Tag Archives: Museum Of The City Of New York

Jaime Permuth

Guatemalan photographer, Jaime Permuth, lives, works and teaches in New York City. Jaime takes advantage of New York and Guatemala’s rich visual cultures and interprets his curiosity about these places through projects that are varied and intriguing–projects have started by picking up a copy of the Torah Times on the subway and discovering places for Afternoon Prayer in New York, or contemplating Adam and Eve in the 21st Century. The work featured today is about the scrap metal community in Willets Point, Queens, New York, and is titled, Yonkeros.

Jaime has  exhibited internationally at the Museo Nacional de Arte Moderno in Guatemala, Casa del Lago in Mexico City, and the Israeli Parliament. In NYC,  he has shown his work at The Museum of Modern Art, The Queens Museum of Art, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, The Museum of the City of New York, The Jewish Museum, El Museo del Barrio, and The Brooklyn Museum of Art. His work can be found in the collections of The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Museum of the City of New York, Yeshiva University Museum, State University of New York New Paltz, Art Museum of the Americas (DC), Fullerton Art Museum (CA) and Museum of Art Ft. Lauderdale (FLA).  He is a Faculty Member at the School of Visual Arts where he teaches in the Master of Professional Studies in Digital Photography program.

 Yonkeros is a popular term for businesses that strip wrecked cars and sell them as scrap metal or for parts. The term is a Spanglish derivative of “junk”, conjugated grammatically to refer to people who engage in this line of work.

Yonkeros is a lyrical exploration of first world consumerism, waste, and obsolescence as they intersect with third world ingenuity and survivalist strategies in the no-man’s-land of Willets Point, Queens.

This series of photographs is both an appeal and a eulogy; the City of New York is determined to erase the existence of this small enclave, not withstanding that it continues to provide an essential service to the community and that it constitutes a source of income and employment to a segment of the city’s immigrant working class. But above all, Willets Point is a vast inventory of parts, and like all catalogues it is also a poem.

Neil Goldberg and New York Moments

UPDATE: Goldberg’s exhibit Stories the City Tells Itself at the Museum of the City of New York has been extended through July 4, 2012.

Multimedia artist Neil Goldberg grew up on Long Island, and his childhood was full of trips into New York City, a place that he says always seemed glamorous for being just out of reach. There was a certain part in the drive, on the way through the borough of Queens, when the car would pass the massive apartment complexes known as LeFrak City. “I just thought about all those windows and how behind each of them lives were being lived,” says Goldberg. “You couldn’t see into them but it was thrilling to think of them as this big, dense collective of lives.”

Neil Goldberg

Installation at the Museum of the City of New York.

Goldberg’s continued affinity for the collection of lives that is New York City is on view in his solo exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York, which has recently been extended to run through June 19. The show contains a dozen different projects plucked from two decades of his work for their focus on the city.

But Goldberg says that the city is not so much subject as catalyst for his work. “I’m deeply fascinated and engrossed with New York but really all the projects in the show are really just about being alive in a body,” he says. “New York has all these amazingly specific qualities that I love, but in the end it’s a huge, idiosyncratic public space and it’s a place to watch people being alive. That’s the thing that I’m mostly interested in: the basic mystery of ‘here we are, alive in these bodies, at this point in time.’”

The mundane moments he captures, such as the boarding of a bus, are overlooked by the people involved. And there is often, the photographer finds, an instant of rich emotion beneath the banality of it all. “There’s nothing more mundane than missing the subway, but the way it’s experienced has a more operatic quality than what’s actually happening,” he says. “Which is that you’re going to have to wait another five minutes.” His choice of video versus still photography depends on whether that emotion is best emphasized inside or outside of time. The faces of people who miss the train, he says, are best examined freed from the rest of the bustle of the station; the moment of orientation when one emerges from the subway, on the other hand, needs to be conveyed as a transition from confusion to clarity.

