This post is also available in: French

What does democracy look like? And when should we cause trouble to pursue it? Troublemakers by Art Shay fuses photography and history to demonstrate how racial and economic inequality gave rise to a decades-long struggle for justice in one American city. Combining vintage, lifetime and modern prints, this exhibition brings you up close to these American conflicts.

Shay himself was a ”troublemaker”, seeking to unsettle society by illuminating truths that many middle-class, white, media, political, and businesspeople pretended did not exist. Shay served as a navigator in the US Army Air Forces during World War II, then took a position as a writer for Life Magazine. But soon after his 1948 move to Chicago, he decided to become a freelance photographer. Shay wandered the city photographing whatever caught his eye—and much did. His lens captured everything from private moments of rebellion to era-defining public movements, as he sought to understand the creative and destructive energies that propelled freedom struggles in the Windy City.

Releasing on January 20, 2020, on Martin Luther King’s birthday, Art Shay’s book Troublemakers published by Chicago University Press, Shay illuminates the pain and ecstasy that sprung up from the streets of Chicago. Teaming up with Erik. S. Gellman, this collaboration offers a fresh and timely look at how social conflict can shape a city—and may even inspire us to make trouble today. In dialogue with 275 of Art Shay’s photographs, Erik S. Gellman takes a new look at major developments in postwar US history: the Second Great Migration, ”white flight” and neighborhood and street conflicts, as well as shifting party politics and the growth of the carceral state. The result is a visual and written history that complicates—and even upends—the morality tales and popular memory of postwar freedom struggles.

photographs by Art SHAY

From 16/01/2020 to 05/04/2020
204 West 123rd Street, Harlem
United States

Opening hours : Tuesday to Friday from 12h to 18h
Phone : 917-270-4696