Vivian Maier: In Her Own Hands
Howard Greenberg Gallery
41 East 57th Street, Suite 1406
October 30th – December 6th, 2014
An exhibition of photographs by Vivian Maier dating from the mid-1950s to the mid-1970s will be on view at Howard Greenberg Gallery from October 30th – December 6th, 2014. Vivian Maier: In Her Own Hands will present more than 40 photographs, most exhibited for the first time. The exhibition coincides with the publication of a new book entitled Vivian Maier: A Photographer Found by John Maloof (Harper Design) with a scholarly essay by Marvin Heiferman. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, October 30th, from 6-8 p.m.
Vivian Maier: In Her Own Hands will present a series of Maier’s rare prints made throughout her lifetime. The exhibition will also include prints created this year, since the vast majority of Maier’s work was never printed. In addition, a selection of Maier’s black and white 35mm work will be printed and shown for the first time.
The story of Vivian Maier (1926-2009) has become a photography legend: Born in New York City, she spent much of her youth in France. Returning to the U.S. in 1951, she worked as a nanny in Chicago and New York for 40 years. Reclusive and eccentric, she took pictures all the time, yet rarely showed them to anyone. From the mid-1950s to the 1990s, with a Rolleiflex dangling from her neck, she made over 100,000 images, primarily of people and cityscapes. Her work, which appeared to be destined for obscurity, was discovered by Chicago-based realtor and historian John Maloof at an auction house in Chicago in 2007. Her negatives, previously housed in a storage locker, had been dispersed due to non-payment. Maier died before Maloof could contact her.
Since 2010, more than 25 exhibitions of photographs by Vivian Maier have been mounted in the U.S. and Europe. The shows have been met with critical acclaim; critics have written that her work will be remembered as some of the best 20th-century street photography.
Vivian Maier: In Her Own Hands examines how Maier finds photographic gold in what others throw away: the spines of a mutilated umbrella fanning out across city garbage can, a Playboy magazine sliced in half across the model’s torso, and an image of a crumpled newspaper from the 1970s lying in the grass with a headline asking “Where’s Hoffa?” Her portraits include a woman with an elaborate 1950s hairstyle, young boys waiting for a customer for their shoeshine business, and a beautiful, young Lena Horne from 1954.
Maier’s imagery, as Laura Lippman notes in the foreword of the book, “tells a story, but it probably doesn’t tell the same story to any two people. The faceless, humanless photos are as evocative as those in which her subjects make eye contact. A discarded high heel in front of a baby carriage, a coat rack, a shadow. But the faces. Oh, those faces. The children are easy to love, as are those portraits that exploit our nostalgia for long-ago decades that we persist in thinking of as simpler.”