The exhibit involves both formats, still and moving, installed in a way meant to echo the city: viewers can choose what to focus on but can’t prevent the rest of the world (the sounds and sights of nearby videos, not presented in isolation as is typical in a museum setting) from seeping in around the edges.

Goldberg says that the show’s title—Stories the City Tells Itself—is a reference to a story he in turn tells himself. In that fiction, the city, like the photographer, is observing its residents being alive. “I like to think of the moments as being overlooked by the people involved but existing for the pleasure of the city itself,” he says. “Maybe no one is noticing these people as the emerge from the subway or the little trapezoids of beautiful sky, but somehow the city itself is watching.”

The exhibit Stories the City Tells Itself is on view at the Museum of the City of New York through July 4. More information about Neil Goldberg can be found here.

Behind New York City’s ‘Police Work’

Leonard Freed had seen his fair share of violence. The Brooklyn-born photographer, who died in 2006, spent nearly a decade behind the lens encountering the American Civil Rights movement in the 1960′s as well as events in Israel surrounding the 1967 Six-Day War. So when New York City faced near-bankruptcy and soaring crime rates in the 1970′s, he was prepared to engage the whole rawness of his hometown. But for Freed, rawness did not only mean violence. Instead, the gritty reality also inspired one of the deepest and most complex everyday studies of the storied New York Police Department (NYPD).

Forty years have passed since Freed first began to document these officers. And although his original book, Police Work, published in 1980 and no longer in print, a larger collection of prints from the series is on display at the Museum of the City of New York through mid-March.

Freed began photographing the NYPD as a commission for the London Sunday Times in 1972. When published—accompanied by an article titled “Thugs, Mugs, Drugs; City in Terror”—the collection raised more than an uproar. Mayor Jon Lindsay called the article “a gross insult to the city,” and the Daily News even sued. Freed himself had a different angle on his own photographs. “They wanted blood and gore,” he told Worldview magazine about the article. “But I was more interested in who the police were…I wanted to get involved in their lives.”

So Freed did, accompanying the officers during drug busts, protests and murders that furthered a common, negative perception of the storied NYPD. But the photographer also saw a complex picture. He was on scene as a policewoman played duck-duck-goose with neighborhood kids. Elsewhere, Freed’s lens captured an African-American woman who embraced a white officer and quipped, “Isn’t he cute?” And above all, he saw a force made up of people were more like the rest of the middle class than many Americans thought. “I chose this title (Police Work),” Freed once said, “because the police are workers, they are not in command, they are not the mayor, they are not the lawyers. They are ordinary working people.”

Freed worked on his Police Work collection for nearly a decade and eventually published more than 100 images. “As a series, it is one of his best,” says Sean Corcoran, curator of prints and photographs at the Museum of the City of New York. “The more you see, the more you see all the angles.” Many of Freed’s photos are framed in very close proximity. “You are right there in the middle of it all,” says Corcoran. “He is not standing back. He is not behind that police tapeline. He is in there with them, experiencing things with them.”

This newfound nearness opened many Americans to the police world for the first time. In his day, there was no Law and Order or CSI. “Today we think we know what it is to be a cop based on these shows,” says Corcoran. “But these guys are working with type writers, and they are wearing very loud plaid. In some sense, his pictures are more real than the T.V. shows because he doesn’t pull punches—there are a couple of really tough murder scenes in these pictures. It goes back to the reality of the policeman’s experience.”

Police Work is on display at the Museum of the City of New York through March 18.

Elizabeth Dias is a reporter in TIME’s Washington bureau. Find her on Twitter @elizabethjdias.

Rob Stepheneson, Ft. Tilden

Rob Stepheneson, Ft. Tilden

Rob Stephenson

Ft. Tilden,
Rockaway, New York, 2009
From the Rockaway series
Website – RobStephenson.com

Rob Stephenson's work has been exhibited at various venues including The Brooklyn Museum of Art, the Jen Bekman Gallery, The Lehman College of Art Gallery, The Museum of the City of New York and the Coconino Center for the Arts. He lives in Brooklyn, NY. He is the recipient of the 2011 Photo Urbanism Fellowship from the Design Trust for Public Space.


