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On The Street


February 1, 2012

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs is proud to present a screening of On The Street. The film will be followed by a Q&A with director John Spellos and photographer Amy Arbus.

In 2006, Welcome Books prepared to publish a book of the photographs Amy Arbus made for the On The Street section of the Village Voice from 1980 to 1990. As Arbus combed through the 500 images published to make selections for the book, she wondered where many of these people were today. Enter filmmaker John Spellos who followed Arbus as she tracked down her former subjects and interviewed them some 25 years later.

The people Arbus tracks down are all overwhelmed in one way or another when they see their photo after so many years. They fondly recall that magical time in New York and what life was like for them. With the aid of archival photos and an unbelievable soundtrack, they relive some of their fondest memories of the time. They bring us up-to-date on their life today and comment on the current state of downtown New York City and its inhabitants. One is left wondering whether the renaissance that took place downtown during the 1980’s could ever happen again.

The filmmaking career of John Spellos started 25 years ago with his award winning documentaries exploring mental health and social issues, beginning with Borderline Syndrome: A Personality Disorder of Our Time, which is still considered the most comprehensive resource on the diagnosis. Through his production company Anthropy Arts, Mr. Spellos is now producing a range of projects in the arts and humanities, including The Photographers Series that focuses on the lives and work of some of today’s most influential fine art photographers.

Photographer Amy Arbus has published four books, including the award winning On the Street 1980-1990 and The Inconvenience of Being Born. Her photographs have appeared in over one hundred periodicals around the world, including New York Magazine, People, Dazed and Confused and The New York Times Magazine. She teaches portraiture at the International Center of Photography, Maine Media Workshops and The Fine Arts Work Center. She has had twenty-one solo exhibitions worldwide, and her photographs are a part of the collection of The New York Public Library and The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

This event is FREE and open to the public.

 For a preview of On The Street click here. For a clip of Amy Arbus and Ann Magnuson at NYPL's Recollection: 30 Years of Photography Exhibit click here.