Tuesday, June 26, 2018

NYC: International Center for Photography- Cartier-Bresson: The Decisive Moment

When I lived in NY, whenever someone would ask for a museum to go to, I'd always recommend the ICP (International Center For Photography)

It was at 43rd and 6th avenue, and whatever exhibit they had, it was always pretty fabulous.  I'd always see something I hadn't seen before, even if it was an artist that I was familiar with.  I usually wouldn't even look up what was there, I'd just go, because the curation was always pretty strong.

Walking around NY after a 4 year hiatus in the city, I happened across the ICP, which relocated a couple of years to the Bowery (250 Bowery to be precise) .  I of course checked it out, and I'm happy to report that while the address has changed, the strength of their curation has not.  They have 4 pretty great exhibitions going on right now.

All four of these exhibitions are on at the museum through September 2. 
I highly recommend them all.  (I've written my impressions of two of them below, along with some sample photos for publicity purposes)

Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Decisive Moment:  See below for my impressions.

Elliot Erwitt:  Pittsburgh 1950  See below for my impressions.

RFK Funeral Train: The People's View. On June 8, 1968, thousands of people lined the train tracks from New York to Washington, DC, paying their last respects to Robert F. Kennedy. Dutch visual artist Rein Jelle Terpstra has collected more than two hundred images, including snapshots and home movies of the train, and interspersed them with the official photos by Paul Fusco.

Multiply, Identify, Her:  This exhibition features an intergenerational group of women artists whose work explores representations of identity using photography, video, film, assemblage, collage, multipart portraiture, and avatars both analog and digital.  Artists include Geta Brătescu, Stephanie Dinkins, Christina Fernandez, Barbara Hammer, Roni Horn, Wangechi Mutu, Gina Osterloh, Sondra Perry, Lorna Simpson, and Mickalene Thomas

(PLEASE NOTE: Most of the above links are Amazon affiliate links.  If you purchase something from these, I will get a small stipend.  There is no pressure.  I am simply providing the links in case you want to find out more.)

THE DECISIVE MOMENT BY Henri Cartier-Bresson

Buy this book on Amazon
The main exhibit is called The Decisive Moment by Henri Cartier-Bresson.  I didn't know much about him, but he was an amazing guy.  Fought in World War II with the French, was captured as  POW, tried to escape 3 times (and succeeded on the third time.  He traveled the world taking photographs of people and places, and his eye (and ability to capture design masterpieces on the fly) is amazing.  He was published in books and magazines throughout his career, and the photographs he captured of every day life are nothing short of remarkable.

The photographs are amazing.  I'm attaching a few from the ICP website, but they don't do the silver gelatin prints justice.  (These photos are the press photos from their website and are being used for promotion) The two photos that spoke to me the most were not in that list.  A photo of a man walking in Marseilles with a cape on that miraculously turned at the right moment, and another one of a Gestapo informant being questioned in 1945.  The book is amazing (and $103 on Amazon)

Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Decisive Moment (Simon & Schuster, 1952), p. 19-20, Sunday on the Banks of the Seine, France, 1938. © Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos. 

Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Decisive Moment (Simon & Schuster, 1952), p. 69, Henri Matisse and His Model Micaela Avogadro, Vence, France, 1944.
 © Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos. 
Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Decisive Moment (Simon & Schuster, 1952), p. 25–26, Italy, 1933. © Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos. 

Elliot Erwitt Pittsburgh 1950

Elliot Erwitt's photos of Pittsburgh
 60+ years ago.  Buy on Amazon
In 1950, 21-year-old photographer Elliot Erwitt was asked to help document Pittsburgh's change.  He shot hundreds of frames, but 4 months later was drafted into the army, and his negatives went to the Carnegie Museum.  They were recently uncovered, and the artist (now in his 80's) went through and chose and printed many for this exhibition.  The photos show a time gone by, much like Cartier-Bresson's work, and document these moments in time.

The photos are startling, and show people playing, at work, at football games, and some of the typical street scenes.

 It's amazing that the artist is alive 65 years later and is able to deal with some of his first works.  The book is available also on Amazon.

Elliott Erwitt, Downtown Hat Shop Window, Pittsburgh, PA, September 1950. © Elliott Erwitt/Magnum Photos, Courtesy of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh 

Elliott Erwitt, Children on Beelen Street, Pittsburgh, PA, October 1950. © Elliott Erwitt/Magnum Photos, Courtesy of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. 

Elliott Erwitt, Crowd at Armistice Day Parade, Pittsburgh, PA, November 1950. © Elliott Erwitt/Magnum Photos, Courtesy of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. 

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