Self Portrait, © Shen Wei

By Anna Carnick

For this week’s SNAPSHOT, we spoke with New York-based artist Shen Wei. Born and raised in Shanghai, Wei’s photographs-primarily still lifes and nude portraits-offer the viewer a glimpse into very private, still moments, which seem to stand in direct contrast to the larger, ever-changing exterior world. Wei was named one of the fifteen “new generation of photo pioneers” by American Photo in 2007, and was also part of PDN’s annual “30 New and Emerging Photographers to Watch” list in 2008.

Wei’s first monograph, the dreamlike Chinese Sentiment, was published by Charles Lane Press earlier this year. The collection is an intimate exploration of the human impact of China’s arrival as a superpower, and features an introduction by Peter Hessler, staff writer and former Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker. It was guest-edited by Aperture book publisher Lesley A. Martin.

This summer, Wei is included in the Museum of the City of New York’s Moveable Feast: Fresh Produce and the NYC Green Carts Program. This group exhibition on view through September 5 is co-curated by Aperture editor Denise Wolff and documents the ongoing Green Cart Initiative, which placed 1000 mobile food carts offering fresh fruit and vegetables throughout the five boroughs. The exhibition was presented by Aperture and the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund.

Wei spoke with Aperture’s web-editor, Anna Carnick.

AC: What is your idea of happiness?
SW: To have the freedom to do what I want.

How do you define beauty?
The smell of home and my dog.

What do you see as your greatest achievement as an artist so far?
My latest self-portrait project, I Miss You Already.  It took me so many years of struggle to finally breakthrough my shell to be completely free and open and willing.

Your greatest personal achievement?
Convincing my strict Chinese parents on numerous difficult issues throughout my life.

If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?

Probably something musical, a violinist or a dancer.

Your favorite artist, of any genre?
Where should I start?  I have so many.  Recently I have been fascinated by the work of French filmmaker Jacques Tati.

Your favorite photograph?
It has to be Diane Arbus’s Child with a toy hand grenade in Central Park, N.Y.C. 1962.  I had known nothing about photography before I moved to U.S.  The first photo book I ever owned was Diane Arbus: An Aperture Monograph.  I absolutely love that photo when I see it.  It kind of reminds me of myself as a boy in a way.

Your favorite emerging photographer?
I have been a follower of another Shanghai-born photographer, Yijun Liao.  Her current work is a series of self-portraits with her Japanese lover, which is very mysterious, seductive, and intriguing.

Your current soundtrack?
I love French Chanson, Serge Gainsbourg, Patrick Bruel, Bénabar, Marc Lavoine. . .

The last book (photo or other) you really enjoyed?
The Revenge of Thomas Eakins by Sidney D. Kirkpatrick.

Name a person – living or dead – you’d really like to meet.
A Chinese poet from the Dang Dynasty, Li Bai.

What qualities do you appreciate most in friends?

Your favorite motto?
From caring comes courage. – Lao Tzu

Will Steacy: 48 Hours exhibition, and New Print from Aperture

Photograph by Will Steacy, Courtesy the artist

Michael Mazzeo Gallery is pleased to announce a special presentation of recent photographs by the American photographer, journalist, and social documentarian, Will Steacy.

Deeply moved by headlines decrying the perils facing the nation, Steacy, a former union laborer, packed his view camera and drove to Madison, Wisconsin to witness the heated confrontation between union workers and Governor Scott Walker. He spent 24 hours that night and the following day photographing events as they unfolded inside and around the capitol building, as the Governor prepared to sign the notorious bill restricting collective bargaining rights for union workers. Shortly afterwards, Steacy drove to Gary, Indiana, home to the first US Steel plant, and a city whose rise and fall has become a symbol of the plight of the American workforce. He photographed up and down Broadway, Gary’s main artery, documenting City institutions and local businesses, revealing the grim challenges that now face this once-vibrant city. Photographed in 48 hours, Steacy’s understated, quietly seductive images reveal an undercurrent of catastrophic anxiety enveloping the American psyche while pointedly exposing the harsh realities of a nation torn apart by misguided government policies and corporate greed. An outspoken critic of inequality and injustice, Will Steacy’s images, insightful, confrontational, and elegant, offer hope and renewal to a nation divided.

