Gordon Coster, Dry-Dock, Baltimore, 1927
|KEITH DE LELLIS GALLERY
1045 MADISON AVENUE (between 79th & 80th Streets)
Art & Industry:
A Group Exhibition of Vintage 20th Century Photography
Nearly all of the 54 pictures in this exhibition were taken in the first 60 years of the last century, but they seem to come from an even more distant past. It was a time when big factories, big ships, big dams and big electromagnetic turbines were exciting and admired technology; it is very different from the present era of miniaturization and digital signals stored in ethereal clouds. As is usual with the gallerys theme shows, some of the works are by famous photographers such as Life magazine photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White, whose picture of scattered "Wing Nuts" (c. 1930) is in a series of five images of mass-produced objects. The series also includes the less-well-known Paul J. Woolf's neatly arrayed "Knitting Needles" (c. 1935); Edward Quigley's "Untitled," a swanky display of different-sized ball bearings, and his delicate "Disston Steel" (both c. 1938); and Gordon Coster's abstract "Design Magazine (Stacks after leaving LIFE Press Chicago)" (1954).
The versatile Mr. Coster (1907-1988) has 12 pictures in the show, including such diverse subjects as "TVA Dam Construction" (1942); a solarized "S.S. Normandie" (c. 1935); a man painting the stern of a ship in "Dry-Dock, Baltimore" (1927); and the modernist "Untitled" (c. 1925), a worker dwarfed in a mesh of steel girders and wires. His pictures of factories sum up "Art & Industry": there is a steam locomotive in the foreground of "US Steel" (c. 1938), a pile of coal behind it, steel skeleton structures in the middle, and in back an array of smokestacks billowing dense clouds into the atmosphere.
Mr. Meyers writes on photography for the Journal. His photo book "Outer Boroughs: New York Beyond Manhattan" will be published by Damiani this spring.
Tuesday - Friday: 11:30am to 5:00pm
Saturdays: 11:00am to 5:00pm
Gordon Coster, Design Magazine (Stacks after leaving LIFE press-Chicago), 1954