In 1952, after studying photography at Chicago’s Institute of Design, native New Yorker Marvin E. Newman returned to his hometown. Like many artists before, he set about chronicling the city. Unlike his predecessors, Newman chose color photography as the preeminent medium for capturing the people, landmarks, chaos, and energy of the self-proclaimed Greatest City in the World, commenting, “We see in color, so black and white is technically a handicap for representing the world.”
Today, Newman’s vivid images are lauded by the likes of Eastman House, MoMA, and the International Center of Photography, but remain largely undiscovered beyond a prestigious collector and gallery circle. In this stately Art Edition, TASCHEN presents the photographer’s first-ever career monograph, featuring some 170 pictures from the late 1940s through to the early 1980s, and accompanied by the signed photographic print 42nd Street, 1983.
This image of 42nd Street was taken some 30 years after Newman’s earlier Times Square series and revisits the area with a sense of menace and sleaze, perfectly encapsulated in the movie Taxi Driver, which had came out a few years previously. Major technical developments in camera and film since the 1950s allow Newman to infuse his content with even greater drama. He makes use of signage to enhance the stagelike setting of the street further, pervading the scene with sinister irony with the featured movie title Make Them Die Slowly. Newman himself is positioned here very much as the voyeur, caught in the act by the yuppie group cruising by in a Rolls-Royce who, in turn, photograph the photographer from the backseat.
The signed Art Edition volume includes other vivid tableaux across New York, as well as top shots from Newman’s sports photography portfolio for the likes of Life, Look, and Sports Illustrated, and images from the Midwest; Chicago; a vintage 1950s circus; a legalized brothel in Reno, Nevada; Las Vegas; Alaska; and the West Coast. With a new essay by critic and scholar Lyle Rexer, this first chronological retrospective offers due recognition to an outstanding talent and a tribute to New York in all its thrilling, chaotic, and stately glory.
Art Edition of 75 numbered and signed copies, each with signed print 42nd Street, 1983.
About Marvin E. Newman
American, b. 1927, New York, NY, USA, based in New York, NY, USA