The exhibition Then They Came for Me: Incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II is what brought me to the International Center of Photography. After all, the wartime photos of Dorothea Lange, Ansel Adams, and Toyo Miyatake are much celebrated today, historical artifacts in themselves. But I felt compelled to stay for The Day the Music Died, British photographer Edmund Clark’s eight video, music, and photography installations on the post-9/11“War on Terror” around the globe.
The pairing of the two exhibitions invites viewers to search for parallels between US national security efforts more than 70 years ago and today: How does the forced relocation of virtually all ethnic Japanese people residing in the US during World War II resemble the dragnet of the current anti-terrorism apparatus around the globe? Both shows shed light on people, more that half a century apart, swept into detention by the US government without due process, in the name of national security. And the juxtaposition has become all the more timely since President Trump’s late January signing of an executive order to keep Guantánamo Bay’s prison open.
The exhibitions Then They Came for Me: Incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II and Edmund Clark: The Day the Music Died continue at the International Center of Photography (250 Bowery, Lower East Side, Manhattan) through May 6.
You can read and see much more about these terribly poignant photographs and their history at Hyperallergic.