Galerie Thomas Zander is delighted to present new dye transfer prints of Tod Papageorge’s early colour photographs of New York. In vivid images of window displays, political posters and encounters in the city the series Dr. Blankman’s New York (1966-67) captures the zeitgeist and social climate of a time between Pop Art and the Vietnam War. Fifty years after Papageorge took the photographs, they are now exhibited for the first time. The striking intensity of the colour works is highlighted by the dye transfer prints.
This high quality printing process is known from the 1960s and ’70, but has become very rare today due to its elaborate production. Papageorge’s New York photographs are not affected by the nervous energy of the metropolis, they are observational, perceptive. The artist is sensitive to the lyrical quality inherent in the pictures, alert to the signs of his times and conscious in the use of his medium. Above all, the series celebrates the visual experience itself, which seems to have electrified the then 25-year-old photographer: “eyes examined“ announces the sign outside the optometrist Dr. Blankman’s office in the eponymous image. We see a photographer with a tripod taking a young woman’s picture in Central Park, another woman playfully holding a leporello of photographs in front of her face. A leather jacket bearing the words Chu Lai Viet-Nam, worn by a young man, is a reminder of the reality of war in everyday life, which the series also takes note of.
The book Dr. Blankman’s New York is published by Steidl. In the ensuing decades, Tod Papageorge has made several remarkable bodies of work that have chronicled American life, like his photographs of Central Park, sports stadiums and the legendary Studio 54. He was awarded Guggenheim Fellowships and National Endowment for the Arts fellowship grants and taught at Yale University, where well-known photographers such as Philip-Lorca diCorcia and Katy Grannan were among his students. Papageorge’s works are in the collections of major international museums and institutions.