Now on View at The Smithsonian American Art Museum: No Mountains in the Way: Photographs from the Kansas Documentary Survey, 1974

Feb. 26 – July 31, 2016

Smithsonian American Art Museum, Eighth and F streets N.W. Graphic Arts Galleries, Second Floor

In the 1970s, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) conceived a series of photo survey projects, inspired by the epic documentary photography program undertaken by the federal government in the 1930s and 1940s. From 1935 to 1944, the Farm Security Administration (FSA) under leader Roy Stryker sent some of the era’s most talented photographers on a mission to capture rural poverty during the Great Depression.

1ab

Kansas House, from the Kansas Documentary Survey Project, 1974. James L. Enyeart, born Auburn, WA 1943. gelatin silver print image: 9 3/4 × 7 7/8 in. (24.8 × 20 cm). Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the National Endowment for the Arts © 1974, James Enyeart 1983.63.456 Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2nd Floor, South Wing

In 1974, with a grant of $5,000 from the NEA, “No Mountains in the Way” was organized by Jim Enyeart, then curator of photography at the University of Kansas Museum of Art. He and Kansas natives Terry Evans and Larry Schwarm-all artists who have attained considerable achievement in the intervening decades-travelled the state, photographing whatever struck them as representative. Each worked on an assigned theme. Enyeart focused on buildings, Evans on people and Schwarm on the landscape. Their collective visions combined to poetically reflect place, culture and custom in Kansas. The exhibition and catalog were presented in 1975.

1abc

Roy, from the Kansas Documentary Survey Project 1974 Terry Evans, born Kansas City, MO 1944 gelatin silver print image: 7 x 7 in. (17.8 x 17.8 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the National Endowment for the Arts ©1974, Terry Evans 1983.63.1795 Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2nd Floor, South Wing

1abcd

Untitled, from the Kansas Documentary Survey Project 1974 Terry Evans, born Kansas City, MO 1944 gelatin silver print image: 7 × 6 5/8 in. (17.8 × 16.8 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the National Endowment for the Arts ©1974, Terry Evans 1983.63.1797 Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2nd Floor, South Wing

In the Kansas documentary project, Jim Enyeart said he wanted to produce an “aesthetic” survey of the state. He likened it to the photography program of the Farm Security Administration, which documented social upheaval during the Great Depression. However, with No Mountains in the Way, Enyeart sought to avoid any particular artistic style or political agenda by asking photographers to focus on a theme. When various themes were objectively photographed, he wrote, “an even greater sense of Kansas” would be apparent in the combined photographs “than from any one of the individual studies.”

1G

Flint Hills, Marion County, from the Kansas Documentary Survey Project 1974 Larry W. Schwarm, born Larned, KS 1944 gelatin silver print image: 6 7/8 x 7 in. (17.6 x 17.9 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the National Endowment for the Arts © 1974, Larry W. Schwarm 1983.63.1193 Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2nd Floor, South Wing

Enyeart’s theme was architecture. His photographs are devoid of people, but the buildings he portrays are replete with signs of life. A sign in a shop window in the town of White Cloud identifies it as a hobby shop, another in Cottonwood Falls as a café, and another in Cummings as the U.S. Post Office. But where are the Kansans? Roaming dogs, a flag in the breeze, and children in the shadows are the only evidence that Enyeart’s structures are not long abandoned. To see their interiors, where people live and socialize, we must look to Terry Evans’s photographs. To see beyond their facades, where people work and play, we must view the landscape photographs of Larry Schwarm. Together, as Enyeart hoped, these three themes form a rich composite portrait of life in Kansas.

1F

Amish Mennonites, from the Kansas Documentary Survey Project 1974 Terry Evans, born Kansas City, MO 1944 gelatin silver print image: 7 x 7 in. (17.8 x 17.8 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the National Endowment for the Arts ©1974, Terry Evans 1983.63.1828 Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2nd Floor, South Wing

1abcde

Beulah’s Turkeys, from the Kansas Documentary Survey Project 1974 Terry Evans, born Kansas City, MO 1944 gelatin silver print image: 7 × 7 in. (17.8 × 17.8 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum, Transfer from the National Endowment for the Arts ©1974, Terry Evans 1983.63.1798 Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2nd Floor, South Wing

Terry Evans is best known for her photographs of the prairies and plains of North America. For No Mountains in the Way, Jim Enyeart asked her to photograph the people of Kansas. Evans blends documentation with portraiture in images that move easily from context to close-up. She works with a medium-format camera, shooting from the hip rather than from eye level. In portraits, its effect is to monumentalize. The farmer in the portrait Roy, who seems to tower over the photographer, becomes statuesque, an archetype rather than an individual. Continue reading

CDC: Highlights from The 2016 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections

The annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2016) took place in Boston, Massachusetts earlier this week at the Hynes Convention Center. CROI is the premier international venue for bridging basic and clinical investigation to clinical practice in the field of HIV and related viruses. Top scientists, clinicians, and policy makers from around the world had the opportunity to share with each other the latest studies, important developments, and best research methods in the ongoing battle against HIV and AIDS and related infectious diseases.croi-boston

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scientists presented more than 40 abstracts that highlighted new HIV research findings and its implications for HIV prevention efforts across the nation. Symposium and plenary lectures, workshops, themed discussions, and oral presentations are available online as webcasts. (You can also follow CDC highlights from CROI on Twitter @CDC_HIVAIDS or #CROI2016 to see conversations from this year’s conference.)

Studies that may be of particular interest to readers are briefly summarized below.

