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Issue No. 16 - Chaos

Ken Schles: invisible city/night walk at howard greenberg

Image above by Ken Schles, Drowned in Sorrow, 1984. Copyright Ken Schles/courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York.

A gritty and penetrating portrayal of New York’s Lower East Side in the 1980s by Ken Schles will be on view at Howard Greenberg Gallery from January 29 – March 14, 2015. The exhibition of 40 black and white photographs coincides with the publication of a new Steidl monograph, Night Walk (2014), a companion to Schles’s underground cult classic Invisible City (1988).

The exhibition presents  a provocative narrative of lost youth and a private view of an irretrievable downtown New York as Schles saw and experienced it

Sean Savard New York’s Lower East Side in the 1980s by Ken Schles
Limelight New York’s Lower East Side in the 1980s by Ken SchlesKen Schles, Top: Dean Sevard with David West and Philip Pocock, 1984, Left: Limelight (Suzie Streetwalker, Ellen Kenneally, Nick Egan and Johnny Dynell), 1983. Copyright Ken Schles/courtesy of Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York.

Among the highlights of the show is Drowned in Sorrow, 1984, depicting a shabbily glamorous woman in a short dress, torn stockings and heels, lying across a couch while talking on a corded telephone.  The headline of the Village Voice on the plank wood floor reads “Drowned in Sorrow.” In Limelight (Suzie Streetwalker, Ellen Kenneally, Nick Egan and Johnny Dynell), 1983, Schles captures the nightlife of his time as a woman in white sits on a ledge, vacant and alone with a drink in her hand, while three club denizens in the foreground chat and laugh. In Burning Building with Moonrise, 1984, neighbors stand and watch as a tenement goes up in flames with the full moon rising above the urban landscape.

New York’s Lower East Side in the 1980s by Ken SchlesKen Schles,(Left)Claudia Lights Cigarette,1985; (Right)4th of July ( Independence Day), 1984. Copyright Ken Schles/courtesy of Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York.

Boy On East 5th Street (4th of July), 1984. New York’s Lower East Side in the 1980s by Ken SchlesKen Schles, Boy on East 5th Street (4th of July), 1984.  Copyright Ken Schles/courtesy of Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York.

Craig With Lightbulb New York’s Lower East Side in the 1980s by Ken SchlesKen Schles, Craig In Basement With Bare Lightbulb, 1984.Copyright Ken Schles/courtesy of Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York.

On view from January 29 through March 14, 2015 at Howard Greenberg Gallery.

You can also find the book at  Steidl's website!

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