In our 9th meeting we discussed the photo exhibition "The Family of Man" which was curated by the photographer Edward Steichen and was first exhibited in 1955 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The history of the exhibition and its politics was presented to us by one of our members, Evelyn Runge, who in Germany has taught extensively on the topic and is a specialist on both the politics around an exhibition called "Family of Man" at a time as politically tense as the Cold War and the aesthetics and political and social effects of the various photographs exhibitied as well as the exhibitions afterlife.
For example, one of the additional topics alongside the cold war binary between East and West were the categories of race and gender the outlook of which were criticised especially during the 1970s and 1980s. While some of the criticism has been agreed upon as being justified the exhibition has also found new advocates in history and art history pledging for a reconsideration of the aspect of presenting a very broad spectrum of people from all walks of life as one large family. Moreover, while at the time of its exhitbition the pacifist notion of curator Steichen was largely ignored today his activism is recognized and lauded. The exhibition which today is located in Luxemburg, the birth place of Steichen, continues to attract visitors - Evelyn showed us impressions of her own visit - but the large costs of its preservation and conservation and the little financial means spent also show a lack of recognition for the exhibition as a cultural heritage and historical source.
The meeting took place on the 14.6. at 14.30 at the Koebner Centre for German History.