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Post-War NYC Photos Make Debut At Bruce Museum In Greenwich

Leon Levinstein's "Man Holding Cup" is part of a new photography exhibition at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich.
Leon Levinstein's "Man Holding Cup" is part of a new photography exhibition at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich. Photo Credit: Contributed

GREENWICH, Conn. – A new photography exhibition providing a glimpse into Big Apple life in the post-war period is set to open at the Bruce Museum on Feb. 18.

“Street Smart: Photographs of New York City, 1945-1980” features 30 black-and-white works drawn from the Bruce Museum’s permanent collection, according to a statement from the museum, which said the show “records both cacophonous scenes of urban life and moments of quietude and respite from the chaos.”

The decades after World War II were a period of great change in New York according to the statement, which said that an increase in photography coincided with “a whirlwind of activities from protests and race riots to jazz performances.”

Featured in the exhibit are the works of five photographers: Larry Fink, Herman Leonard, Leon Levinstein, John Shearer and Garry Winogrand, the museum said while describing several of the works that are to be displayed.

In his 1949 work, “Stan Getz, Birdland,” Leonard places the viewer at the center of the action, in the audience or right on the stage to offer a view of one of the most important musicians in American history, said Mia Laufer, the exhibition's curator, in the museum's statement.

“The vibrancy and the excitement in the jazz clubs are palpable,” she said.

In his work “Man Holding Cup,” Levinstein photographed anonymous strangers, cropping their heads and tilting the camera provide a “candid and off-the-cuff” appearance, Laufer said, adding that Levinstein actually composed the photograph quite carefully to create the impression that the viewer is the one walking down the street.

“Photographers working in New York were fascinated by both the glamorous lives of the rich and famous, and the darker undercurrents of urban poverty,” she said.

“Street Smart” is to run through June 4, according to the museum, which said that the exhibition is receiving support from The Charles M. and Deborah G. Royce Exhibition Fund and the Connecticut Office of the Arts.

The Bruce Museum is located at 1 Museum Drive, Greenwich, and is open from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Tuesday-Sunday.

For information, call 203-869-0376 or visit the Bruce Museum online .

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