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Jack Mitchell Archives at the Smithsonian NMAAHC

Saturday September 17, 2016 Jack Mitchell Archives Executive Director Craig B. Highberger and Associate Director,
Dr. Andrew R. La Barbera attended the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture’s
Collection Donor Preview and Reception in Washington D.C. (Below)

Lonnie G. Bunch III, Founding Director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture
introduces the curators to the donors and guests in attendance, Saturday September 17, 2016 (Below)

In June 2016 the museum acquired twenty-five Jack Mitchell photographs of important African American
artists and performers, a number of which were donations. But there is a previous acquisition that is also
an important part of the museum. In August 2012 the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, Inc. purchased the Alvin Ailey
American Dance Theater Jack Mitchell Collection.

Jack Mitchell was Alvin Ailey’s close friend and photographer of his dance company from the time of its founding
until Mitchell’s retirement in 1995. Craig B. Highberger put together the collection acquisition in 2012
with (then) Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation Executive Director Sharon Gersten Luckman.

August 8, 2012 (photo below) Jack Mitchell Archives Executive Director Craig B. Highberger delivers
the Jack Mitchell Alvin Ailey Collection to the Ailey, as Alvin Ailey Artistic Director Robert Battle,
Associate Artistic Director Masazumi Chaya, and Ailey II Artistic Director Emeria Sylvia Waters watch.
Photo © Claudia Schreier.

(Photo below) Alvin Ailey Artistic Director Robert Battle, Associate Artistic Director Masazumi Chaya,
Ailey II Artistic Director Emeria Sylvia Waters, Executive Director Sharon Gersten Luckman, and Jack Mitchell
Archives Executive Director Craig B. Highberger, August 8, 2012. Photo © Caludia Schreier

The entire Jack Mitchell Alvin Ailey collection is housed at the Smithsonian NMAAHC,
where a wall of vintage Jack Mitchell Alvin Ailey Company photographs are part of the museum's
permanent exhibition. The museum opens to the public Saturday September 24



 
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture Acquisition of Jack Mitchell Photographs

Twenty-five Jack Mitchell photographs of important African American artists and performers are now a part of the permanent collection of the new Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. The acquisition includes lifetime vintage silver gelatin and color photographs made by Jack Mitchell over a career spanning five decades. Mitchell died in 2013 at age 88. His first ever cover photograph for a major magazine was of Haitian dancers for the May 1951 issue of Color Magazine.

The subjects include singer-songwriter Harry Belafonte, the Katherine Dunham Dance Company, actress Gloria Foster, singer Whitney Houston (in her first photo session with a professional photographer), dance company founders Bill T. Jones and Arnie Zane, dancer/actress Carmen de Lavallade, writers Audre Lorde and Toni Morrison, singer Odetta, actor Melvin Van Peebles, opera singer Leontyne Price, hip hop group Public Enemy, designer Willi Smith, La MaMa theatre founder Ellen Stewart, singer Donna Summer, actress Cicely Tyson, actor Ben Vereen, and dancer George White.

The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture opens September 24, 2016, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., and will reflect the richness and diversity of the African American experience. Jack Mitchell’s photographs are also in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Archives of American Art, the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, the Andy Warhol Museum, the John Lennon Museum, Harvard University, the Metropolitan Opera Portrait Gallery, and many others.

The Photographs:
 

 


 

 




October 30, 2015

Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery
Acquisition of Jack Mitchell Photographs

We are proud to announce the acquisition of a body of photographs by Jack Mitchell into the
permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery.

The acquisition includes first time subject inductions into the museum's collection of prominent
American visual artists including Robert Rauschenberg, Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Indiana, Ray Johnson,
Eric Fischl, Richard Estes, Alex Katz, Duane Hanson, Philip Pearlstein and Ian Hornak.

The Photographs:

Robert Rauschenberg, 1977


  

Ellsworth Kelly, 1970


 

Robert Indiana, 1971


  

Ray Johnson, 1971


  

Eric Fischl, 1986




Richard Estes, 1971


  

Alex Katz, 1986


 

Duane Hanson, 1971


 

Philip Pearlstein, 1986


 

Ian Hornak, 1971
 


Photographs © 2015 Jack Mitchell • All Rights Reserved


 Here is a 26 minute excerpt from the 2006 feature-length documentary 

on Jack's life and work, "Jack Mitchell: My Life is Black and White".
The DVD is available in the Store section of the website.