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Make A Wish (Bronx Slave Market, 170th Street, New York)

1938 Robert McNeill Born: Washington, District of Columbia 1917 Died: Washington, District of Columbia 2005 gelatin silver print image: 7 1/2 x 9 5/8 in. (19.1 x 24.5 cm) sheet: 8 x 10 in. (20.3 x 25.4 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase © 1938, Robert McNeill 1993.72.1 Not currently on view


Exhibition Label

In 1937, after enrolling at the New York Institute of Photography, McNeill did a series on black domestic workers for Fortune magazine. The sophisticated composition and nuanced handling of light and space in Make a Wish (Bronx Slave Market, 170th Street, New York) did not, however, mask the irony in the image of women waiting on a street corner hoping to pick up a day’s work in front of a poster advertising a movie for those with leisure time. When Fortune rejected the pictures, Flash!, a magazine aimed at middleclass black readers, published them as a thirteen-photograph feature.


African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond, 2012

Keywords

Cityscape - New York - Bronx

Cityscape - New York New York

Ethnic - African-American

Figure group

Occupation - domestic

photography - photoprint

paper

paperboard

gelatin silver

About Robert McNeill

Born: Washington, District of Columbia 1917 Died: Washington, District of Columbia 2005

More works in the collection by
Robert McNeill