"Only in New York"

A new exhibit showcases images of New York City from the iconic Look magazine.

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  • Salvador Dal, 1947

  • Katherine Dunham with troupe, 1946

  • Eastern Air Lines stewardess Nancy Price with ex--Army Air Force pilot and aspiring actor Michael Mindlin in Times Square, 1946

  • Young lovers, 1946

  • Boxer Rocky Graziano, 1949

  • Stanley Kubrick, reflected in mirror, photographing showgirl Rosemary Williams, 1949

Salvador Dal, 1947

Photographs: Courtesy Museum of the City of New York, Look Collection

Salvador Dal, 1947


Photographer: Bob Sandberg
This photo reflects the whimsy that characterized many of Look’s pictorials. “There’s a kind of wackiness to this that brings a smile to people’s faces,” says Thomas Mellins, cocurator of the exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York.

Katherine Dunham with troupe, 1946


Photographer: Bob Sandberg
Look often covered the performing arts in NYC. “In some respects, she was a woman ahead of her time,” Mellins says of the choreographer, who held a master’s degree in anthropology. “The fact that Look was celebrating her was in keeping with their editorial stance.”

Eastern Air Lines stewardess Nancy Price with ex--Army Air Force pilot and aspiring actor Michael Mindlin in Times Square, 1946


Photographer: Hy Peskin
This photo presents an especially iconic New York scene: a young couple standing in Times Square. “They look full of hope,” remarks Mellins. “There’s nothing jaded about this image.”

Young lovers, 1946


Photographer: Stanley Kubrick
This was part of a “Love Is Everywhere” package, which showed urban settings as the backdrop for romantic encounters. “In New York, in order to have intimate moments, public places often become very private ones,” says Mellins.

Boxer Rocky Graziano, 1949


Photographer: Stanley Kubrick
Before his career as a celebrated filmmaker, Stanley Kubrick was a photographer for Look—he began as an apprentice at age 17. The sharp contrast of light and dark in this image foreshadows Kubrick’s frequent use of archetypes. “It goes beyond the individual. He’s portraying something larger,” says the exhibit’s cocurator Thomas Mellins.

Stanley Kubrick, reflected in mirror, photographing showgirl Rosemary Williams, 1949


Photographer: Stanley Kubrick
While Stanley Kubrick later met with success, the showgirl in this image never made it big. “It’s a city of ambition, but not everybody achieves their goals,” says cocurator Donald Albrecht. This photo “reveals the notion that things happen in New York that don’t happen in other places,” Mellins explains. “These people are trying to make it, but they get up in the morning just like you and I do.”

GET RETROSPECTIVE!
“Only in New York: Photographs from Look Magazine.” Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Ave at 103rd St (212-534-1672, mcny.org). Tue 17--Jan 18.

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