The work of Robbins and Becher examines visual evidence of the "transportation" of cultural identities and signifiers. Their past series have included such subjects as Lutheran villages built in the Namibian desert, Germans who dress as Native Americans, and a replica of Wall Street in Cuba. As a body of work, their images provide a portrait of the larger forces, such as colonialism or globalization, which have caused these cultural shifts.
Unlike previous projects in which the subject was the "transported" place or identity, the "Black Cowboys" series depicts its subjects as actualities in opposition to an artificial but iconic image which has become a part of the public psyche.
For two years, Robbins and Becher have been photographing the culture of African American cowboys. This thriving and widespread culture, though historically grounded, is little known to the general public and essentially unheard of outside the US. African Americans have always played an important part in cowboy culture and in the 19th century they made up a significant percentage of all cowboys, but by the late 20th century the popular conception of "the cowboy" had become synonymous with the white cowboy. This was the result of both official and unofficial segregation in competitive rodeos as well as Hollywood's commercially-driven exclusion of black cowboys from cowboy genre films and television.
Robbins and Becher's series focuses on the participants of black rodeos, trail rides, riding clubs, cowboy federations and working ranches at locations including Colorado, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, North Carolina, Florida, Washington D.C., Oklahoma, California, and New York City. These events take place year round and are increasingly popular and inclusive, blurring lines between professional cowboy and enthusiast, country and urban culture as well as southern and northern traditions.
Also exhibited will be "Florence and Naples", a show of works by Candida Höfer.
This show is comprised of photographs of interiors of public spaces, libraries, museums, theaters and palaces taken in Florence in 2008 and in Naples in 2009.
The Portuguese writer José Saramago wrote of Candida Höfer's work that it "sets out to capture empty space, to pin it down, to make it visible" and continued "It is hardly original to say that all photographs are silent, but in these images the silence draws depth from the emptiness, whilst the empty space draws on the silence to become, at last, absolute."
The exhibitions will continue through October 23.
Please contact the gallery for further information.