Issue #196  3/17/2013
Weinstein Gallery Puts On 1st Major W. Eugene Smith Exhibition in Years

My friend Martin Weinstein has pulled together a killer of a gallery show: W. Eugene Smith: "I Have Tried to Let Truth Be My Prejudice" which runs from now through April 27th. The gallery is located at 908 W 46th St., Minneapolis, MN 55419. For additional information, contact Leslie Hammons, director, at 1-612-822-1722 or weingall@aol.com . Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday, from 12 noon-5 pm and by appointment.

W. Eugene Smith (1918-1978) was famous at twenty and a legend by forty. From his early work photographing WWII, shooting during combat and air raids, through the 1950s, he reconceived the photographic essay to be more deeply humanistic, compassionate and expressive. Over the years, he traveled from New York and Pittsburgh to Spain, Japan, the American South and Africa, shooting influential photo-essays, including "Country Doctor," "Spanish Village" and "A Man of Mercy."

This exhibition will present 40 iconic W. Eugene Smith images: the Guardia Civil stand fiercely, the Country Doctor has a quiet moment of respite, Three Generations of Welsh Miners look proudly into the camera with sooty faces and a 1950s Pittsburgh looks as though it's burning with industry. Also on view will be A Walk to Paradise Garden, perhaps Smith's most well known image that was the end piece of Edward Steichen's seminal exhibition, The Family of Man, at the Museum of Modern Art in 1955.

Perhaps Smith's greatest masterpiece is not any one of his photographs, but his overall career. Out of the confusions of his life and personality he was able to establish and maintain the argument of moral responsibility, saying "I want to comment with 'reasoned' passion. Passion, yes, for passion is in all great searches and it is necessary to all creative endeavors... I am a compassionate cynic, yet I believe I am one of the most affirmative photographers around. I have tried to let truth by my prejudice. It has taken much sweat. It has been worth it."

Smith's photographs have been shown in exhibitions throughout the word and many major museums contain his work in their permanent collections. Numerous monographs have been published on his photographic output. Universally accepted as the leading photojournalist of his time, this exhibition at the Weinstein Gallery represents the first extensive showing of Smith's work in the Midwest in more than a quarter of a century.