Exhibitions 2013

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Collier Heights: Lydia A. Harris
September 3 – October 12, 2013
Opening Reception: Thursday, September 12, 2013, 6:30-8pm
PRC Gallery, 832 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA

Lydia A. Harris, Philpot, from the series Collier Heights, 2013.

For the past four years, Lydia A. Harris has been photographing Collier Heights, a neighborhood in Atlanta, Georgia that was developed, financed, designed, and constructed in the 1950s and 1960s predominantly by and for African Americans. This exhibition features Harris’ portraits of the Collier Heights residents and photographs of the interiors of their homes. Harris’ intimate portraits show the proud homeowners of Collier Heights, from the original residents to the second and third generation residents and newcomers. Through photographs of the interiors of the residents’ homes, Harris reveals not only the individual personalities of residents, but also the popular design styles of the 1950s and 1960s. More broadly, Harris’s photographs of rooms reflect the social, historical, and cultural uses of space. The prevalence of elaborate bars and recreational rooms in Harris’ photographs, for instance, reflects the nation’s history of segregation; unable to socialize in public spaces, many of the original residents of Collier Heights created rooms at home for entertaining. Harris’s poignant documentary photographs, in the words of the artist, “tell a story of the Collier Heights community—the interconnected lives, from the beginning when the residents had few other choices of where to live to the present when their neighborhood has been recognized for its architecture and the tight knit bonds among its residents.”

Curated by Francine Weiss, Ph.D.


The PRC’s 2013 exhibition program is supported by a generous grant from the Lois and Richard England Family Foundation.