RYAN WEIDEMAN: Cab Culture
November 20 – December 24, 2004
Bruce Silverstein Photography is pleased to announce the exhibition Ryan Weideman: CAB CULTURE. Since 1992, and funded by a Guggenheim Fellowship, Weideman has crisscrossed large and small cities of the United States for over a decade in search of his “fellow” taxicab drivers. These images, recorded with a 4 x 5 press camera and taken inside a portable studio-tent, are captivating, sometimes disturbing portraits of a unique and marginalized segment of urban society documented from the inside out. Ryan Weideman states:
Because I am a driver, entry into their world is assured and because of the relative freedom, that taxi driving affords—not only the freedom to make their own work hours, but to be who they are—gypsies, outlaws, and family men, etc.
In Ryan Weidman’s first photojournalistic project entitled, In My Taxi the artist shot passenger portraits in his cab, which he refers to as his “New York City studio on wheels”. The artist describes the portraits of the taxi drivers in this exhibition as a continuation of his family photo album. In accordance with this, CAB CULTURE includes a self-portrait to reinforce the artist’s connection to the others.
In 1980, Ryan Weideman cruised into New York City to become a street photographer. Having graduated with an MFA from the California College of Arts & Crafts, Weideman already had a style greatly influenced by the other photographers of the period including Lee Friedlander and Mark Cohen. Yet, after a month in New York City, Weideman’s focus turned to more immediate goals – earning money to pay his rent. Soon after renting a tenement on West 43rd Street (an apartment in which he still lives), a chance encounter with a neighbor who drove a taxi led Weideman to his newfound profession.
Ryan Weideman’s work is a part of such prestigious collections as the Brooklyn Museum, the Oakland Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago. Weideman’s awards include Guggenheim Fellowship Grant (1992-1993,) a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship (1986-1987,) and a NEA Fellowship Grant.