13
May
09

Exhibition: ‘Helen Levitt: A Memorial Tribute’ at the Laurence Miller Gallery, New York

Exhibition dates: 9th May – 26th June 2009

 

Further to my earlier posting about the passing of renowned New York photographer Helen Levitt comes this wonderful exhibition at the Laurence Miller Gallery in New York. How I wish I was in that city to see it – what a joy!

Below are a selection of 1940’s black and white photographs from the exhibition.

Marcus

.
Many thankx to Laurence Miller Gallery for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

Helen Levitt. 'New York, NY' 1945

 

Helen Levitt (American, 1913-2009)
New York, NY
1945
Gelatin silver print

 

Helen Levitt (American, 1913-2009) 'Kids Dancing, New York' c. 1940

 

Helen Levitt (American, 1913-2009)
Kids Dancing, New York
c. 1940
Gelatin silver print

 

Helen Levitt (American, 1913-2009) 'Kids graffiti, New York' c. 1938

 

Helen Levitt (American, 1913-2009)
Kids graffiti, New York
c. 1938
Gelatin silver print

 

 

Laurence Miller Gallery will present a memorial tribute to Helen Levitt from May 9 – June 26, 2009. Helen Levitt passed away in her Greenwich Village home on March 29, at the age of 95. Ironically, or perhaps fittingly, a show of her work entitled Passages, which Helen had approved, was already in the works, and her death caused a momentary pause in how to proceed. It was decided that Helen would not have wanted her passing to intrude upon best laid plans. Hence, guided by her spirit, we celebrate her legacy with this exhibition, her twelfth at Laurence Miller Gallery.

Helen Levitt: A Memorial Tribute will present a series of passages, in both colour and black-and-white, from her extraordinary 70-year career. Featured will be her pictures of animals, which were among her earliest as well as last pictures taken; a little-known series of portraits taken on the subway using Walker Evans’ camera; children’s street drawings; elderly folks in conversation; and children at play, the photographs for which she is most well-known. Helen Levitt’s classic and rarely seen silent film, In the Street, from 1948, will be shown as well.

One of the tribute’s highlights will be a selection of never-before-exhibited “first proofs.” These early documents of her working methods are often unique. Some are vintage, others were printed as late as the 1970’s, but all were printed by Helen in her bathroom that doubled as the darkroom. Often they are variants of iconic images, and often they are sequences of several shots taken at the same time. They all reveal the photographer’s “dance” as she observes boys climbing up a tree, a large family gathering on the front stoop, two men seated beside a curious cat, or four boys peering into a pool hall. In combination with the film In the Street, the early sequences reinforce her reputation as a cinematographer, and are genuine and valuable records of the working methods of a canny and poetic photographer.”

Text from the Laurence Miller Gallery website [Online] Cited 12/05/2009 no longer available online

 

 

 

In the Street
1948
Directed and edited by Helen Levitt
Cinematography by NYC photographers James Agee, Helen Levitt, Janice Loeb
Re-edited version rereleased by Levitt in 1952 with musical score by Arthur Kleiner
16mm film photographed in Harlem

 

Helen Levitt (American, 1913-2009) 'New York' c. 1942

 

Helen Levitt (American, 1913-2009)
New York
c. 1942
Gelatin silver print

 

Helen Levitt (American, 1913-2009) 'Three Girls Playing Dress Up, New York' c. 1940

 

Helen Levitt (American, 1913-2009)
Three Girls Playing Dress Up, New York
c. 1940
Gelatin silver print

 

 

Helen Levitt (1913-2009) short biography

Helen Levitt’s playful and poetic photographs, made over the course of sixty years on the streets of New York City, have delighted generations of photographers, students, collectors, curators, and lovers of art in general. The New York Times described her as: “a major photographer of the 20th century who caught fleeting moments of surpassing lyricism, mystery and quiet drama on the streets of her native New York”. Throughout her long career, Helen Levitt’s photographs have consistently reflected her poetic vision, humour, and inventiveness as much as they have honestly portrayed her subjects – men, women, and children acting out a daily drama on the sidewalks and stoops of New York City’s tenements.

She shot and edited the film In the Street with Janice Loeb and James Agee, providing a moving portrait of her still photography. Levitt’s first major museum exhibition was at the Museum of Modern Art in 1943, and a second solo show, of colour work only, was held there in 1974. Major retrospectives of her work have been held at several museums: first in 1991, jointly at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York; in 1997 at the International Center for Photography in New York; and in 2001 at the Centre National la Photographie in Paris.

In 2007 “Helen Levitt: Un Art de l’accident poetique” opened at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in Paris; in 2008, the Sprengel Museum, Hannover, Germany chose Ms. Levitt as the recipient for the Spectrum International Photography Prize which was accompanied by a major retrospective; and FOAM Museum Amsterdam, mounted another major retrospective in October, 2008. She was a 2008 recipient of the Francis Greenburger award for excellence in the arts.

Text from the Laurence Miller Gallery website [Online] Cited 29/01/2019

 

Helen Levitt (American, 1913-2009) 'New York [Children with Soap Bubbles, New York City]' c. 1940

 

Helen Levitt (American, 1913-2009)
New York [Children with Soap Bubbles, New York City]
c. 1940
Gelatin silver print

 

Helen Levitt (American, 1913-2009) 'New York' c. 1940

 

Helen Levitt (American, 1913-2009)
New York
c. 1940
Gelatin silver print

 

Helen Levitt (American, 1913-2009) 'Kid in Tree with Mask, New York' c. 1942

 

Helen Levitt (American, 1913-2009)
Kid in Tree with Mask, New York
c. 1942
Gelatin silver print

 

 

Laurence Miller Gallery
521 West 26th Street ​5th floor
New York, NY 10001

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Friday 10 am – 6 pm
Saturday 11 am – 6 pm

Laurence Miller Gallery website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, a photographic archive and form of cultural memory, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Mask’ 1994

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