Beetles and Huxley, 27th of October – 21st of November 2015.
Beetles and Huxley presents a retrospective of works by Berenice Abbott (1898-1991), who is considered one of most important American documentary photographers. The display includes photographs taken between 1926 and 1961.
The exhibition is set up chronologically and starts with the portraits which Abbot took in her studio in Paris at the beginning of her career. The viewers can see on show such famous sitters as James Joyce, Max Ernst, Princess Murat or Eugène Atget.
After spending almost a decade in Paris, Abbot moved back to New York, where she took on a project of documenting the changes that the city was undergoing while transforming into a modern urban centre. In addition to the photographs depicting the streets and people of New York (for example, Tri-Boro Barber School, 264 Bowery, 1935 or Court Of The First Model Tenement House In New York, 72nd Street And First Avenue, Manhattan, 1936), the viewers can admire spectacular images of New York’s architecture and raising skyscrapers (Murray Hill Hotel, Spiral, 112 Park Avenue, Manhattan, 19, Rockefeller Center, Promenade, 4 March 1937, Canyon: Financial Districts, New York, 1936, and Broadway To The Battery, New York, 1938 among the others). The display also includes beautiful depiction of New York by night (Nightview, New York, 1932).
Beetles and Huxley also included in their exhibition images from a less know project: U.S. Route 1, which Berenice took while travelling this U.S. Highway from Maine to Florida in 1951. The project consisted of documenting American life and towns that she came across on her journey along the Atlantic coast. The photographs on show include Silky's Hot Dog Stand in Daytona Beach, Florida and American Shops, New Jersey, among the others.
The last section of the show covers another important project in Abbott’s life, the photography of science experiments. Abstract photographs, like Soap Bubbles, Light through a Prism or Magnetism With Key aimed to explain science in an accessible way and were published in a high-school physics textbook.
Overall, the exhibition presents an informative and thought-provoking retrospection of the most important episodes of Berenice Abbott’s career. It gives the viewers the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the work and life of this outstanding photographer and also inspires to explore more about the artist. It is worth noting that all of the photographs on display can be purchased. In addition, the exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, which covers not only Abbott’s works but also provides further information about her life.
Please visit the Beetles and Huxley website to find out more about the exhibition.
Additional information about Berenice Abbott and further links can also be found in my previous post.