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"NY NY: Vintage Photographs From The Photo League and The New York School work by Lida Moser, Joe Schwartz, Erika Stone and Bill Witt"
2002-03-01 until 2002-04-30
Stephen Cohen Gallery
Los Angeles, CA, USA United States of America

The Photo League was a school, an association, a social club and probably the birth place of American Documentary Photography as we know it today. Founded in 1936 and disbanded in 1951 by government blacklisting, the Photo League promoted photojournalism with an aesthetic consciousness and a social conscience.

The work that Photo League members Moser, Schwartz, Stone and Witt produced is beautiful, textured and disturbing. These artists worked during tough times; the effects of the depression were everywhere evident, fascism was on the rise in Europe, laborers held demonstrations and lengthy strikes. The Photo League documented New York Society capturing the texture and vitality of a great American city in transition.

The photographs in the exhibition documents a period that seems far away. People, cars and clothes donét look like that anymore. But it would be a mistake to dismiss this work as anything less that timely and relevant. The neighborhoods documented by the Photo League are self contained, populated by small societies within the metropolis of the city. This is still New York; this is New York today as it struggles to deal with tremendous loss and transition. The work of The Photo League should remind us of the miraculous humanity that exists within the greatest cities; and of the importance of documenting that humanity for now and the future.

IMAGE:
Bill Witt
Rainy Day in the City, NYC, 1939-40
Silver Gelatin Print


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