By 1970, Leon Levinstein’s photography had been included in several important exhibitions, from Photography Then and Now at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1952 to Harlem on My Mind at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York in 1967, but widespread recognition for the artist did not follow. Now, only after his death, Levinstein’s work is finally beginning to receive the attention it deserves.
The Moment of Exposure is the catalog for a major exhibition of his photography opening at the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa on February 10, 1995 and at the Museum of Modern Art, New York on July 20, 1995. Featured in this handsome book are 66 photographs taken on the streets of New York’s Lower East Side, Coney Island, Times Square, and Central Park and from Haiti, Mexico, and India. These images present in intimate detail the personal struggles and alienation of their subjects as well as Levinstein’s own untempered vision of life on the street.
Bob Shamis chronicles Levinstein’s career as a layout artist in advertising, his aesthetic development, and his relationships with his family, fellow photographer Lisette Model, mentors Sid Grossman of the Photo League and Alexey Brodovitch of the New School for Social Research and Harper’s Bazaar, and curators Edward Steichen of the Museum of Modern Art and Helen Gee of the Limelight Gallery. In a second essay, noted critic Max Kozloff discusses Levinstein’s place in the milieu of New York street photography. Kozloff writes that "Levenstein’s jolting approach and the raunchy world reported in these photographs . . . is very local, unmistakably New York."
Size: 9 x 0.5 x 11.75 inches
Publisher: National Gallery of Canada
Publication Date: April 1995
Available from the gallery for $65