Wide shot of the art gallery

Continued Relevance: News Photos from the George Stephanopoulos Collection

This exhibition was on view November 15, 2022–January 28, 2023

Pace University Art Gallery is pleased to present, “Continued Relevance: New Photos from the George Stephanopoulos Collection.” The new exhibit, which opened today and will remain on view through January 28, 2023, features 54 images that were selected from a gift of more than 1,400 historic news photographs from the veteran news analyst and former White House communications director.

The collection, which features legendary photojournalists of the 1960s and 1970s working for major news agencies such as the Associated Press, ushers in a new era for the Pace University permanent art collection.

It was curated by students in three courses at Pace University—Introduction to Museum and Curatorial Studies, Documentary Photography, and - Current Media in New York. The students—under the expert guidance of their respective professors Sarah Cunningham, Inbal Abergil, and Emilie Zaslow—have selected a small, but representative, sampling of the collection which suggests the myriad possibilities for future educational use, historical analysis, and artistic appreciation.

“To experience this show is to get a strong sense of the entire Stephanopoulos collection,” says Kim de Beaumont, curator of Pace’s Permanent Art Collection. “Turn a few pages in the binders where most of the photographs are currently housed, and you veer from tragedy to banality to frivolity and back again, from corruption to idealism, from violence to resilience; turn another few pages, and you veer from celebrity profiles, whether notorious or noteworthy, to the quiet courage of now nameless individuals in the face of unspeakable fates.”

While each student chose a single photograph for the exhibit, viewed collectively the images tapped into many of the overall collection’s key themes including the Civil Rights Movement, the Kennedy years, the Vietnam war, and the protests it engendered. Likewise, students chose works by noted photographers of the era including Eddie Adams, Richard Avedon, Dang Van Phuoc, Horst Faas, Gene Herrick, Joe Holloway Jr., W. Eugene Smith, Jack Thornell, and Sabine Weiss. To accompany their selection, each student has written a personal commentary placing the image into meaningful contemporary context.

In depicting the past, the photographs as interpreted by the student curators challenge viewers to consider our present. For example, after researching the Reverse Freedom Riders by Frank C. Curtin, which depicts a Southern Black family being relocated to Massachusetts in a political stunt that has parallels to recent migrants being bussed north by Southern governors, Documentary Photography student Hasan Akinyele ’23, says, “The story itself depicts a blatant lack of empathy for human lives in the past and the present; human lives are not pawns.”