Persist, Insist



Persist, Insist

Oct 28 - Dec 6, 2020

Freedom Now Washington D.C., 1963. Courtesy the artist.


History is not the past. It is the present. We carry our history with us. We are our history. If we pretend otherwise, we are literally criminals. – James Baldwin


Persist, Insist online presents three photo galleries from the archive of Larry Fink (American, b. 1941), all of which were taken in Harlem, New York and Washington D.C. in the 1960s. Accompanying the photo galleries is audio commentary by Fink that was recorded in October 2020.

Fink is known for his black-and-white images of people in gatherings, specifically documenting critical moments, figures, and organizations in various social and political movements: the Coretta Scott King’s Poor People Campaign in 1968, Malcolm X, and the Harlem Youth Opportunities Unlimited (HARYOU). As a young man, Fink went on to photograph people across all facets of life trying to inspire change. More than half a century later, Fink’s images and commentary reflect on moments of progress, political activism, and hope.

Persist, Insist online is accompanied by an installation featuring eleven carefully selected photographs by Fink on view through December 6, 2020 at Fotografiska New York.

Racism which formed this country still forms this country deeply. We have a lot of work to do. – Larry Fink

Malcolm X, Harlem, 1963. Courtesy the artist.

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You have to analyze the negative, show the negative, and pack the negative inside your brain so that you fortify yourself against it. And yet at the same time, understand it so that you can address it as an issue. – Larry Fink

Black Mask, NYC, February, 1967. Courtesy the artist.

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…[B]ring all kinds of arts and commerce together so that each one of the factors of the community would then be impregnating itself upon the other. – Larry Fink

HARYOU ACT, Harlem NY, 1964. Courtesy the artist.

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…[D]emocracy by its very definition is supposed to be a conversation with the past, a conversation with the present and the conversation for the future. Right now we’re stuck with a non-conversant modality which is nothing but hostile stagnation. – Larry Fink

Vietnam Protest, NYC, 1967. Courtesy the artist.

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Larry Fink © Geoffrey Berliner and Penumbra Foundation, 2017


About Larry Fink:

Larry Fink has worked as a professional photographer for over sixty years. His work has been shown in museums including solo exhibitions in the United States at the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art as well as abroad at the Fotografia Europea in Reggio Emilia, Italy, Musee de l’Elysee in Lausanne, Switzerland, and the Musee de la Photographie in Charleroi, Belgium. Fink has received numerous awards for his work including two Guggeneheim fellowships (1976 and 1979), two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships (1978 and 1976), the International Center for Photography Infinity Award for Lifetime Fine Art Photography (2015), and the Lucie Award for Documentary Photography (2017).

Larry Fink’s first monograph, the seminal Social Graces (Aperture, 1984) left a lasting impression in the photography community and he has since published twelve other monographs on similar subject matter. Other titles include The Polarities (L’Artiere, 2017) chronicling five years of recent work, The Outpour (L’Artiere, 2017) containing images taken at and around the Women’s March on Washington, D.C., Fink On Warhol: New York Photographs of the 1960s (Damiani, 2017), The Beats (Artiere /powerhouse, 2014), and Larry Fink on Composition and Improvisation (Aperture, 2014).

In addition to his photography practice, Larry Fink has taught for over fifty-two years and has held professorial positions at Yale University, Cooper Union, and Bard College, where he is an honored professor emeritus.