Burckhardt was never surreptitious; he did not hide his camera, and his subjects often knew they were being photographed.
In three recent volumes, artists express nostalgia for the smaller, scrappier New York art world.
Burckhardt and Denby are central figures in New York’s cultural history, even if they are not as well known as they should be.
Walking through In the Studio: Photographs, a three-part show organized by Peter Galassi, former Chief Curator of Photography at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and spread over several floors of the Gagosian empire on Madison Avenue, the underlying themes of accumulation, storage, labeling, and just plain looking remind us how artists often surround themselves with visual repertories.
When it comes to the artistic community of New York City, especially from the late-1930s to the end of the 20th century, I can think of many writers, photographers, and artists who readily qualify as flâneur, but there is only who matched Charles Baudelaire’s description of the “passionate spectator.”