I caught the Edward Hopper show at the Whitney and was impressed as usual with the selections from their collection. The inclusion of so many of his contemporaries really provided a fresh look at the life & times of Mr. Hopper. Over the years I’ve seen many of Hoppers works in various shows at the Whit, but what struck me this time, was the inclusion of the iconic digitally-restored film, Manhatta. A collaboration between artists Paul Strand and Charles Sheeler, the silent film features unusual views and depictions of contemporary life in Manhattan circa 1921. Quotes from my favorite poet, Walt Whitman (whom I’ve blogged about before), are interspersed in title cards.
“Gorgeous clouds of sunset! Drench with your splendor, me or the men and women generations after me!”
The film captures abstractions of the city which at the time, surely must have resonated with New Yorkers who were literally watching Gotham spring before their eyes. The version below features a spare piano track which I think adds to it.
For more on Paul Strand, one of America’s greatest photographers, you can watch a six-part documentary on YouTube, “Paul Strand: Under the Darkcloth”.
“A portrait is one that confronts them, of another human being, that they will never forget.” Here is the first installation: