Stephen Daiter Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of veteran photojournalist, Art Shay. Shay ( now approaching ninety ) has spent the last six decades compiling a body of work documenting American society in all its shifting moods and settings. A selection of prints by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Weegee, Robert Frank, Lewis Hine and Walker Evans will accompany Art's work and place it in well-deserved context.
Art Shay captured the spirit of mid-century Chicago in all its rawness and power. He went to Las Vegas and put himself at risk, shooting the Mob with cameras hidden on his body; he even had his wife's handbag outfitted with a lens. He documented the tragic aftermath of the 1958 fire at Our Lady of Angels. On the lighter side, Art has continually made entertaining and humorous photographs as well. One relatively unknown photograph in the show depicts a middle-class woman cuddling on the floor of her home – with a full grown lion. The husband looks on with a somewhat ambivalent expression. There are some delightful pictures of high-schoolers, classic American Graffiti types, hanging out and learning how to smoke at a hamburger joint across from Carl Schurz High School. Art has spent his life crafting a visual biography of the people ( and animals !) of this country, and the results range from the serious to the silly to the sublime.
For this exhibition we have gone deep into Shay's archive to discover some rarities and some variants of better known images. We think you'll enjoy what we've come up with.