Artist reception Friday, March 9, 5-8PM"You never know how good it can be till you've found out for yourself how bad it can get."
(Signed note by Nelson Algren on verso of "Bit of Poland" by Art Shay).
This quote, by the author of The Man with the Golden Arm
, describes the rawness of life in Chicago that characterized the urban postwar underclass about whom he wrote. Art Shay
, Algren's friend and collaborator, photographed the same milieu and created a series of unforgettable portraits and other images that capture the unvarnished truth of the lives they witnessed.Stephen Daiter Gallery
is pleased to present photographs from this project, along with a selection of other prints, representing both classic and recently rediscovered images by Shay. These other projects include pictures of Maxwell Street at dawn and an amazing catch at Wrigley Field, as well as the National Guard near the Conrad Hilton Hotel bracing for the 1968 Democratic Convention demonstrators. They also include portraits of influential figures such as Timothy Leary, Jimmy Hoffa, Ray Kroc, Robert Crumb and Elizabeth Taylor (who was here with Eddie Fisher in 1960 for the world premiere of a short-lived phenomenon called "Smell-o-Vision." A special highlight of the show is the inclusion of more than a half dozen vintage photographs with handwritten texts by Algren on the versos.
Accompanying the exhibition is a 76-page catalogue with an introduction by David Mamet
, available in both trade and limited editions, the latter of which comes in a slipcase with a choice of one of four original photographs.
Stephen Daiter Gallery congratulates Art Shay on his retrospective, "The Essential Art Shay: Selected Photographs," at the Chicago History Museum
March 31–September 23, 2007. For more information visit www.chicagohistory.org