Discovery of the New World

















Attributed to Celestino Degoix, [Monument dedicated to Christopher Columbus. The navigator is portrayed in 15th century clothes with the left arm leaning on an anchor. At the foot of the statue stands an allegoric female figure, Genoa, Italy], 1862-ca. 1875 (640.1983.qq)


William H. Martin, The Four Great Chief’s Now Living, 1909 (2006.20.383)


Morris Gordon, [Italian-American mothers carry flags to honor their sons who have served, Columbus Day ceremony, New York], 1942 (2013.112.138)

The Italian explorer Christopher Columbus first set foot in the “New World” when he discovered the Bahamas on October 12, 1492. An event that is celebrated in New York each year during Columbus Day on the second Monday of October. The Italian explorer never traveled that far North to reach North America, nevertheless was being commemorated in the United States since the 1700s, after the country gained independence from Great Britain.

The Italian-American community has been celebrating Columbus Day in honor of their heritage, roughly since the late nineteenth century. The first wave of Italian immigrants settled into the major cities during the mid-nineteenth and early twentieth century, during which they experienced severe and violent racism and discrimination. When in 1892 President Benjamin Harrison first called on the national commemoration of Columbus Day –in celebration of Columbus’ 400-year anniversary to discover the New World- the Italian-American community saw this celebration of the achievements of their Italian countryman as a way to be accepted by their fellow American citizens.

Over the years criticism about celebrating Columbus Day, and specifically Christopher Columbus for his accomplishments, has become increasingly loud. The celebratory biographies from the nineteenth century heralded Columbus as a generous and adventurous individual, who treated the native community with pride and respect. Today it is known among both academics and the public that the explorer was a greedy and racist man who tortured the indigenous population and sold them into slavery. Over the past decades more and more states have chosen to rename Columbus Day and refer to the holiday as Indigenous Peoples Day (Berkley, California), Native Americans Day (South Dakota) and Discovery Day (Hawaii).



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Centenary of World War One

Martin Munkacsi, [Car offering battlefield tours, Ieper, Belgium] ca. 1929 (2007.110.713)

Martin Munkacsi, [Car offering battlefield tours, Ieper, Belgium] ca. 1929 (2007.110.2450)

Martin Munkacsi, [Tourist buses and automobiles outside St. Martin’s Cathedral, Ieper, Belgium] ca. 1929 (2007.110.709)

Martin Munkacsi, [Tour buses to World War I battle sights, Ieper, Belgium] ca. 1929 (2007.110.705)

Martin Munkacsi, [Group looking at World War I tank, Ieper, Belgium] ca. 1929 (2007.110.710)

Martin Munkacsi, [Memorial to fallen World War I soldiers, Ieper, Belgium] ca. 1929 (2007.110.708)

To commemorate the centenary of the start of World War One I’ve created a few blog posts that feature slightly uncommon or lesser known photos of the consequences (personal, political, and physical) of The Great War. The above photos, made about ten years after the end of the Great War, show civilians seeking battle sights, honoring and paying tribute to dead soldiers, and rebuilding in Belgium.

Ypes/Ieper, Belgium is the center of the map in the second photograph, the sign reads: “Taxi. For. Hire. guide to all the cemeteries.” this was two decades before the beginning of the annual Ieper Festival of Cats (Kattenstoet).

Related and recent:
“Vintage London bus retraces battle routes through Ypres” on the BBC.
“Belgians Share Their Land With War’s Reminders” on the NY Times.

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New York on the Edge by Charles H. Traub

Charles H. Traub, 12th St. Manhattan, 1988, (437.1991)

Charles H. Traub, Plum Beach, Brooklyn, 1989, (444.1991)

Charles H. Traub, 42nd St. Manhattan, 1989, (445.1991)

Charles H. Traub, Queensbridge Park, New York, 1988, (446.1991)

Charles H. Traub, Carl Schunz Park, Manhattan, 1988, (449.1991)

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I love animals!

wendt_frank_2011_47_93 copy
Frank Wendt, Mascot, the Talking Horse, Trained by Prof. H.S. Maguire, ca. 1900 (2011.47.93)

Lisette Model, Promenade des Anglais, 1937 (79.1993)

Weegee, [L. McAfee holding Cheetah during the filming of Tarzan’s Peril, Hollywood], ca. 1951 (18710.1993)

Weegee, Village Type, ca. 1956 (17104.1993)

Weegee, [Woman kissing rabbit], ca. 1956 (17109.1993)

Aleksandras Macijauskas, In the Market – 124, (from the series Lithuanian Market), 1975 (1138.1986.r)

Mascot Gets Spoony
In the presence of the entire audience the human horse kisses his master.

The wise ones are puzzling their heads over the wonderful performance put over by the human horse MASCOT.
To many the subject “Do Animals Reason’ has been solved beyond a doubt. But the more skeptical refuse to believe their own eyes and think there is some hidden communication between the noble animal, and his master. Anyhow, all agree that the horse is a marvel of intelligence, and that he is trained to a nicety.
“Mascot” told time to the second; added columns of figures that some in the audience could not calculate, picked out the democrats from the republicans; could tell a spinster from a married woman, a bachelor from a benedict; could spoon to perfection; play ball like a professional; eat candy like a connoisseur; count like a mathematician, and in short, displayed all the physical phenomena that go to make up the sum total of a human mind…
But the climax of the whole performance came when Mr. Maguire asked “Mascot,” what young men did when they went to see their best girls.
Without a moment’s hesitation, “Mascot” puckered, and right in the presence of the entire audience, he gave his master as loving a kiss as ever bride gave [her] groom.
There were those who sat near who declared they heard it smack, but this could not be vouched for.

The above is from an amazing brochure, “‘Mascot’ the $50,000.00 horse: with H.S. Maguire, trainer,” (1904/1932) it can be found at the University of Iowa Libraries.
More about osculating equines on the pioneering and seminal Dull Tool Dim Bulb.

A horse is a horse, of course of course,
and no one can talk to a horse of course,
that is of course, unless the horse,
Is the famous Mister Ed.

Go right to the source and ask the horse.
He’ll give you the answer that you’ll endorse.
He’s always on a steady course.
Talk to Mister Ed.

People yak-it-ti-yak a streak
and waste your time of day,
but Mister Ed will never speak,
unless he has something to say.

A horse is a horse, of course of course,
And this one will talk ’til his voice is hoarse.
You never heard of a talking horse?
Well, listen to this!”

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Rare Japanese Propaganda Magazines Added to ICP Collection


Shashin Shuho, March 5, 1941 (2014.38.1)


Shashin Shuho, July 9, 1942 (2014.38.15)

Shashin Shuho, June 18, 1941, p. 2 (2014.38.2)

Shashin Shuho, January 21, 1942, p. 4 (2014.38.15)

Shashin Shuho, August 6, 1941 (2014.38.4)

Among the holdings of the collection of the International Center of Photography is an   important archive of photo-illustrated periodicals from the 1930s and 1940s. These weekly news magazines—many of which are now quite rare–chronicle the rise of photojournalism and photomontage and include such pioneering efforts as USSR in Construction (Russia), Life (US), AIZ (Germany), Vu (France), Estampa (Spain), and Picture Post (England). Recently, we acquired a run of 36 early issues of Shashin Shuho (Photo Weekly), an important World War II-era Japanese propaganda organ published by the government’s Naikaku Johobu (Cabinet Information Division) between 1937 and 1945. The goal of this well-designed and widely distributed publication was to encourage nationalist sentiments as Japan engaged in wars with China and the Allies. While the subject matter of Shashin Shuho ranges from features on a local swim team to dramatic celebrations of Japan’s growing military prowess, the photographs and layouts (mostly by unidentified artists) are always visually arresting. Throughout the war, Shashin Shuho maintained its upbeat patriotic message. Then, in July 1945, just before the bombing of Hiroshima and the end of the war, Shashin Shuho abruptly stopped publishing. These rare publications, many of which were destroyed during World War II, represent an important record of highly effective journalistic propaganda created using the most advanced standards of mid-twentieth-century photojournalism and graphic design.

Chief Curator Brian Wallis


Shashin Shuho, January 21, 1942 (2014.38.15)

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Enough is enough?

Walker Evans, Penny Pictures Display, Savannah, 1936 (50.1981.g)

Leon Levinstein, Wall of photographs, ca. 1957 (2011.53.17)

Leon Levinstein, [Untitled], ca. 1980, (139.1999)

Weegee, Weegee in his Hollywood Studio, ca. 1950 (20282.1993)

Bob Parent, [Weegee and Mel Harris with Weegee’s photographs for his Naked Hollywood book], ca. 1953 (2213.1993)

Are there too many photographs?

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Looking back to Mid-Century Downtown New York

After re-reading Gillian McCain and Legs McNeil’s book Please Kill Me: The Oral History of Punk, I’ve been curious to learn more about the New York City that Richard Hell and Patti Smith were inspired by. I’ve been told horror stories about living Downtown in the 1970s and 1980s, but I suppose one’s hero’s can make a dump on The Bowery seem romantic.

Mellon Tytell
William S Burroughs and Gregory Corso standing in front of the West End Bar, 1973, 124.1994

Of course, we have to start with one of the fathers of punk-rock, William S. Burroughs and one of the youngest of the beat poets, Gregory Corso. Although the West End Bar was over one hundred blocks from the downtown scene it was a popular meeting place for students at Columbia University. Patrons included Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac in the 1940’s and continued to be a meeting place for students and intellectuals until it closed in 2006.


Ken Heyman, Greenwich Village, 1980, 2009.93.23

Leon Levinstein
, St. Marks Place, 1968, 2011.53.5

Robert Frank  is said to have walked into CBGB‘s one night and made the observation “It looks like the way people dress is very important.” This is true, the “look” was  intentional and the author of the next book on my list, Richard Hell would intentionally cut his clothes to achieve his desired look. Malcolm McLaren even stated: “Richard Hell was a definite, 100 percent inspiration, and, in fact, I remember telling the Sex Pistols, “Write a song like Blank Generation, but write your own bloody version.” Their own version was Pretty Vacant.

McNeil, Legs, and Gillian McCain. Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk. New York: Grove, 1996. Print.

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