Dalia Linssen (Assistant Professor, HAVC) curated an exhibition on the work of German-born American photographers Hansel Mieth and Otto Hagel for the Sonoma County Museum in Santa Rosa, California. “LIFE, Labor, and Purpose: The Photography of Hansel Mieth and Otto Hagel,” (June 20 – August 30) examines the photographers’ contributions from the 1930s to the 1960s. Working initially as migrant laborers, later as photojournalists, and consistently as social advocates, Mieth and Hagel photographed a broad array of subjects from California’s agricultural fields and waterfront strikes during the Great Depression to Japanese Americans interned during World War II, and many Native American communities, among other projects. Hansel Mieth was the second female photojournalist hired by Life magazine.
“LIFE, Labor, and Purpose” is the first full-scale exhibition in the United States to feature the work of Mieth and Hagel. In support of the exhibition, Linssen wrote the lead essay in the accompanying catalog and was invited to give a curator’s lecture on June 19. The project received support from RISD’s Professional Development Fund.