New York Photo Review
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Making Caribbean Dance by Susanna Sloat
The Genetic Wars by Barbara Confino
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Night

Night
At Suzy’s by Brassai. Source: brucesilverstein.com
Brassai, "At Suzy’s" c. 1932

Night, the new exhibit at Bruce Silverstein is a nice, well thought out, modest show, featuring the work of four classic photographers: Brassai, Kertesz, Doisneau, and Bing.

Robert Doisneau offers the most surprises; neither the ubiquitous lovers nor the school children he is famous for, the work shown places him squarely with Brassai as a connoisseur of the illicit pleasures of the Parisian night. Done between 1950 and 1970, these images are more recent than the classic Brassai’s or Kertesz’s. Yet they so resemble the former in style and content they could have been done at the same time, underscoring the uniformity of the black and white reportage style that preceded the dominion of Robert Frank.

The quality of the Kertesz group is uneven, though there are some real gems. Among them a late shot of a snow covered New York Street done from above. Kertesz was fascinated with high viewpoints all his artistic life and returned again and again to this perspective, notably in the wonderful images of Washington Square Park he took from his apartment. These are absent from the show, but included is a Parisian precursor: Paris Night Square (Square Jolivet), Paris, 1927.

 by unidentified photographer.
Kertesz, December 23, 1963

Brassai’s work is the most familiar. His chunky forlorn streetwalkers, transvestite dancers, and petty criminals are well known, their images justly admired.

The least known photographer of the group, Ilse Bing, is the least accomplished as well. Focusing mostly on architectural details, her work lacks both the human drama of her contemporaries and its compositional sureness. Still, there are one or two that are special, such as her Can Can Dancer from the Moulin Rouge, 1933.

In general most are images we are comfortable with, and visiting this show is like a date with an old friend it is always a pleasure to see.


Night


Bruce Silverstein
535 W 24th St. Ground Fl
Chelsea         Map

212 627 3930
brucesilverstein.com

Thursday, April 7 to
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Hours: Tues-Sat, 10 to 6
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The Genetic Wars by Barbara Confino
Making Caribbean Dance by Susanna Sloat
Central Booking Magazine
Soho Photo Gallery