press release

From March 7 through April 13, Laurence Miller Gallery will feature a selection of Helen Levitt’s photographs of chalk drawings, messages and graffiti from her book In the Street. This exhibition celebrates the 15th anniversary of the International Center of Photography’s show of these works in 1987 and will be the gallery’s first show devoted exclusively to these images since that time.

As a young photographer in New York in the 30’s and 40’s, Helen Levitt recorded the transitory nature of life in the street by focusing on the drawings and messages she found on sidewalks, girders, and walls-marks that remained only as long as the weather permitted. Looking at these images, in which calligraphic curves and lines call to mind the human gestures of her more well-known street pictures, one is reminded of the key element of Helen Levitt’s work: the ability to capture that moment when poetry is made.

The exhibit will feature vintage and recently printed photographs and large-scale murals. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of these pictures, viewing them after 60 years, is how truly contemporary they feel. Murals such as "Poster Girl" and "5-Cent Soda" call to mind Pop Art of the 60’s and Conceptual Art from the 80’s, revealing a photographer who was ahead of her time from early on in her career.

Helen Levitt lives in New York City and continues to work. Her photographs are in most major museum collections worldwide, and the largest selection of her work ever published, Crosstown, was just released in 2001.

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Helen Levitt