WWWL Dorothy O. Helly ‘Work in Progress’ lecture
Monday Oct 17, 2016 4-5:30PM
CUNY Graduate Center
365 Fifth Avenue, rm 9205
Berenice Abbott: A Life in Photography by Julia Van Haaften
Julia van Haaften has spent a quarter century researching and writing the first-ever biography of American photographer Berenice Abbott (1898-1991). It begins with Abbott’s troubled lower middle-class Ohio origins, through post-WWI Greenwich Village and 1920s Paris, and ends after the photographer’s rediscovery in the go-go art world of 1970s New York. Less an obsession than the fulfillment of a mission, undertaken while Abbott was still alive, the book is scheduled for publication by W. W. Norton in fall 2017. The author was the founding curator of photographs at The New York Public Library in 1980 before shifting to its Digital Library Program; she retired in 2010 as director of collections for the Museum of the City of New York. She will discuss the surprises and long meander of her Abbott biography, which was aided by an NEH summer stipend and an NYPL Cullman Center fellowship, not to mention the insight and enthusiasm of the photographer’s many friends and associates.