Bay Area photographer Dorothea Lange (1895–1965) is best known for her potent form of documentary photography. She became one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century with her heart-rending images of those hardest hit by the Great Depression. As the full force of the Depression reached California in the early 1930s, Lange was just beginning to understand that the camera could be an instrument of social change. The photographs she made, such as her iconic Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, 1936, were instrumental in galvanizing public support for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s programs to aid the poor.
This exhibition features her photographs of destitute San Franciscans standing in breadlines, migrant laborers bent over crops, and displaced mid-western farmers escaping the Dust Bowl among others. The photographs in the exhibition are drawn from the collection of the Oakland Museum of California. OMCA houses Lange’s personal archive of approximately 25,000 negatives, 6,000 vintage prints, field notes, and personal memorabilia. The archive is the result of an initial gift from Lange in 1963 and a subsequent gift from her husband, Paul Schuster Taylor, upon her death.
This OMCA off-site exhibition at the Oakland International Airport is organized by guest curator Erin Garcia.
Dorothea Lange: California Photographs is located in three areas of the Oakland International Airport. The exhibit sites are located in Terminal 1 before the security checkpoint, in the connecting walkway between the two terminals, and in Terminal 2 between Gates 25 and 26.