arts 03.4.03

Paul Strand

"One of the towering figures of American 20th century photography," as the Encyclopedia of Photography calls Paul Strand, can be freshly experienced at the Howard Greenberg Gallery, 120 Wooster [Prince/Spring] 334.0010, which has never-before-exhibited works from a private collection (through March 15th).

Born in New York in 1890, Strand studied photography at the Ethical Culture School, where he met Stieglitz in 1907. By 1917, Stieglitz was crediting Strand with a breakthrough in style as he moved away from the pictorial to a more sharp focus and abstract approach that included cityscapes and still lifes.

His portraits are particularly arresting. In our day, so many people seem primed for their TV closeup, but Strand's subjects often seem puzzled that someone would want to photograph them and somewhat chary. Yet it is this very reluctance that is revelatory. Even the buildings he captures in Mexico, France and elsewhere feel withdrawn from the onlooker.

A small exhibit but a fully compelling one.
The Post beat us to the punch on this one, but it's worth repeating. The Municipal Archive is selling dozens of prints of vintage New York shots: everything from panoramic views and landmarks to mayors and criminals. Not that mayors and criminals belong in the same sub-clause. The prints run from $25-$75. Check them out here.

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