Ernest Cole


September 3–December 6, 2014

Ernest Cole: Photographer

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New York University’s Grey Art Gallery presents Ernest Cole Photographer, comprising 125 gelatin silver prints—at once wrenching, subtle, and poetic—by one of South Africa’s first and greatest black photojournalists. Ernest Cole Photographer is the first solo museum exhibition of Cole’s photography. The rare black-and-white prints in the exhibition have been drawn from Cole’s stunning archive—now in the care of Gothenburg’s Hasselblad Foundation, which organized the show.

"'And he did all this between 21 and 26," said Lynn Gumpert, still incredulous. The director of New York University's Grey Art Gallery motioned to the exhibition of 120 photographs by Ernest Cole that surrounded us. A black South African in the era of apartheid, Cole (1940-1990) early on determined to document the brutal reality of his country's racial policies. His precocity and energy are evident in the show and, since it was illegal to photograph much of what he shot, so are his courage and cunning."