Peter W. Kunhardt, Jr.
Peter W. Kunhardt, Jr. has served as executive director of the Gordon Parks Foundation since 2011, following five years as part of the organization’s leadership team. He oversees the Foundation’s exhibitions, publications, critical research projects, and public programs organized with institutions internationally and at its exhibition space in Pleasantville, New York, as well as the artist’s archive.
Under his leadership, the Foundation created the Gordon Parks Foundation Scholarships and Prizes program, which has conferred over $1 million in scholarships and prizes to more than 120 students at 10 educational institutions since its inception in 2009. During his tenure, the Foundation also established the Gordon Parks Foundation Fellowship, which has awarded eight fellowships to photographers, artists, filmmakers, and musicians whose work addresses themes of representation and social justice. In 2019, he oversaw the launch of The Gordon Parks Arts and Social Justice Fund dedicated to supporting these educational initiatives, as well as the creation of the Gordon Parks Foundation / Steidl Book Prize, which serves as a publishing platform for artists whose practice reflects and extends Gordon Parks’ legacy. The recipient of the annual prize develops a book of new work published and distributed by Steidl, one of the leading art book publishers internationally.
As an extension of his role at the Foundation, Kunhardt additionally serves as series editor of Steidl/Gordon Parks Foundation publications. Among the major publications he has coedited is the multivolume Gordon Parks: Collected Works (Steidl, 2012), which features five decades of Parks’ photography and is the most extensive publication to document his legendary career. Other recent exhibitions and catalogues in which he has been involved include Gordon Parks: A Harlem Family 1967 (The Studio Museum in Harlem, 2012); Gordon Parks: The Making of an Argument (New Orleans Museum of Art, 2013); Gordon Parks: Back to Fort Scott (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 2015); Invisible Man: Gordon Parks and Ralph Ellison in Harlem (The Art Institute of Chicago, 2016); Gordon Parks: The New Tide, Early Work 1940–1950 (National Gallery of Art, 2018-19); Gordon Parks X Muhammad Ali (Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 2019); and The Atmosphere of Crime, 1957 (The Museum of Modern Art, 2020).
Kunhardt has also served since 2011 as executive director of the Meserve-Kunhardt Foundation, where he oversaw the preservation of the Meserve-Kunhardt Collection of 19th century photography which now resides at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University. Kunhardt has co-authored three books on Abraham Lincoln, is responsible for the Meserve-Kunhardt Foundation’s acquisition of the archive of LIFE photographer Ed Clark, and co-edited Ed Clark: On Assignment 1931-1962 (Steidl, 2020).