Will Steacy is honored to dedicate this exhibition to his mentor, Charles Gandee, 1952-2011.

Michael Mazzeo Gallery
508 W 26th street, Suite 318
New York

Opening reception:Thursday April 28, 6:00-8:00 pm
Exhibition on view: April 28- April 30, 2011
Artist talk: Saturday April 30,  3:00 pm

Empty Vegetable Stand on Valentine’s Day, 3rd Avenue & 110th, New York 2010, photograph by Will Steacy, courtesy the artist

Aperture is also excited to offer this limited-edition print by Will Steacy, one of five emerging artists selected by Aperture for the NYC Green Cart Photography Commission. This is the first of a series of limited editions from the Green Cart artists, soon to be released. These photographers were given the opportunity to document the NYC Green Cart Initiative, a program that provides fresh fruits and vegetables to underserved urban communities. Each photographer approached this project from a different point of view, offering a unique perspective of the Green Cart program.  The images have also been curated into an exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York titled Moveable Feast: Fresh Produce and the NYC Green Cart Program. Both the exhibition and the commission were  made possible with the generous support of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund.

“I’m interested in the impact the fruit and vegetable carts will have on these areas and how they will compete with the neighborhoods’ established food institutions. As our country adapts to a struggling economy and we debate healthcare, the severity of these national issues can be seen on a local level through the Green Cart Initiative and its influence on New York City’s most economically challenged neighborhoods.”

-Will Steacy

Steacy’s work was inspired by his interest in the relationship between a community’s socio-economic status and its health records. One of the biggest debates in public health today is the fact that low-income households have the highest reported rates of illness, while high-income households report the lowest. Over the course of a year, he photographed the geographic areas where the highest reported instances of poor health and people living without health insurance overlap with Green Cart locations. Empty Vegetable Stand on Valentine’s Day, 3rd Avenue & 110th,  New York is a striking example of one of these neighborhoods.


Last Chance to apply! Behind the scenes of the Work Scholars Program

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Today,  April 15th is the deadline to apply for the next term of Aperture Work Scholars! Don’t miss your chance to be a part of our organization and take part in unique events and opportunities. Be an Aperture intern, apply to the Work Scholar Program, and spend six months to a year at Aperture Foundation.
View images above from last week’s visit by the current Aperture Work Scholars to the Museum of the City of New York, including a private tour given by Sean Corcoran, the curator of prints and photographs of the museum, and Denise Wolff, Aperture Book Editor, co-curators of the Moveable Feast exhibition now on view. By organizing tours like these, the Aperture Foundation offers interns the opportunity to discover behind the scenes at art institutions like the Museum of the City of New York.
See more from the Work Scholar Desk below:

July-December 2011 Work Scholar Session: Deadline to apply extended to April 15th

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The deadline for applications to the Fall 2011 Work Scholar program has been extended to Friday, April 15th. The Work Scholar program at Aperture is a unique opportunity to be introduced to the many facets of the photography, non-profit and publishing fields. Following placement in each of Aperture’s departments, Work Scholars are involved in a range of tasks in the areas of design, editing, circulation, development, sales and marketing. The program also includes a number of special events, curator-led tours of exhibits, special studio visits with Aperture artists and a chance to get involved in the arts and photo world in New York. In the 2011 Spring session Work Scholar visited galleries in the art district of Chelsea and will be given a tour of The Museum of the City of New York show Moveable Feast by the exhibition’s curators.

Click here for more information on Aperture’s Work Scholar program including how to apply

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