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Maker(s):Levitt, Helen
Culture:American (1913-2009)
Title:Two Masked Children and Tree, New York
Date Made:circa 1940
Materials:Gelatin silver print
Measurements:Mat: 17 7/8 x 14 in; 45.4 x 35.6 cm; Sheet: 13 15/16 in x 10 15/16 in; 35.4 cm x 27.8 cm; Image: 10 3/16 x 6 3/4 in; 25.9 x 17.1 cm
Narrative Inscription:  SiGNATURE: verso, ctr. (graphite): Helen Levitt ; LOCATION/DATE: verso, ctr. (graphite): n.y. CIRCA 1942 ; SYMBOL: verso, ctr. (graphite): (star) ; INITIALS: verso, lwr l. (graphite): GAL
Accession Number:  UM 1984.19
Credit Line:Purchase with funds from the University of Massachusetts Alumni Association
Museum Collection:  University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMASS Amherst

Label Text:
Excerpted label text from the Curatorial Fellowship exhibition “Eyes Are For Asking: Narratives in Photography,” March 24 – May 1, 2016:
Psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott theorized that children negotiate reality and fantasy through play. Levitt explored this experience in her documentary photography which captures children playing on the streets of New York. As she wandered through the city’s working class neighborhoods, she photographed children transforming their urban environment into a theatrical space. Here, two masked children look directly at us. Perhaps they are simply engaging in an elaborate game of make believe, but the masking of their faces interferes with our ability to discern the details of the scene. Looking at this photo, we also find ourselves navigating the real and the imaginary. -Gretchen Halverson (M.A. Art History ‘16) and Procheta Mukherjee Olson (M.F.A. Studio Art ‘17)

urban; children; masks; childhood

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