Street, Life, Photography: Joel Meyerowitz at Kunst Haus Wien

An extensive exhibition of street photography including work by Joel Meyerowitz has opened at the Kunst Haus Wien in Vienna, where the US photographer and protagonist of New Color Photography was previously the subject of a major retrospective. Street. Life. Photography includes over 200 works charting the shifts in street photography which occurred between the 1930s and the present day, divided into five chapters: Street Life, Crashes, Public Transfer, Anonymity and Alienation. Meyerowitz’s work, Fallen Man, Paris – in which a man lies on the Parisian sidewalk next to a metro subway entrance, arms outstretched, whilst a workman casually steps over his fallen body and a stunned crowd looks on – appears alongside works by Diane Arbus, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Bruce Gilden and Stephen Shore.

Meyerowitz considers the 1967 work one of his best, emblematic of his long career and, more specifically, his European tour, which began in the United Kingdom in 1966 and ended in Italy in 1967. The body of work which he produced during this time gained prominence the following year in My European Trip – Meyerowitz’s first exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Despite reflecting the difficult social, cultural and political situation in post-war Europe, the work captured viewers’ imaginations and Meyerowitz’s unparalleled ability to present understated humour in the everyday.

Meyerowitz has said of the work “Best is superlative […] yet for any artist best also signifies a work from different periods of development and growing consciousness. Here, in Paris, 1967, the photograph provoked me to consider: which is the greater drama of life in the city: the fictitious clash between two figures that is implied, or the indifference of the one to the other that is actual? A photograph allows such contradictions to exist in everyday life; more than that, it encourages them. Photography is about being exquisitely present.”

The exhibition is organized by Haus der Photographie | Deichtorhallen, Hamburg in cooperation with Kunst Haus Wien, and has been curated by Sabine Schnakenberg and Verena Kaspar-Eisert. Street. Life. Photography: Seven Decades of Street Photography is at the Kunst Haus Wien, Vienna until 16 February 2020. Learn more here.

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