WEEGEE

Mayhem

November 10 – December 30, 2016

Weegee On top of Empire State Building ca.1942
Weegee Crowd with Mannequin, ca. 1940
Weegee Scene at Manhattan Police Headquarters, c. 1940
Weegee A Stitch in Time at Coney Island, ca. 1941
Weegee Watching Five Alarm Fire
Weegee Summer, Lower East Side, ca. 1937
Weegee Frank Pape, Arrested for Homicide
Weegee Perp Walk. ca. 1942

Press Release

Laurence Miller Gallery is pleased to present WEEGEE: Mayhem, an exhibition of eight select images from this artist’s New York City street scenes from the 1930s and 40s. The portrays NYC in all it's range: from stark and gritty urban crime to the sponaneous humor and lyricism of it's street life.

Weegee was the pseudonym adopted by Arthur Fellig, born in 1899 in what is now part of the Ukraine. He and his family emigrated to New York in 1908, where he began working in a variety of photography-related odd jobs, until 1935, when he became a freelance photographer. He mostly covered crime scenes, fires, and emergencies, and had an uncanny ability to arrive at the scene before police and other emergency personnel. In the trunk of his car was a complete darkroom, to ensure that he could get his images out before other competing photojournalists. His quickness on the scene gave him the opportunity to get the first and most sensational images, which he would then offer for sale to newspaper publications like the Herald-Tribune, the Daily News,  the Post, and others. At the same time, his work began to be featured in fine-art venues as well, including exhibitions at MOMA and the New York Photo League.

Weegee later pursued a career in the film industry, working in Hollywood from 1946 to the early 1960s – as a still photographer, film-maker, special effects consultant, and actor. He died in 1968 at the age of 69. Twenty-five years later, his widow donated the entire Weegee archive to the International Center of Photography in New York City.