Photographer Norman Lerner brings New York City to Customs House Museum & Cultural Center – Clarksville Leaf Chronicle

Blanca LaCortiglia, Contributed, Clarksville-Mongomery County Museum Published 10:39 a.m. CT July 24, 2019

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Skyscrapers, steam rising through street vents, newspaper kiosks near subway entrances, women dressed in high-fashion black−there are few cities that everyone can envision in their head without ever stepping foot there other than New York City. Now through September, guests of the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center can get a glimpse of city days gone by with the new exhibition “New York Revisited: A Photographic Essay” by Norman Lerner.

The twenty-six photographs feature all the glamour and character of New York City from the 1950’s to the 1970’s. Lerner’s skill at capturing special moments of everyday life is evident in such images as “Grand Central Station Waiting Room” (1954) to a photograph titled, “Avid Reader” (1957) showing a young man sitting atop a statue at the 5th Avenue Plaza reading “Peyton Place.” The exhibition was guest co-curated by Sara Lee Burd and Paul Polycarpou. Sara, who has worked with the photographer on his catalogue raisonné, writes, “Lerner’s art strikes tensions between visual elements of light and dark, the context and figure, and symmetry and asymmetry. Through photography, he records authentic views of everyday life and often including surprise elements of subtle storytelling. Approaching Lerner’s works with an active gaze inspires curiosity as the artist presents honest human expressions.”

From the 1950’s through the 1970’s, Norman Lerner worked as a fashion and commercial photographer in New York City. His work was featured in hundreds of magazines including GQ, Glamour, Look, and New York Times Magazine. He maintained an active studio of some 40-50 employees; their primary work coming from the major magazines in the city. In the 1960’s, he was founder and chair of the first fashion photography degree program in the United States at the Fashion Institute of Technology. In the 1970’s through the mid-1980’s, he was a coordinator of the photography studies program at California Polytechnic State University and remains connected with the university as Professor Emeritus.

“New York Revisited” will be on view through Sept. 29 at the Customs House Museum & Cultural Center, 200 S 2nd St.For more, contact Terri Jordan, Exhibits Curator, at 931-648-5780 or terri@customshousemuseum.org.

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