Gillian Laub 'Southern Rites' @ Benrubi Gallery in New York

Benrubi Gallery, in collaboration with the International Center of Photography, presents "Southern Rites," the new exhibition from award-winning photographer Gillian Laub, whose previous exhibition at the gallery, "Common Ground," dealt with the relationship between Israeli Jews, Israeli Arabs, and Palestinians. With "Southern Rites," she again takes on a story steeped in generations-long tensions, and tells it with power, sensitivity and enduring poignancy. "Southern Rites" is a provocative twelve-year visual study of one community’s struggle to confront longstanding issues of race and equality. In 2002, Laub was invited to Mt. Vernon, Georgia, to photograph its segregated homecoming celebrations. She kept returning to the community and in 2009, The New York Times Magazine published a photo-essay by Laub titled, “A Prom Divided,” which documented Georgia’s Montgomery County High School’s racially segregated prom rituals. Laub’s photographs ignited a firestorm of national outrage that, remarkably, led the community to finally integrate the proms. Laub continued to travel to Mt. Vernon to document the aftermath, which was welcomed in some circles and decried in others. In 2011, amid newfound hope, the murder of a young black man (portrayed in Laub’s earlier prom series) by an older white town resident reopened old wounds. Through her intimate portraits, first-hand testimony, and video installation, Laub reveals in vivid color the horror and humanity of these complex, intertwined narratives. Southern Rites will be on view until June 27, 2015 at Benrubi Gallery, 521 West 26th Street, New York. You can also purchase a monograph (Damiani) of the work here