Current Special Exhibitions



Activists and Icons: The Photographs of Steve Schapiro

October 7, 2018 – October 27, 2019

The Joseph L. & Emily K. Gidwitz Memorial Foundation Gallery

Activists and Icons: The Photographs of Steve Schapiro, shows, through powerful documentary photography, that the issues of the civil rights movement are still deeply relevant today. Forty-two large-format photographs tell the stories of seminal moments in history from the March on Washington (1963) to Robert Kennedy’s presidential campaign (1968). Among the images are emotional portraits of heroes both known and unknown, ranging from Rosa Parks and James Baldwin to an unnamed sanitation striker.

Learn more about the exhibit.






April 28 – October 27, 2019

Northern Trust Gallery

While imprisoned in Camp de Gurs in unoccupied France in 1941, a young artist named Trudl Besag made an illustrated booklet and gave it to a fellow prisoner, Rosa Hirschbruch, for her 65th birthday. The booklet, entitled So ist es, aber, so soll’s sein (How it is, but how it should be), vividly illuminates the daily life in Gurs, presents an artful and hopeful response to imprisonment, and captures the will of these prisoners to continue to dream of another life.

The exhibition How it is, but how it should be reproduces a rare and vivid artifact from our Museum collection, with translations by the artist. Additional elements tell the broader story of Camp de Gurs and of these two women.








Memory Unearthed: The Lodz Ghetto Photographs of Henryk Ross

September 22, 2019 – January 12, 2020

Main Special Exhibition Space

Excavating the box of negatives and documents Henryk Ross buried in the ghetto at 12 Jagielonska Street, Lodz, March 1945. © Art Gallery of Ontario.

Memory Unearthed offers a rare glimpse of life inside the Lodz ghetto during World War II through the lens of Polish Jewish photojournalist Henryk Ross. In 1940, Ross was confined to the Lodz ghetto and put to work by the Statistics Department as a photographer, taking official photographs for Jewish identification cards and Nazi propaganda.

Against explicit directives, Ross risked his life to document the realities of life in the ghetto in all its horror and ordinariness. Before the Lodz ghetto was liquidated, Ross buried over 6,000 negatives, 3,000 of which he recovered after liberation. 

Memory Unearthed presents more than 300 of Ross’s powerful photographs, comprising a moving, intimate visual record of life and death inside the ghetto.

Organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Learn more about the exhibit.





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