NYRB: RRCI

Filed under Exhibitions in our electronic filing cabinet:

New York Review of Books:

Raunchy, Raucous Coney Island
By J. Hoberman

…Its subject is the mental construct “Coney Island”—an illusion filtered through such earthy sensibilities as the tabloid photographer Weegee, the American scene painter Reginald Marsh, or the anonymous artisans who created the banners and signage for Coney’s attractions.

Coney Island peaked as a people’s playground during World War II and began its slow decline when the largest of the amusement areas, Luna Park, burned to the ground in the summer of 1944. Although Weegee’s stunning news photo of the ruins, showing two forlorn painted hearts above a lone fireman in a sea of wreckage, gets smaller play than it might, the image of absolute devastation haunts the exhibition’s final section…

Weegee and Morris Engel, his sometime colleague at the leftwing tabloid PM, are the show’s best-represented photographers…

… and the photos Weegee took of the World War II–era Coney Island crowd from a vantage point on the Steeplechase Pier…

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