press release

From September 9th through October 29th, 2004, Laurence Miller Gallery will exhibit a selection of approximately fifteen vintage photographs by Helen Levitt. These classic images of graffiti were made on the streets and sidewalks of New York City circa 1939.

Helen Levitt briefly taught art to schoolchildren in 1937 under the Federal Art Project. Walking to these classes, she began to record the transitory nature of life in the street by focusing on drawings and messages scrawled on sidewalks, girders, walls—marks that remained only as long as weather permitted or before someone else’s scratches took their place. Looking at these images, in which calligraphic curves and lines mimic 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 the mundane becomes the poetic.

Helen Levitt lives and works in New York City. Her still-active career spans a 65-year period, and her most recent book of pictures, Here and There, came out in February of this year.

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Helen Levitt
vintage graffiti