Bruce Silverstein is pleased to return to the 2021 edition of The Armory Show. This year, the gallery will present a timely installation that honors our home, New York City, and includes works that celebrate the great metropolis and all who inhabit it. The gallery’s display focuses on work spanning from the early 20th century to the modern-day, including exceptional photographs and paintings by artists with a deep personal connection to the city, including Berenice Abbott, Adger Cowans, Bill Cunningham, Ahmet Ertuğ, Chester Higgins, André Kertész, Walter Iooss, Frank Paulin, Larry Silver, Aaron Siskind, and Ryan Weideman. Each of these artists provides a comprehensive and inclusive visual depiction of Manhattan during these dynamic decades.
Anchoring the booth is an extraordinary, early mammoth print of the iconic Grand Central Terminal from 1920 featured in The Museum of Modern Art’s 1958 exhibition Architecture Worth Saving, an exhibition that demonstrated the rapidity at which America was losing much of its architectural heritage.
A carefully curated selection of photographs by Bill Cunningham will also be on view, marking this as the first public exhibition of Cunningham’s work in this manner. A fashion historian and columnist for The New York Times, Cunningham captured his love for fashion at parties, events, and most prominently, the street style of New York City. His work depicts the evolution of trends that nodded to politics and moments of cultural transition—Cunningham’s instinct and autonomous lens enabled him to capture these moments at their inception.
Adger Cowans’s powerful image Icarus, 1966, depicts a silhouetted figure seemingly falling in mid-air. Cowans was a founding member of The Kamoinge Workshop, a collective of photographers established in New York City in 1963 whose members sought to photograph the Black community with dignity and positivity. Deeply rooted in Abstract Expressionism, Cowans’s early paintings from this period were created using combs and custom-made beveled glass squeegees, incorporating exaggerated sweeping gesticulations of paint that endowed the works with fluidity and motion. Complimenting his photographs are two early large-scale paintings that will be exhibited.
A rare oversized vintage print of Aaron Siskind’s abstract masterpiece New York 14, 1950 will be on display. The image, depicting an oil stained, crumpled piece of discarded paper hung in William de Kooning’s studio and is said to have been a major influence on his monumental Women paintings during a time in which the painter struggled with the series. Aaron Siskind was the only photographic member of the Abstract Expressionist group.
Created between the 1950s and 1960s from the privacy of his Fifth Avenue apartment window, André Kertész honed his lens on anonymous city dwellers unbeknownst to them. Capturing fragments of passersby on the streets below, in the windows of adjacent buildings, and on Washington Square Park, Kertész’s timeless images reveal his attempts to engage with his new community in the city. On view will be a selection of photographs from the estate of the artist.
Additionally on view, two exceptional large-format architectural studies of specific sites in Manhattan and Brooklyn, created by Turkish artist Ahmet Ertuğ, an oversized platinum print of Chester Higgins’s most famed image, Young Muslim Woman in Brooklyn, 1990 as well as his Hopper-esque masterpiece Early Morning Coffee, 1974, Walter Iooss’ monumental N.Y. Giants vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, Bronx, NY, 1963, early New York street images by Berenice Abbott, Frank Paulin, and Larry Silver, as well as photographs by taxi driver Ryan Weideman taken in the back seat of his taxi in the 1980s.