Wall Street Journal

 

The October 22nd-23rd, 2011 issue of  The Wall Street Journal  features
a review by William Meyers of our current exhibition.

 

Simpson Kalisher  
    
Simpson Kalisher, The Alienated Photographer
Simpson Kalisher, Untitled, 1959

 

KEITH DE LELLIS GALLERY
1045 MADISON AVENUE (between 79th & 80th Streets)

  

  

Simpson Kalisher (b. 1926) is one of the street photographers who made midtown Manhattan as critical a site for mid-20th-century photography as the forest of Arden was for Shakespearean comedy. In a picture taken in 1959, the camera looks north up Fifth Avenue as the traffic light changes and a massed wave of pedestrians steps off the curb to cross West 51st Street. Nothing unusual is happening in this picture, there are no freaks or confrontations, but our eye keeps moving left to right and then right to left across the line of faces approaching us: The ordinariness of these people is quite stunning. The men and women look straight ahead as they march single-mindedly toward us and their destinations. It is not really us, of course, but Mr. Kalisher who is headed in the other direction.

  

In another picture taken the same year, there is only one person on the sidewalk in front of the Eastern Air Lines building in Rockefeller Plaza, a doorman wearing a full-dress uniform cap. Aside from him, the other elements in the picture are the facade of the building with an enormous, backlit American flag hanging above the marquee and, at the curb, a Cadillac Coupe de Ville: Its egregiously superfluous tailfins are as emblematic as the flag. Not all of Mr. Kalisher's pictures were taken in New York, but his wry humor travels with him.

  

-William Meyers

  

Mr. Meyers writes about photography for the Wall Street Journal.

 

Tuesday - Friday: 11:00am to 5:30pm
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Simpson Kalisher, The Alienated Photographer
Simpson Kalisher, Untitled, 1959