Sunday April 8DIRECTOR: MORRIS ENGEL, RUTH ORKIN & RAY ASHLEY
1953 / 80MIN / 35MM
Sunday April 8DIRECTOR: MORRIS ENGEL
VARIOUS / 73MIN / 35MM
Sunday April 8DIRECTOR: MORRIS ENGEL & RUTH ORKIN
1955 / 82MIN / 35MM
Sunday April 8DIRECTOR: MORRIS ENGEL
1958 / 78MIN / 35MM
February 17 – May 5, 2018
Opening Reception: Saturday, February 17, 2018
From 5:00 – 8:00 PM
For Immediate Release, DALLAS, TX:
PDNB Gallery has selected photographs by artists working pre-1950. This group of photographs includes street and documentary styles that became a prevalent part of modern photography. The term “Modern” encompasses many movements in Western art. Regarding Modern photography, the era of Pictorialism was no longer interesting. Straight photography was the emphasis after 1910.
Photographs from the turn-of-the century will be featured as well, including examples of Pictorialism.
Selections illustrating these decades include photographers: Alfred Stieglitz, Frank Meadow Sutcliffe, Peter Henry Emerson, Ralph Steiner, Karl Struss, George Seeley, Morris Engel, Ruth Orkin, Harold Feinstein, Arthur Rothstein, Jack Delano, and Andre Kertesz.
Alfred Steiglitz is perhaps one of the most notable artists in the 20th Century, not only because of his own photography, but he is known for his gallery, 291, and his exquisite Camera Work publications. He promoted not only photography, but other media, including Georgia O’Keefe’s paintings. Most of the pre-1910 images in this show are by photographers that Stieglitz exhibited or published.
Both Jack Delano and Arthur Rothstein were employed by the Farm Security Administration (FSA) during the Great Depression. They documented sharecropper life, the poor farming conditions, and other facets of American life that illustrated the human condition. This documentary archive proved very useful at the time, and now.
New York City has been the center of attention for many photographers. Morris Engel, Ruth Orkin and Harold Feinstein observed many neighborhoods from Harlem to Coney Island, capturing ‘decisive moments’ of the day-to-day activities. A veritable kaleidoscope of timeless imagery was created, evoking a multitude of emotions.
This group exhibition will be located in the galleries opposite of the Peter Brown exhibition.
L. PARKER STEPHENSON GALLERY
May 5 – June 30, 2017
L. Parker Stephenson Photographs is pleased to present Window Dressing, a group exhibition of vintage and later prints by master 20th century photographers and lesser-recognized artists. This presentation explores the myriad ways in which photographers have used the surface and frame of the window in their work. Images date from 1909 to 2003 and were made in the United States, Mexico, France, the UK, and Japan.
A window is a clear, flat encased plane dividing inside from outside. An object of many features; it is transparent yet offers protection, it reveals and obscures, brightens, separates, collapses, and reflects. When paired with other objects or ornamentation, a transformation takes place.
For the delicate still lifes by Josef Sudek and Karl Struss it functions as a rectangular illuminated backdrop, and it echoes a museum vitrine for the glinting knives in Issei Suda’s store display. Walker Evans, Paul Strand, William Klein, and Scott Hammond focus on the communicative possibilities of the glass as a surface upon which messages are written, painted, posted and plastered to entice passersby or tout a cause. Robert Frank, Bruce Davidson and Manuel Alvarez Bravo make use of its architectural elements to graphically highlight their subjects while employing shadow or adornment (of an outside flag or indoor curtain) to simultaneously obscure the figures in anonymity. Bill Brandt, again Robert Frank, and Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen similarly employ the opening while emphasizing the viewer’s perspective: Brandt, from below, gazing up to a uniformed housemaid; Frank from an elevated perspective, over rooftops and streets in Butte, Montana; and Konttinen looking downward at a teen applying eyeliner before a bright, cluttered kitchen window.
The reflective quality of glazing disorients, as seen in Scherril Schell’s layering of skyscrapers and mannequins; Lee Friedlander’s fracturing of a streetscape with a kaleidoscope of cars, signs, and his own hooded reflection; and Robert Doisneau’s cloaking the viewer in secrecy to catch a window-shopper’s surprised expression. The space also acts as point of contact between the interior and the exterior. In photographs by Morris Engel and Jan Yoors the young and old gather on the inside to look, and even reach outside; and Leon Levinstein finds that a sill has become a girl’s stage for an eager circle on the sidewalk below.
