Exhibition: ‘Freedom Must Be Lived: Marion Palfi’s America, 1940-1978’ at the Phoenix Art Museum

… this article caught my eye straight off when i opened Feedbin… and as i read the opening paragraphs i knew i would be reading to the very end… the story of yet another woman who didn’t get the attention she deserved in the male dominated world of photography…

… as i read i encounter this:

“We talk about the poverty of the Indian, their poor health, their substandard of living – we cry – ! Who is responsible for this? The murder of the American Indian has stopped as such. No more Indian wars, but all kinds of schemes are constantly working to take still their last piece of land (we found oil, uranium, and other valuable minerals and there is fish, timber, etc.) and above all to wipe the image away – erase – “to change the Indian” – Into what? Into a middle class personality with all the ambitions and drives of our society. Competition and exploitation are the most important assets, we think. Foreign to all Indian thinking! What do we actually do? We destroy the Indian completely, mentally, psychologically, and spiritually. You might ask – so what? What is so good not to assimilate with the predominant society? Let me tell you what. Our society destroys lives – with our “know how” destroy all living. We pollute the air, the water, poison the plants and animal life. The Indian knew no money, but the Indian knew security, happiness – the Indian was a supreme conserver of nature – of life. The Indian worked with nature not against it.”1

… competition and exploitation are the core values of our society, western civilization, the capitalist world… we destroy lives and the earth as we pursue these values to their destructive end… could it be that this grand experiment of life and “intelligence” is destined to failure?… or could it be that as significant as we think we are, we just aren’t anything close to the main show?…

… but i digress…

… Marion Palfi’s life and work are amazing… it is a long post, as almost all of them are over at Art Blart… but in depth informative on a remarkable woman…


  1. via Art Blart: Marion Palfi. “Some Thoughts,” preface to the unpublished manuscript, “My Children, First I liked the Whites, I Gave Them Fruits,” in the possession of Martin Magner, pp. 1-2 quoted in Elizabeth Lindquist-Cock. “Marion Palfi: An Appreciation,” in The Archive Research Series Number 19, September 1983, Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, p. 9. [return]