Estimating the Lifetime Risk of a Diagnosis of HIV Infection in the United States. Study authored by Kristen Hess, Xiaohong Hu, Amy Lansky, Jonathan Mermin, and H. Irene Hall

This study presents the first-ever comprehensive national estimates of lifetime risk of an HIV diagnosis by race/ethnicity, geographic area, and risk group for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Using mortality, census, and HIV surveillance data from 2009-2013, the authors estimate 1 in 99 people will receive a diagnosis of HIV infection during their lifetime, a decrease of 22% from a previous study that analyzed data from 2004-2005. Despite overall progress, this study reveals vast disparities among race/ethnicity, sexual risk, age, and geographic location:

  • By risk group, men who have sex with men (MSM) continue to face the greatest burden of HIV.

    • At current rates, an estimated 1 in 6 MSM will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime, nearly 80 times more likely than for heterosexual men.

    • The risk also varies considerably by race and ethnicity—1 in 2 black MSM, and 1 in 4 Latino MSM will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime, compared to 1 in 11 white MSM.

  • African Americans remain the most affected racial or ethnic group, with 1 in 20 men, and 1 in 48 women at risk for HIV in their lifetime.

  • People who inject drugs are at much higher risk than the general population, with 1 in 23 for women, and 1 in 36 for men.

  • By region, people living in the Southern U.S. face the highest risks for HIV, including Washington, D.C. (1 in 13) and the states of Maryland (1 in 49), Georgia (1 in 51), Florida (1 in 54), and Louisiana (1 in 56).

While lifetime risk has decreased compared to previous estimates, continued improvements in HIV prevention and treatment are needed. The data on lifetime risk may help to communicate the risk of HIV infection to affected communities and increase public awareness of HIV.  

Impact of Improving HIV Care and Treatment and Initiating PrEP in the U.S., 2015-2020. Study authored by Emine Yaylali, Paul G. Farnham, Evin Jacobson, Stephanie L. Sansom, et al.

The authors developed a dynamic model of HIV transmission that shows dramatic reductions in new HIV infections are possible by 2020, if the National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) goals of increasing diagnosis, care, and treatment for people living with HIV, and scaling up the use of PrEP* are met. The results show thousands of new HIV infections can be averted in different scenarios:

  • As many as 185,000 infections can be prevented if we reach national targets for HIV testing, and treatment, while scaling up PrEP:

    • Meeting the NHAS 2020 target of increasing the percentage of people living with HIV who are diagnosed to 90% and the percentage of persons with an HIV diagnosis who are virally suppressed to 80%, could prevent 168,000 new HIV infections.

    • Rapid uptake of PrEP can help prevent another 17,000 new HIV infections by 2020, if 40% of high-risk MSM, 10% of injection drug users, and 10% of high-risk heterosexuals used PrEP.

  • If current rates of diagnosis, care, and treatment are maintained from 2015 – 2020:

    • More than 265,000 new infections could occur over that period without PrEP.

    • The addition of PrEP would help prevent more than 40,000 cases by 2020.

Findings from this study highlight the promising outcomes of expanding testing, treatment, and PrEP and reaching the NHAS goals. While the model offers an encouraging glimpse into the future, more work remains to accelerate access to testing, treatment, and PrEP uptake over the next five years. Continue reading

CDC Reports: 1 In 3 Adults Don’t Get Enough Sleep

Everyone knows that a good night’s sleep is critical for good health. But that doesn’t mean that most of us are getting the required eight hours a sleep each night. More than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis, according to a new study in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. This is the first study to document estimates of self-reported healthy sleep duration (7 or more hours per day) for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.CDC logo

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society recommend that adults aged 18–60 years sleep at least 7 hours each night to promote optimal health and well-being. Sleeping less than seven hours per day is associated with an increased risk of developing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and frequent mental distress.

As a nation we are not getting enough sleep,” said Wayne Giles, M.D., director of CDC’s Division of Population Health. “Lifestyle changes such as going to bed at the same time each night; rising at the same time each morning; and turning off or removing televisions, computers, mobile devices from the bedroom, can help people get the healthy sleep they need.”

Prevalence Of Healthy Sleep Duration Varies By Geography, Race/Ethnicity, Employment, Marital Status

CDC researchers reviewed data from the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a state-based, random-digit–dialed telephone survey conducted collaboratively by state health departments and CDC.

Key Findings includes:

  • Healthy sleep duration was lower among Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders (54 percent), non-Hispanic blacks (54 percent), multiracial non-Hispanics (54 percent) and American Indians/Alaska Natives (60 percent) compared with non-Hispanic whites (67 percent), Hispanics (66 percent), and Asians (63 percent).

  • The prevalence of healthy sleep duration varied among states and ranged from 56 percent in Hawaii to 72 percent in South Dakota.

  • A lower proportion of adults reported getting at least seven hours of sleep per day in states clustered in the southeastern region of the United States and the Appalachian Mountains. Previous studies have shown that these regions also have the highest prevalence of obesity and other chronic conditions.

  • People who reported they were unable to work or were unemployed had lower healthy sleep duration (51 percent and 60 percent, respectively) than did employed respondents (65 percent). The prevalence of healthy sleep duration was highest among people with a college degree or higher (72 percent).

  • The percentage reporting a healthy sleep duration was higher among people who were married (67 percent) compared with those who were never married (62 percent) or divorced, widowed, or separated (56 percent).

The CDC Recommends The Following Healthy Sleep Tips:

  • Healthcare providers should routinely assess patients’ sleep patterns and discuss sleep-related problems such as snoring and excessive daytime sleepiness.

  • Healthcare providers should also educate patients about the importance of sleep to their health.

  • Individuals should make getting enough sleep a priority and practice good sleep habits.

  • Employers can consider adjusting work schedules to allow their workers time to get enough sleep.

  • Employers can also educate their shift workers about how to improve their sleep.

For more information on CDC’s Sleep and Sleep Disorders Program, please visit www.cdc.gov/sleep.