Magazine article The New Yorker

Photography

Magazine article The New Yorker

Photography

Article excerpt

The now legendary New Orleans photographer (1873-1949) was virtually unknown until 1970, when MOMA exhibited prints that Lee Friedlander made from some of Bellocq's original glass-plate negatives. By then the plates--of portraits of prostitutes in the Storyville red-light district of New Orleans--were in various states of deterioration, with cracks, scrapes, and water damage adding a patina that made them appealing to the modern eye. The Saul gallery is showing thirty-seven prints made about a decade before Friedlander's, when the plates were in better shape. Recently, more has been learned about Bellocq, who was a commercial photographer. The new information and the few extant pieces (including ships under construction and children dressed for their first Communion) still give no clue to what he was up to in Storyville. Through Feb. 2. (535 W. 22nd St. 627-2410.)

In the sixties, this Bed-Stuy native turned Parisian produced the kind of erotic mishmash that came to be standard fare ten years later. However, Cadoo's couples in action, superimposed against tidal swirls or milky galaxies, had the distinction of being illustrations for Henry Miller's "Sexus" back when that kind of thing could get you in trouble. His elegant photojournalistic series "Children of Harlem," from 1965, which is also on view, has aged much better than these experiments in artsy sleaze. Through Dec. 22. (Gat, 1100 Madison Ave., at 82nd St. 327-0441.)

Big nocturnal color shots of cheap, ugly houses bathed in garish light from commercial signs recall the old film-noir motif of a hotel room with flashing neon outside the window. Davis uses it to invest well-worn themes of forlorn Americana with feverish intensity. Gorgeous and depressing, his pictures display a sure instinct for places whose physical decay is a step in the right direction. Through Dec. 22. (Sikkema, 520 W. 22nd St. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.