Generation Yasss: New Exhibit Highlights The Works of Gordon Parks and Kendrick Lamar

December 3, 2017  |  

element exhibition


Many may have noticed that Kendrick Lamar’s visual for “ELEMENT”, a single from his DAMN album, incorporated the works of iconic photographer, Gordon Parks. The combination was clever in using hip-hop to highlight history that younger generations may have been previously unfamiliar with. The Gordon Parks Foundation is pushing that effort just a bit further with an exhibit that sheds light on the inspiration behind many of the images featured in the video.

ESSENCE reports that the foundation will be showcasing the blend of hip-hop and black history in an exhibit titled after the single. Gordon Parks Foundation Executive Director, Peter Kunhardt expressed his own personal appreciation for K-Dot’s effort to use his talents to pay homage to icons of the past and introduce a new generation to Parks’ work:

“Gordon Parks’ work is continuing to have a great impact on young people.”

“And particularly on artists like Kendrick, who use the power of imagery to examine issues related to social justice and race in our country. With ELEMENT the music video, Kendrick has helped to call attention to one of the most important artists of our time.”

A press release featured additional details about what visitors can expect to see in the exhibition space:

“At the foundation of ELEMENT. are Parks’ photo essays exploring issues related to poverty and social justice which established him as one of the most significant story tellers of American society. ‘Harlem Gang Leader,’ the photo essay published in LIFE magazine, is credited with introducing Parks to America.  The photos explored the world of Leonard “Red” Jackson, the leader of a gang in Harlem.”

“Also published in LIFE, Parks documented the daily life of an extended African American family living under Jim Crow segregation in the rural South entitled ‘The Restraints: Open and Hidden.’”

The ELEMENT exhibit will be on display from December 1 – February 10 at the Foundation’s exhibition space in Pleasantville, NY. You can learn more about the exhibit here.

If you missed it, you can check out Kendrick’s visual for “ELEMENT” below:

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