William Klein
William Klein: YES
Jun 3 – Sep 15, 2022
ICP
New York, USA

Street photographer. Fashion photographer. Painter. Graphic designer. Abstract artist. Writer. Filmmaker. Book maker. Few have transformed as many fields of art and culture as William Klein. From his wildly inventive photographic studies of New York, Rome, Moscow, and Tokyo to bold and witty fashion photographs; from cameraless abstract photography to iconic celebrity portraits; from documentary films about Muhammad Ali, Little Richard, and the Pan-African Festival of Algiers to fiction films about the beauty industry, imperialism, and consumer culture, Klein has made every form and genre his own. Through it all runs his distinct graphic energy and deep affection for humanity’s struggles through the chaos of modern life.

“For a long time, Klein was known as either a fashion photographer or a street photographer or a filmmaker, as different audiences knew and valued different aspects of his work. Only in recent years has the scope of his achievements begun to be recognized,” said curator David Campany. “Versatility runs against the idea that artistic significance is based on single themes and recurring preoccupations. But artists like Klein, who ranged freely and avoided specialism, are key to understanding the culture of the last century.”

William Klein: YES explores the artist’s life and career in a rough chronology that shows his development as an artist and allows the connections between his different practices to become apparent. Klein’s work on view ranges from wildly inventive photographic studies of New York, Rome, Paris, Moscow, and Tokyo to bold and witty fashion photographs; from cameraless abstract photography to iconic celebrity portraits; from excerpts of documentary films about Muhammad Ali, Eldridge Cleaver, and the Pan-African Festival of Algiers to fiction films about the beauty industry, imperialism, and consumer culture.

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