exhibition to examine Rosskam’s contributions to the larger field of social reform photography. The show highlights the pioneering nature of her work, especially the photographs she and her husband Edwin made for the Puerto Rico Office of Information in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, where they produced an extraordinary documentation of the social conditions, cultural identity, and industrialization of this impoverished island. In their attempt to record the complexity of Puerto Rico’s relationship to the United States—from colony to territory--the Rosskams expanded the perimeters of U.S. government documentary practice—both geographically and ideologically. To her Puerto Rican, and indeed to all of her subjects, Louise Rosskam brought a warm compassion, gentle humor, keen intellect, and intuitive artistry. All this, combined with a far-reaching vision and an adventurous team-spirit, enabled her to produce (both independently and collectively) a compelling body of work that continues to resonate today. Viewing of the exhibit is free and open to the public.
In conjunction with the exhibition, CLALS and Katzen will host a panel discussion on October 27th on the political status of Puerto Rico, drawing experts and policymakers from both Puerto Rico and the United States to discuss the contentious “status question.”