New York in All Its Nuts-and-Bolts Glory (Art Review/NYC)





The exhibition “New York Rises” makes a case for adding Eugene de Salignac, the official photographer for the New York City Department of Bridges, Plant and Structures from 1903 to 1934, to the canon of American photographers whose images are forever linked with the city. If he is not the equal of Berenice Abbott, Margaret Bourke-White, Walker Evans and Alfred Stieglitz, his work now on view at the Museum of the City of New York demonstrates that he is at least their kin.

Mr. de Salignac would have been lost to obscurity if not for Michael Lorenzini, a photographer who works for the Municipal Archives in Manhattan and recently happened upon the de Salignac’s logbooks. These helped Mr. Lorenzini determine that 10,000 prints and 20,000 glass negatives in the archive were made by Mr. de Salignac.

About 100 of the prints are in this exhibition, organized by Thomas H. Mellins, the museum’s curator of special exhibitions, and Diana Edkins, director of exhibitions and limited-editions photographs at the Aperture Foundation. Aperture has published a book of some of the de Salignac prints.

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