In each of the images on view, the artist’s vision of “dressing” provides an accent and a point of focus to an otherwise ordinary and ubiquitous architectural element. However, highlighting a detail can also be a diversionary and illusory tactic. The spectator must step in to decipher the material truth.
For additional information or to request images, please contact the Gallery at +1 212 517-8700 or by email at [email protected]
L. Parker Stephenson Photographs
764 Madison Avenue between 65th and 66th streets
+1 212 517-8700
TRAILER: REVOULUTIONS ON AIR: The Golden Era of New York Radio 1980 – 1988
Boys with Boom box by Morris Engel
THE DAILY PIC (#1636): I’m ashamed that I’d never heard of the films of Morris Engel until just recently, given how wonderful and influential they are. Francois Truffaut said that the movies of the French New Wave would never have existed if their directors hadn’t had the example of Engel to follow, and the same can pretty clearly be said about John Cassavetes and similar American auteurs.
It soothes my ego just a touch to note that even my most cinephilic friends had also not heard of him.
Today’s Pic is the publicity shot for Weddings and Babies, the last of the three films that Engel made, all between 1953 and 1960 and all in collaboration with his wife the street photographer Ruth Orkin. (Engel too spent most of his career as a photojournalist.) It may be my favorite of his films. It tells the poignant story of a perpetually about-to-be-married couple who run a tiny weddings-and-babies photo studio in Little Italy in New York, and make extra money by filming the street life around them.
As in all of Engel’s films, he gives the streets of New York as important a role as any of his human characters. The gorgeous chaos he wanders through is wonderful to watch, and painful, too, from the vantage point of our ever more corporate, antiseptic and Dallas-ized city. Engel’s New York is made extra present because he films its streets with a handheld 35mm camera that he helped design. The cinematographers of the French New Wave owed some of their own hand-holding to him.
Engel’s human characters are also amazing. In Weddings and Babies there’s one old woman with dementia who, despite barely uttering a single line, is utterly compelling. That must be because she’s almost certainly more-or-less playing herself.
A few of Engel’s actors were pros, sometimes even well-known ones. But a lot of them were untrained, asked to improvise their way into their roles. Again, Truffaut and his pals were given extra license to cast “ordinary” people in their films because Engel had done it first.
There are flaws in Engel’s art – he was figuring it out as he went, and sometimes fell back on Hollywood sentiment. (His films’ scores are painfully full of it, despite the occasional moment of jazzy modernism.)
It was easier to get New Wave style right once you had the films of Engel as a reference point. (Image ©1958 Morris Engel)
For a full survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.
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Photo above – Copyright Morris Engel with Ad Reinhardt
Artists have always turned to dreams as a source of inspiration, a retreat from reason, and a space for exploring imagination and desire. In the history of photography, dreams have been most closely associated with the Surrealists, who pushed the technical limits of the medium to transform the camera’s realist documents into fantastical compositions. Whereas their modernist explorations were often bound to psychoanalytic theories, more recently contemporary photographers have pursued the world of sleep and dreams through increasingly open-ended works that succeed through evocation rather than description.
This exhibition takes a cue from the artists it features by displaying a constellation of photographs that collectively evoke the experience of a waking dream. Here, a night sky composed of pills, a fragmented rainbow, a sleeping fairy-tale princess, and an alien underwater landscape illuminate hidden impulses and longings underlying contemporary life. Drawn entirely from The Met collection, Dream States features approximately 30 photographs and video works primarily from the 1970s to the present.
Photographs above of exhibition photos courtesy of Eileen Travell
PM EXHIBITION AT STEVEN KASHER GALLERY IN JANUARY 2016
Morris Engel worked on the staff of PM in the 1940’s and it was one of the most exciting and rewarding times of his photographic career. He photographed Babe Ruth, Mayor Fiorello La guardia, Ingrid Bergman, Comden and Green and many others. Opens 1/14/16 – 2/20/16.
LITTLE FUGITIVE ON TCM – JANUARY 12, 2016 AT 8:00PM
To celebrate the 80th Anniversary of the Museum of Modern Art Film Archive, LITTLE FUGITIVE will be shown on Turner Classic Movies (TCM). LOVERS and LOLLIPOPS and WEDDINGS and BABIES and two documentaries by Mary Engel, RUTH ORKIN: FRAMES OF LIFE AND MORRIS ENGEL: THE INDEPENDENT will also be shown over the next three years.
CONEY ISLAND: Visions of an American Dreamland, 1861 – 2008 is at the Brooklyn Museum of Art until 3/13/16. Morris Engel’s photographs and a clip from LITTLE FUGITIVE are included in this exhibit.