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From Wall Street to South Street Seaport


The South Street Seaport Museum reopened its doors to the public last Wednesday following a year of inactivity. In association with the Museum of the City of New York, sixteen new galleries participated in presenting historical artifacts, video, contemporary design and photography, including a large exhibition dedicated to the media’s coverage of Occupy Wall Street, a stone’s throw from the movement’s birthplace.

Visitors to the Occupy Wall Street protests last summer might were surprised by the amount of photographers compared to the actual number of protesters. Many pictures of the events came out, but until now no gallery had brought together the most significant. So it’s only natural that Sean Corcoran, curator at the Museum of the City of New York, who is sponsoring the reopening of the South Street Seaport Museum, had the idea to put out a call for entries. “We launched the project on our website,” explains Corcoran. “Then I consulted with photo editors from some of the major American magazines , we put together the largest possible collection before making a selection. Logistically, it wasn’t all that obvious .

The exhibition stands as one of the season’s richest, ambitious and eclectic. We will see again , images from the media, by Chang W. Lee of the New York Times, and Martine Fougeron, a regular contributor to The New Yorker, as well as magnificent shots by Ashley Gilbertson from the photo agency VII. Many of the pictures were taken by amateurs and other lesser known photographers, like Cassandra Giraldo, whose picture of a dog touched many . A young documentary photography student at the International Center of Photography, the South Street exhibition gives her some recognition . “I spent a lot of time documenting Occupy Wall Street,” she said. “For me it was natural to contribute to the recording of my country’s visual history. Being included in a group show is an honor for a novice photographer like me. Seeing my photographs among all the others made me nostalgic of the days spent there.”

Some activists at the opening took a moment to reflect on the movement a few months after its apparent end. “It’s interesting and bizarre to see last autumn’s events so quickly on display in an art gallery,” one said. “Especially in a gallery financed by the same system that we were trying to fight.” however, the exhibition offers a memorable image of the movement, showing young and old hand-in-hand in solidarity amid the chaos. “The exhibition illustrates the intense but orderly chaos of Occupy Wall Street,” Giraldo concluded. “It brings the viewer right into the middle of it, where they can feel the passion and rage of the protesters, right to the bone.”

Jonas Cuénin

Occupy Wall Street, as captured by photojournalists
At the South Street Seaport Museum, in association with the Museum of the City of New York
12 Fulton Street,
New York NY 10038

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