January 2011
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Day January 8, 2011

exhibits: Bruce Weber at the Russell Senate Office Building, 2004

all images (c) & courtesy Bruce Weber/Little Bear

all images (c) & courtesy Bruce Weber/Little Bear

all images (c) & courtesy Bruce Weber/Little Bear

It started in fall 2003 with Bruce Weber’s Pulitzer-nominated supplement for the Miami HeraldNeglected, Forgotten, Denied But Not Broken. In early 2004, Senator Ted Kennedy invited Bruce to present his body of photodocumentary work on the Miami Haitian community in the Rotunda of the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, DC. We designed an exhibit that could be installed within hours, was entirely freestanding, and proved to be undeniably powerful.

Role: original supplement production/mechanical design, exhibit co-producer and production, invitation design

Though seemingly tame as seen in the above photographs, this was one of the most politically-charged and emotionally moving projects I’ve ever worked on. The story behind the exhibit is relayed in part in this recent article by the Miami Herald:

Weber’s universe is about the big time. He came to the issues surrounding Haiti after seeing his friend Jonathan Demme’s powerful documentary The Agronomist, about the unsolved murder of Haitian journalist Jean Dominique. In 2004, Edward Kennedy invited Weber to have an exhibition of his Haitian-refugee photos at the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C.; his letter is included in a case of ephemera from Weber’s journeys in the world of Haitian refugees. When Trent Lott made a fuss about the political nature of the photos, Weber called his buddy Tom Brokaw, who sent in a Haitian news producer. The exhibition went on, though caption text was banned. Weber showed up at the opening with the banned text — including Demme’s quote “As an American, I am just so terribly ashamed.” — on his black T-shirt.

(Documenting his ongoing relationship with the Miami Haitian community, Bruce Weber: Haiti/Little Haiti will be at Miami’s Museum of Contemporary Art through February 13, 2011)