The Steven Kasher Gallery presents Dan Weiner: Vintage New York, 1940-1959 and his wife Sandra Weiner: New York Kids, 1940-1966. This is the first time that exhibitions of the husband and wife photographers have been on view concurrently.
Dan Weiner is one of the original “concerned photographers.” In 1940 he joined the Photo League, a group of socially minded photographers including Paul Strand, W. Eugene Smith, Aaron Siskind and Dorothea Lange. Soon he was teaching an advanced class at the League. While taking part in Sid Grossman’s Documentary Class, out of which grew the “East Side Group,” Weiner photographed people and events around the Lower East Side. As his wife Sandra, whom he met during this period, later wrote, it was “an inspiring period for a young photographer.” Weiner firmly believed in the power of the camera to highlight social and economic problems and affect change.
Sandra Weiner focused on New York’s poorer children, possibly because she identified with them but more so because she wanted to tell a story of perseverance and hope. Weiner’s work highlighted social concerns of the era, however she focused her lens specifically on the city’s youngest denizens. For Weiner, children surviving the rough-and-tumble city streets became a symbol of fortitude. She strolled the city’s streets or posted at the edge of vacant lots where children play and caught them absorbed in their own worlds. Included in the exhibition is an extended essay in which Weiner followed a young boy named Mickey through his daily life in the tenements of East 26th Street. This is Weiner’s work at its most penetrating. Through this extended study, defining aspects of the boy’s life are revealed. The subtle details that emerge in these images give us a clear sense of the family’s hardship. However the young boy’s palatable joy and energy shines through, triumphing over his circumstances.
In the early 1940’s, Sandra Smith joined Paul Strand and her future husband Dan Weiner as a member of the Photo League, a group of socially minded photographers. She was especially influenced by Walker Evans, Henri Cartier-Bresson and Helen Levitt and set out to capture the daily drama on the sidewalks and stoops of the city’s tenements.
Sandra Weiner: New York Kids 1940-1948 – Dan Weiner: Vintage New York, 1940-1959
June 7th – July 27th, 2018
Steven Kasher Gallery
515 W. 26th St.
New York, NY 10001