BROOKLYN BRIDGE AS NEVER SEEN BEFORE
Large-Scale Black-and-White Photographs by BURHAN DOGANÇAY
30 September – 27 November 2011
The Aria Art Gallery, Florence, presents Brooklyn Bridge As Never Seen Before within the framework of the 500th anniversary celebration of Amerigo Vespucci’s discovery of America. The name America evokes a number of larger-than-life icons of which the Brooklyn Bridge is certainly one. This is the first time Burhan Dogançay’s magical images, acclaimed as one of the most sustained and serious artistic responses to the Brooklyn Bridge in our time, have been exhibited outside of the U.S. Dogançay was the only photographer to shoot from the top of the Bridge during 1986-87, while its hundred-year-old metal structure was undergoing total restoration, and it had been transformed, shrouded with safety nets.
Phillip Lopate writes of those nets in Bridge of Dreams (Hudson Hills Press, 1999) that features Dogançay’s images: “They appear to double the famous webbing effect of diagonal stays crisscrossed with cable wire. The Bridge, like a bride or widow, wears a veil over its face. In some of the photographs, the Bridge resembles a fishing village, its nets hung out to dry; in others, the columns look like masts on sailing boats. The nets’ overall effect is to offer some mediation: a screen between everyday life and another reality that may lie just beyond.”
Dogançay’s Brooklyn Bridge series was first introduced at the Houston Fotofest ’96. In 1997, Baldev Duggal, owner of a leading New York photo lab, made state-of-the-art oversized enlargements, printed them on various materials, including glass and copper, and exhibited them in the company’s Broadway gallery as Brooklyn Bridge As Never Seen Before. The exhibition then continued for two years more in the International Arrivals Building at New York’s JFK Airport. Finally, real estate developers of the Brooklyn waterfront, Jane and David Walentas, purchased that entire exhibition to adorn their buildings’ foyers.
Photographs from the Bridge series may be found in numerous private and public collections, including: The Cleveland Museum of Art, OH; Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; Istanbul Modern, Turkey; Museum of the City of New York, NY; The Museum of Fine Arts Houston, TX; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, NY.
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