Helen Levitt – Observing New York’s Streets

Espace Van Gogh
1 July – 22 September
10H00 – 19H30

Helen Levitt

The Helen Levitt exhibition “Observing New York’s Streets” opened on July 1st at the Espace Van Gogh in Arles, during Les Rencontres de la Photographie 2019.

In the 1930s, Helen Levitt began photographing street life in New York’s disadvantaged neighborhoods such as East Harlem and the Lower East Side: graffiti, people sitting outdoors and children playing are some of her central themes. Contrary to the intention of traditional photojournalism to document social injustice for political ends, it considers photography a form of artistic expression that allows it to blend everyday life with a personal aesthetic understanding.

In fact, Levitt’s photographic language adopted different political and artistic debates of his time, showing street scenes in New York as if they were mythical costumes or exotic ceremonies with an ethnographic interest. Many of the 130 photographs on display are shown here for the first time, giving us a nuanced look at Levitt’s work, demonstrating its development from the street photographer to the filmmaker and color photographer.

Curator of the exhibition: Walter Moser.
Exhibition co-produced by The Albertina Museum, Wien, in collaboration with the Rencontres d’Arles.
Publication: Helen Levitt, Duncan Forbes, Astrid Mahler, Walter Moser, Christina Natlacen, Bert Rebhandl, Kehrer Verlag, 2019.
Bert Rebhandl, Kehrer Verlag, 2019.
Wallpapers of Processus, Paris.
Framing of the Albertina Museum, Vienna.

With the support of Florence & Damien Bachelot Collection.

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