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Maker(s):Paulin, Frank
Culture:American (1926-2016)
Title:Times Square, New York City
Date Made:1956
Materials:gelatin silver print
Measurements:Sheet: 11 in x 14 in; 27.9 cm x 35.6 cm; Image: 8 7/8 in x 13 1/16 in; 22.5 cm x 33.2 cm
Accession Number:  AC 2010.19
Credit Line:Gift of Bruce and Silke Silverstein
Museum Collection:  Mead Art Museum at Amherst College

Label Text:
Numerous glowing signs, appearing to hang in the air, give this photograph a Surrealistic appearance. Surrealism was a literary and artistic movement that originated in the 1910s and remained influential in the 1940s and 1950s. Surrealists believed that “found objects” may shock beholders into accessing their subconscious or reveal the psyche of an era. In a Surrealistic reading, the texts in this photograph may be interpreted as linguistic found objects.

Informed by Freudian psychology, Surrealist art exuded a mood simultaneously profane and profound. Paulin’s work evokes this contradiction: in Times Square, the banality of the advertised products is masked by the spectacle of the lights. Sophisticated cultural offerings, such as ballroom dancing and a production of My Fair Lady, coexist uncomfortably with Johnnie Walker and Budweiser and an establishment where you can “Dance with Beautiful Girls.”

MD, PHOTOdocument exhibition, March 30, 2012-July 22, 2012

darkness; lighting; light; cities; buildings

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