Weegee’s Bowery on Display in Jersey City

Rubber stamp used by the photographer Weegee (Arthur Fellig) for signing his pictures.

Rubber stamp used by the photographer Weegee (Arthur Fellig) for signing his pictures.

If you hurry you can still catch an exhibit well worth your time. Until August 5th Jersey City’s Mana Contemporary will be showing the work of Usher Fellig, better known as Weegee, depicting the Bowery when it was deep in its “Skid Row” phase.

Usher Fellig, born in what is now Ukraine in 1899, was an ‘infamous’ New York City press photographer. Usher was changed to Arthur upon his arrival to US shores, but he became Weegee somewhere along the way because of his uncanny ability to arrive at crime scenes within minutes of their occurrence. (Weegee is a misspelling of Ouija, as in the board that connects this world to the “other world.”)

His black and white renderings of urban life are shocking statements about the harsh realities of life in New York during the 30s and 40s of the 20th century.

The exhibit, Weegee’s New York,  focus on the down and out population that gathered in the Bowery, living in the shadow of the Third Avenue El, on the street, in flea-bag hotels, and flop houses which could be had for only 25 cents/night.

The International Center for Photography in New York City was given Weegee’s estate in 1997. In 2015 ICP opened a branch at Mana in Jersey City in 2015 as an expansion of it Manhattan campus. The exhibit, which closes on August 5th, was organized by ICP in honor of the opening of a new branch in the Bowery.

ICP at Mana is open only by advanced appointment. To make an appointment contact: [email protected]
Hours Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturdays, noon-6 p.m. Admission is free.

The International Center of Photography Coming to the Bowery

Moving Day Coming to the ICP

Moving Day Coming to the ICP

Last March artnet News reported that the lease on the space in which the International Center of Photography was expiring.  Ever since we have been waiting to hear to where the ICP would make their move.

We need wait no more. According to a recent article in the New York Times, the board of the ICP gave the go-ahead for the purchase of a building on the Bowery. The premises is close to the New Museum, and the announcement said that the new space will be up and running by mid-2015.

The old lease held by the ICP on a space in midtown, which is up in January 2015, has been in effect as a practically rent-free agreement since the 1980s. Mark Lubell, executive director of the ICP, did not say how much the new building will cost, or its exact location, due to the sensitive nature of the ongoing negotiations. Lubell did explain why he picked the Bowery over some other prime spots in New York for the ICP.

“There’s openness to experimentation and ideas in that part of town,” Lubell is quoted in the Times. “Chelsea is a wonderful place, but it’s already done and established. We’d be following, and I don’t want to follow.”

The ICP has a collection with more than 100,000 photographs. There are major holdings of such photographers as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Frank, Lisette Model, and Garry Winogrand, and others. The collection will be moving from the Midtown site into the Mana Contemporary, a storage and exhibition space for fine art collections in Jersey City. ICP will open a media lab there which will provide access to the photos.