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| Published ||May 18, 2010 at 10:13am|
| Seen ||3253 times|
Coney Island - Bruce Gilden
Wednesday May 12, 2010 - Friday July 9, 2010 - Event ended.
Shot over the course of the late sixties, seventies and early eighties, the images illustrate the social and cultural changes that have occurred over time at Coney Island, while testifying to the almost quixotic and intransigent uniqueness of this famous neighborhood. In Gilden’s photographs, the bright sand of the beach becomes a canvas upon which an excess of flesh unfurls.
Sitting on the outskirts of the five boroughs, the world famous pleasure beach of Coney Island has been the summer destination for New Yorkers since its heyday in the 1890s. Towards the end of the 1960s, one year after he first picked up a camera, Bruce Gilden took the subway train through Brooklyn to capture the sunbathers, the weekenders, the sideshow booths and the Cyclone rollercoaster. Coney Island's reputation has steadily slipped since Gilden started to photograph there, and is now known as a place where the poor who cannot escape the summer city heat go for thrills. Regardless of this reputation, Gilden's ability to eke out the characters and eccentricities give the beach and its surrounding neighborhood a humorous view of daily life from the sixties through until the late 1980s.
Exhibition: “Bruce Gilden: Coney Island”
Dates: May 12 – July 9
Artist’s Reception: Wednesday, May 12, 6 – 8 PM
Amador Gallery is pleased to present Bruce Gilden’s celebrated photographs of Coney Island. Shot over the course of the late sixties, seventies and early eighties, the images illustrate the social and cultural changes that have occurred over time at Coney Island, while testifying to the almost quixotic and intransigent uniqueness of this famous neighborhood.
Gilden’s photography practice evolved in the years following the popularization of American street photography after the MoMA New Documents exhibition of 1967. His work certainly participates in a similar project to that of Arbus, Winogrand and Friedlander, in which the mechanical uniformity of the photographic medium highlights the enchanted and sometimes twisted or despondent nature of the photographed world. Gilden, however, articulates a stronger sense of engagement and participation. Whereas you might see Friedlander’s shadow in his photographs, Gilden gets close to his subjects, so close that he consistently seems present in the images without having to overtly suggest the fact. By stressing his presence, Gilden highlights his formal decisions and seems to construct a world that reflects back on himself: a portrait of the artist through the assembly of the series. In this way, the unique glimpses and peculiar characters presented in the photographs don’t seem castigated for their oddness, but rather appear like inflections of Gilden’s own personality, radiating a vibrancy that mediates the space between the viewer and the setting: the beaches and boardwalks of Coney Island. None of this denies the individuality of the figures. Rather it effectively collapses the critical distance between viewer, photographer and subject, establishing engaging relationships between these positions.
Of the figures in the photographs, it is most notable how they brazenly assert their physical form, unabashedly revealing their bodies and personalities. The setting complements these characteristics, as though it were built to be consumed by these bodies. The bright sand of the beach becomes a canvas upon which an excess of flesh unfurls. This surfeit of skin, whether that of skinny elderly men, lanky middle-aged women or heavyset couples, literally reflects the powerful summer sun, relaying its intensity to the camera and darkening these people’s bodies, making them—like the photograph—an index of this place. Thus, though many years are covered in these photographs, the personality of Coney Island remains consistent and gleefully uncompromising.
Since 1998 Bruce Gilden has been a member of the preeminent photo coop Magnum Photos. He’s received numerous awards including several fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts and has published extensively. Having assembled several projects on Haiti, his most recent work documents the devastation of the recent earthquake on the tiny island nation.
Amador Gallery is located in the landmark Fuller Building at 41 East 57th Street on the 6th floor.
Gallery hours are 11 to 6 Tuesday through Saturday and by appointment.
For additional information, please contact the gallery at 212-759-6740, for more information visit www.amadorgallery.com or contact us at email@example.com.
T H E F U L L E R B U I L D I N G
4 1 E 5 7 S T 6 F L
N E W Y O R K , N Y 1 0 0 2 2
U S A
T 2 1 2 7 5 9 - 6 7 4 0
F 2 1 2 7 5 9 - 6 7 4 6
B R U C E G I L D E N
NYC CONEY ISLAND 1969
Gelatin silver print 24" x 20"
© Bruce Gilden / Magnum Photos
More information http://www.amadorgallery.com