America in Crisis at the Saatchi Gallery London: 21 January to 3 April, 2022
America in Crisis is on view January 21 – April 3 at Saatchi Gallery in London, exploring social change in America from the 1960s to the present day.
Half a century on from the groundbreaking 1969 Magnum Photos project America in Crisis, Magnum and the Saatchi Gallery, London is presenting a group show of the same name from 21 January to 3 April, 2022.
The original project – devised by photographer Charles Harbutt and Lee Jones, then Magnum’s New York bureau chief – culminated in a photobook and accompanying exhibition. That first America in Crisis represented a state-of-the-nation examination of whether the US was indeed in crisis at that moment, with a particular focus on the lead-up to Nixon’s inauguration.
Curated by former Global Culture Director of Magnum Sophie Wright, Gregory Harris from Atlanta’s High Museum of Art, and photographer and academic Tara Pixley, the 2022 exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery enters into dialogue with the 1969 project in light of contemporary debate about the United States’ relationship to racism, truth and democracy. It features some 120 works by 40 diverse American photographers, including Peter van Agtmael, Eli Reed, Gregory Halpern and Matt Black of Magnum, with the images on display shot in the period between the 1960s and the present day. More than 30 images, by Eve Arnold, Bruce Davidson, Cornell Capa and more, from the original publication will also be on display.
The 1969 show, held at the Riverside Museum in Manhattan, also included an interactive exhibit, The Picture Bandit. As curator Sophie Wright wrote on this site in her examination of the original show, The Picture Bandit was “a picture-randomising device, presenting works from the project across the three spools of a one-armed bandit gambling machine. The bandit used chance as the organising principle by which viewers encountered the images. The winners, with three matching images in a row of a (deeply unflattering) mask of Richard Nixon with dollar signs for eyes, were given free entry to the exhibition.”
The late 1960s anxiety about image consumption and truth that gave rise to The Picture Gambit has intensified in the subsequent decades, particularly since the advent of the digital age, and the 2022 exhibition will include an immersive and interactive installation that speaks to our current relationship to images.
The Saatchi Gallery is located at Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Rd, London SW3 4RY. The exhibition is open 21 January – 3 April 2022 10am – 6pm Wednesday – Sunday (last admission 5.00pm) Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays until Tuesday, 2 February 2022. Tickets can be booked in advance online: saatchigallery.com/tickets.