William Klein: YES
Photographs, Paintings, Films, 1948–2013

William Klein, Gun 1, New York, 1955 © William Klein

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.

 

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William Klein, Bikini, Moskva (River), Moscow, 1959. © William Klein, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

William Klein, Moves and Pepsi, Harlem, New York, 1955. © William Klein, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

William Klein, Candy Store, Amsterdam Avenue, New York, 1955. © William Klein, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

William Klein, Watchman, Cinecittà, Rome, 1956. © William Klein, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

“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, Antonia and Yellow Taxi, New York, 1962. © William Klein, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

William Klein, Backstage “Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?,” 1966. © William Klein, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

William Klein, Dorothy Juggling White Light Balls, Paris, 1962. © William Klein, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

William Klein, Evelyn, Isabella, Nina and Mirrors, New York, 1959/1962

Left: William Klein, Independence Day Parade, Dakar, 1963 / Right: William Klein, Black Venus West Indian Day Parade, Brooklyn, New York, 2013. © William Klein, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

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.

 

William Klein, Untitled (Blurred White Squares on Black and Orange Gel Sheet), ca. 1952. © William Klein, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

William Klein, Untitled (Moving Diamonds on Yellow), ca. 1952. © William Klein, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

William Klein, Moving Diamonds, ca. 1952. © William Klein, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

William Klein, Filmstrips from Broadway by Light, 1958. © William Klein, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

William Klein, Auto-Portrait, 1993. © William Klein, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery

“This exhibition at ICP is a homecoming of sorts for Klein, who was born in upper Manhattan in 1928 and began his photography career on our city’s streets,” said ICP Director David Little. “He then became a truly international artist, living most of his life in Paris and capturing the unique character of global cities in his renowned photobooks. Klein is a living legend of image-making, and ICP is honored to celebrate a prodigious career that influenced and inspired generations.”

 

William Klein: YES
Photographs, Paintings, Films, 1948–2013
June 3 – September 15, 2022 / ICP
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