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Remembering the Forgotten Ones: Selections from the Milton Rogovin Collection

Posted: December 9, 2002
An exhibition in two sites organized by the Burchfield-Penney Art Center December 7, 2002 through March 2, 2003.

Milton Rogovin is respected internationally as one of America's finest social documentary photographers. The directness and underlying compassion in Rogovin's work is comparable to Lewis Hine's early twentieth-century photography, which ultimately helped protect children and abused workers when it inspired new labor laws. Selections from the Burchfield-Penney Art Center's Rogovin Collection will represent prime examples from all of his series, dating from 1958 to the present.

After being featured at the Burchfield-Penney and WNED Broadcast Center, the exhibition will travel to New York in June 2003 to be shown at the New-York Historical Society, which is our project partner. The Burchfield-Penney's Rogovin Collection includes portraits of people from around the world-people working at their jobs and relaxing at home in locations as far away as coal mines in China and as close as neighborhoods in Buffalo.

HealthNow New York Inc., the parent company of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of WNY, provided a grant to frame and document the collection. The National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts provided public funds for the exhibition and programs. The Richard Florsheim Art Fund awarded additional financial support. The generosity of these patrons makes possible public access and understanding of Rogovin's caring, altruistic ideals that have directed his lifelong work.

The poignant Triptych Series chronicles families living on Buffalo's Lower West Side over several decades, providing visible evidence of changes affecting older and younger generations. In a few instances, Rogovin went back a fourth time for a new image, thus creating quartets. Photographs from the Working People series include images of steelworkers from companies that have since closed. Over the course of his career Milton Rogovin traveled around the world taking portraits of miners in Appalachia, Chile, China, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, France, Mexico, Scotland, Spain, and Zimbabwe. Examples of these portraits are represented in the gift. There are also portraits taken more than twenty-five years ago of residents from Yemeni (1976-77) who live in a neighborhood south of Buffalo. As well, there are examples from his early series, Mexico (1950s) and Storefront Churches (1958-61), and important social commentary in Children Having Children (1993).

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