Returning once again to its visually dramatic (and conveniently central) location directly under the Brooklyn Bridge in Dumbo, the seventh annual Photoville opens today with more than 90 photography shows within and around a mini-city of shipping containers. The event runs through the weekend, then next Thursday through Sunday as well, and is totally free and open to the public.
Last night’s preview party was a lot less fun than usual due to the interminable rain, but this year’s exhibition seems to explore the same general mix of moods–potent and breezy, difficult and eye-opening, nostalgic and oblique, personal and epic, tragic and triumphant–that has made Photoville such a pleasure to wander through in years past. Plan on spending a couple of hours here to cover it all, especially if you chat with the many artists and curators in attendance. Among the highlights I saw in my brief, rainy rounds last night (I plan on returning at least once more to take it all in):
• “New York Through the Lens of New York Magazine,” a wonderful collection that has emerged from the magazine’s 50th anniversary, curated by their photography director Jody Quon and celebrating this beautiful, complicated city and its even-more-beautiful (and very complicated) citizens.
• “Kings and Queens,” which presents a series of dual portraits of drag queens in all their splendor beside the man, pictured in “civilian” clothes, behind the make up.
• John Moore’s gut-punch of a series called “Undocumented,” culled from the Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer’s ten years spent covering the entire length of the United States-Mexico border.
• In case you missed the exhibition at the Arsenal Gallery in Central Park, “Scenes Unseen: The Summer of 1978,” offers an amazing look at New Yorkers in the city’s parks–making out, getting high, roasting pigs, mugging for the camera–all captured by New York Times photographers idled by the newspaper strike. This was at the height of the city’s financial crisis, and if you lived here then, and remember how much freedom we seemed to have, and much fun it could all be, this will really take you back.
• “The Wall,” which portrays the anguish of Freedom Park, a spot along the border between San Diego and Tijuana where family and friends gather on either side of the towering fence to talk, cry, and embrace each other through the metal bars plunged deep into the sand.
* “The Power of Pink,” presented and curated by the Lower Eastside Girls Club, which has a terrific backstory (as do many of these exhibitions; reading the statements outside each container often yields great rewards) and shows, essentially, teenage girls doing normal things in ridiculous pink prom dresses.
• “The Geography of Hate,” one of more than 15 outdoor exhibitions at Photoville, for which Lynn Johnson photographed the seemingly innocuous physical space where horrifying hate crimes once occurred.
In addition to the exhibitions, there are talks and workshops going on throughout both weekends–all of which are also free–as well as a Beer Garden with Smorgasburg vendors like all-stars Destination Dumplings, John’s Juice, Wood Fired Edibles, and Malai Ice Cream.
Photoville runs from September 13 – 16, and again from September 20 – 23, is open on Thursdays and Fridays from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., on Saturdays from 12:00 noon to 10:00, and on Sundays from noon to 9:00.