Indepth Arts News: |
2000-04-02 until 2000-07-02
Museum of Modern Art
UK United Kingdom
Weegee (born: Usher Fellig, 1899, Ukraine,
formerly Austria, died: 1968, New York). In
1910 he emigrated to the United States,
Manhattan's Lower East Side, along with many
other Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe.
Renamed Arthur, he was one of the most
famous photographers in the States of the
1930s, 40s and 50s, with his pictures featured
frequently in The New York Times, Herald
Tribune and Life magazine. He was a street
photographer, capturing the life of the city -
people at work, at play, asleep, and victims of
accidents and murder.
Weegee was a photographer who stalked
intimacy as well as catastrophe, snapping lovers on the beach, people enjoying
the movies and children sleeping on tenement fire escapes. He was a showman
tabloid photographer, who coined the phrase 'Weegee The Famous' and
actually stamped his photographs in this way. An immigrant himself, he
photographed tenement dwellers with an insider's compassion, and confessed
that the scenes he was shooting sometimes made him cry.
There is no doubt that the photos which earned him $5 each justly deserve the
enduring attention they have subsequently been given. Although the pictures
began as tabloid shots to earn a quick 'buck', by the time Weegee put them
together in books, (the most famous being 'Naked City'), they represented a
fascinating portrait of New York, which ensured him a well-deserved place in the
history of photography.
Although, Weegee's work has been seen in a number of group shows, Britain
has never benefited from a large-scale retrospective. We are delighted to be
bringing Weegee's work to new audiences through this show, as well as to
those people in the UK who already know and enjoy his work, but have little
opportunity to see it.
The Weegee exhibition at MOMA focuses on work made in New York and
Hollywood in the late 30s and early 40s with over 200 photographs from the
collection of Hendrick Berinson in Berlin.
Weegee is organised in collaboration with Rupertinum Salzburg, where it was
first shown. After Oxford it will then tour to Magazin 3 in Stockholm. A
catalogue accompanies the exhibition and is available directly from the
Museum of Modern Art Oxford.