Although it's hard to imagine the United States government could envision artists fighting poverty, much less hiring them to do so, that's what the Farm Security Administration did from the mid 1930s almost to the end of World War II. Some of the results are featured in Full Color Depression, a show of large-scale prints of FSA Kodachrome photography from artists such as Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Gordon Parks, Ben Shahn and Russell Lee.
Led by Roy Emerson Stryker, the FSA photography division's mission was to build national empathy for the rural poor through the documentation of their experience and plight. Fewer than 2,000 images were shot on the fledgling but brilliant Kodachrome film, which had just been brought into the 35mm realm from motion picture film chemistry.
This is a special chance to see fresh prints of these images, most of which have not been exhibited in more than a half-century. The show runs through July 23 and includes an auction of the photographs in late June. The Center for Documentary Studies also has launched a dedicated website, fullcolordepression.com, with a detailed history and many images. —Chris Vitiello