January 5 – March 1, 2012
Prior to the public reception, at 6:15 p.m., Susan Berger presents a talk for museum members on her exhibit Martin Luther King Boulevard
After Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee, communities throughout the nation renamed streets in his honor.
In 2009, Susan Berger embarked on a series of trips across America, photographing scenes along those streets.
Martin Luther King Boulevard, an exhibit of her photographs, is featured in the Griffin Gallery of the Griffin Museum January 5 through March 1. An opening reception is January 12, 7-8:30 p.m.
“It is significant, I think, that I can travel all over the country and find these streets. The image and message of Dr. King is a unifying one,” says Berger. “Cities in the south and cities in the north honor him in similar ways. Except for the weather and the foliage, you’d be hard-pressed to know the difference between the cities.”
She adds, “All of my memories of the civil rights movement are in black and white. I recall the newspaper photographs and the newsreels. Even the television news was in black and white. My photographs are black and white, recalling the imagery from that period. Although the photographs from the movement are often filled with violence, defiance or determination, the streets today are mostly quiet. Usually they are in neighborhoods inhabited by those whose lives were affected most directly by Dr. King. But often the street runs through a park or is a country lane, perhaps signifying that his name has become as mainstream as Abraham Lincoln’s or George Washington’s.”
Berger says her photography is project-driven, documenting her observations of the details of Americana. While there is much discussion of the regional differences of our country, she is impressed with the similarities. She sees that the same concepts, thoughts, and impulses are found throughout the country with a variety of interpretations and she travels the country recording those interpretations.
Berger earned a degree in English at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana and studied photography at Columbia College in Chicago, IL, and as a special student in the Master of Fine Arts photography program at the University of Arizona. Her work has been exhibited widely and is in the permanent collections of The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Southeast Museum of Photography, and The Lishui Photography Museum of China