Museum of Art. The IMA has stuck a sequence of stickers on the floor; follow
them like breadcrumbs and they lead to a gallery space in, of all places, the
European Collection. It's a slightly incongruous location for an exhibition of
work by an artist whose photographs have played a big part in defining 20th
century Americana. If any one person can take credit for being first at the
intersection where loneliness, desire and violence meet something called Noir,
it was the ambulance-chasing Weegee. But then, Usher Fellig — Weegee to
the rest of us — was a Ukrainian immigrant, whose eye for his adopted country
and, in particular, New York City was not only fresh but raw.
the IMA's great good fortune to have acquired a treasure-trove of Weegee's
photographs for its collection and the selection currently on view, while
modest, does a worthwhile job of showing that Weegee's interests extended well
beyond his famous crime scene images.
pictures here span the 1940s through 1960 and include shots of people sleeping
in movie theaters, sideshow performers, dancers and crowd scenes, as well as a
selection of deliberately distorted shots. Although Weegee is readily pegged as
a chronicler of visceral America, these pictures remind us that he was also
fascinated by this country's transplanted character. Face after face finds the
old country uprooted, thrown against the wall of something bright and new and
Jan. 23, 2011; www.imamuseum.org.