New York City is home to many museums, but only two focus exclusively on photography. One has been around for forty five years, the other for just a few weeks.
In 1974, the International Center for Photography was founded as a school and exhibition space in midtown Manhattan. For 45 years they have been the number one photography center in New York. They have offered exhibitions covering a wide range of photography, and classes for all levels of students.
In December of 2019, Fotografiska, a new photography museum, opened in the Gramercy Park neighborhood of the city. It is the New York outpost of a set of museums founded by brothers Jan and Per Broman. The sons of a Swedish photographer, in 2010 they opened their first gallery in Stockholm. They built a tremendous reputation, and have started to expand their presence around the world. In June of 2019, they opened in Tallinn. Then in December they opened in New York City at a totally refurbished 19th century building. They have maintained the beautiful, and landmarked, exterior, that was built in 1894 as the home of the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Episcopal Church.
Fotografiska’s web page gives their mission as follows:
“Brothers Jan and Per Broman built the concept of Fotografiska on the foundation of photography as a haven for innovation and free expression. Our goal is to inspire a more conscious world through the art of photography.”
Their mission is to offer a wide variety of photographers and styles, from long established to emerging, from documentary to abstract. Their initial exhibits in New York achieve that goal.
The sixth-floor performance space has been turned over to Danny Clinch. This is appropriate as Mr. Clinch is a photographer of portraits of rock, pop and rap performers taken over the past thirty years. Danny Clinch is almost a New York City local, having been born in Tom’s River NJ in 1964. He started his career as an intern to Annie Liebowitz. Mr. Clinch’s portraits are wonderful look into the lives of his subjects. Whether it is Neil Young , taken in the rear-view mirror of his car, or Eddie Veder leaping across the stage, he presents his subjects in an insightful way.
Ellen von Unwert (b. 1954, Frankfort) has been given the fifth-floor gallery for a retrospective of her amazing images of women. Ms. Von Unwerth views herself as a feminist photographer who stated in an interview in with Harpers Bazaar “The women in my pictures are always strong, even if they are also sexy” (HB 5May2018).
Fotografiska’s fourth floor has been split between two amazing, but vastly different photographers. Tawney Chatmon (b. 1977, Tokyo) produces beautiful portraits of African-American children. What sets her work apart is the way she has taken inspiration of Gustav Klimt. She adorns her photographs with gold paint and gold-leaf to her life size photos, creating multi-media works of art.
Sharing the fourth floor is Helene Schmitz (b. 1960 Stockholm). Her haunting landscapes bring focus to effect of human activity on nature. One example is her set of pieces on kudzu, an ornamental plant that was brought from Japan to the United States. It was planted in the south as a highway decoration, but now grows out of control, covering everything in its path.
The third floor gallery is showing an exhibit in conjunction with Time Magazine. In Other People’s Children, photographer Anastasia Taylor-Lind (b. 1981, Swindon, UK) documents to jobs of women in New York City who spend their days taking care of children who are not their own. From hospitals, to day care centers to nannies, thousands of women in the city make a living by leaving their kids at home, and spending their days and nights with other children.
Fotografiska is a wonderful addition to New York’s museum collection. I look forward to seeing what other treasures they bring to the city.
Nuts and Bolts:
Fotografiska is open Sun - Wed 9:00 AM - 11:00 PM; Thurs - Sat 9:00 AM - Midnight
Admission: $28 adults/ $18 seniors, students, military