Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas


  • Gordon Parks At Home and Abroad: A Small Selection
  • 06-Feb-2006 - 16-Apr-2006
  • Study Gallery, Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas

Presented in conjunction with the KU School of Journalism and Mass Communications honoring Gordon Parks with the 2006 William Allen White National Citation: On display are nine Parks photographs from the Spencer's collection, and also a portrait of Parks made in the late 1970s by Patricia DuBose Duncan.

Gordon Parks, who passed away March 7 at the age of 93, was born in Fort Scott, Kansas, but in a life that spanned ten decades he was in every way a citizen of the world--a Renaissance man known internationally for pursuing a wide array of interests and making art that reflected those experiences. Parks worked as a piano player, a busboy, and a basketball player. He painted, wrote poetry, published books, directed movies, and composed music. Parks was also a gifted photographer with a natural sense of composition and an eye for simple narratives that elicit broader themes. His stark and unblinking photographic portraits of life in the United States have helped to shape our national identity and have provided an uncompromising mirror for the American public. Parks also worked for Life magazine, which sent him around the globe as he continued to tackle issues of race, class, and status in our modern world.

This February, KU's William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications honored Parks with the William Allen White National Citation, presented annually since 1950 to journalists who exemplify the ideals of White (1868-1944), a nationally influential Kansas editor and publisher. Other notable recipients of the William Allen White National Citation have included James Reston, 1950; Walter Cronkite, 1969; Arthur O. Sulzberger, 1974; James J. Kilpatrick, 1979; Helen Thomas, 1986; Charles Kuralt, 1989; Bernard Shaw, 1994; Bob Woodward, 2000; Molly Ivins, 2001; and Cokie Roberts, 2002.