Columbia University School of the Arts Visual Arts Professor Thomas Roma's exhibition "Pictures for Books: Photographs by Thomas Roma" is on view through October 9 at the Newcomb Art Gallery at Tulane University in New Orleans. Organized by the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University and curated by Susan Kismaric of the Museum of Modern Art, the exhibit was on view at the Wallach in early spring 2010.
In conjunction with Roma's exhibition in New Orleans, two exhibitions drawn from Tulane's holdings and curated by Stephen Hilger, "Jazz People: New Orleans Portraits by Lee Friedlander" and "Pop Shots: Polaroid Portraits by Andy Warhol," are also on view.
"Pictures for Books" features images from four of Roma's fifteen books: Found in Brooklyn; Sicilian Passage; Come Sunday; and On Three Pillars: Torah, Worship, and the Practice of Loving Kindness--The Synagogues of Brooklyn.
Born in 1950, Roma is a native and current resident of Brooklyn. Many of his photographs depict everyday life in the borough: neighborhood gardens, passengers riding the elevated subway train, facades of storefront churches and synagogues, religious services in small African-American churches, and portraits of people waiting in the corridors of Brooklyn's criminal court. Viewed as a whole, his photographs are a chronicle of urban life as it is lived by ordinary residents, a description of their aspirations and hopes, and a record of their successes and failures. A member of the post-Garry Winogrand and Diane Arbus generation of American photographers, Roma extends the tradition of photography's documentary aesthetic with pictures of great formal confidence to reveal what might be called, for lack of a better term, traditional values.
Roma and Kismaric will participate in "Making Books Symposium," a conversation about the creative process of making photography books, with School of the Arts Writing Program Professor and Nonfiction Director Phillip Lopate, author and collaborator with Roma for On Three Pillars, on Wednesday, September 14, from 3:30-5:30 in Freeman Auditorium in Woldenberg Art Center at Tulane. A reception for the three exhibitions will be held that evening, from 5-7 pm in the Woodward Way Breezeway at Woldenberg.
“Simultaneous photography shows by three prolific artists, whose displayed works date from 1957 to 2006, provide the Tulane and greater New Orleans communities an extraordinary opportunity to observe how the medium has both reflected and contributed to contemporary life during the second half of the twentieth century,” Hilger said.
From On Three Pillars, by Thomas Roma