Althea Gibson was born on this date, August 25, in 1927. She was an African American tennis player.
From Silver, South Carolina, the family moved to Harlem in New York City when she was three. Growing up there, Gibson disliked going to school so much that she often played hooky. What Gibson liked to do was play sports; at first basketball was her favorite, then paddle tennis. Then a friendly musician gave her a tennis racket, and she immediately took to the game. She quit high school not because of tennis but because she couldn’t stand classes and began competing in girls tournaments under the auspices of the American Tennis Association, which was almost all black. [Continue reading at the African American Registry.]
Sports Illustrated. My, how the times have changed.
In this series Vik Muniz playfully takes on one of modernist photography’s greatest heroes, Alfred Stieglitz, along with one of modernism’s greatest institutions, the Museum of Modern Art. In the early 1920s Stieglitz made a pivotal series of photographs of clouds-small, abstract compositions cropped from the broad expanse of sky overhead. He called these cloud studies “Equivalents,” because he saw them as pure, formal expressions of his inner emotional and psychological states.
Muniz conceived his series of “Equivalents” after viewing an exhibition of Stieglitz photographs at MoMA in 1992. As he was leaving the exhibition, he noticed the cloudlike forms in the lobby’s gray and white marble floor. Using hastily improvised props, including a flashlight and a dime painted white, Muniz made his own “Equivalents,” which he printed at the same size and on the same paper as Stieglitz’s originals. This affectionate satire cleverly sets into motion a complex series of equivalences-between a marble floor and a cloudy sky, between Stieglitz’s original photographs and Muniz’s reworkings of them, between the literal and the conceptual image-and thus expresses postmodernism’s concern with the potency of tradition and the changes it must undergo to remain vital.