Fondation Henri Cartier–Bresson presents the exhibition 'Weegee: Autopsy of the Spectacle'
The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Saturday, July 20, 2024

Fondation Henri Cartier–Bresson presents the exhibition 'Weegee: Autopsy of the Spectacle'
Self-Portrait, Weegee with Speed Graphic Camera, 1950 © International Center of Photography. Collection Friedsam.

PARIS.- There’s a mystery to Weegee. The American photographer’s career seems to be split in two. One side includes his sensational photography printed in North American tabloids: corpses of gangsters lying in pools of their own blood, bodies trapped in battered vehicles, kingpins looking sinister behind the bars of prison wagons, dilapidated slums consumed by fire, and other harrowing documents on the lives of the underprivileged in New York from 1935 to 1945. Then come the festive photographs–glamorous parties, performances by entertainers, jubilant crowds, openings and premieres– to which we must add a vast array of portraits of public figures that Weegee delighted in distorting using a rich palette of tricks between 1948 and 1951, a practice he pursued until the end of his life. How can these diametrically opposed bodies of work coexist? Critics have enjoyed highlighting the opposition between the two periods, praising the former and disparaging the latter. The exhibition Autopsy of the Spectacle seeks to reconcile the two parts of Weegee by showing that, beyond formal differences, the photographer’s approach is critically coherent.

The spectacle is omnipresent in Weegee’s work. In the first part of his career, which coincides with the rise of the tabloid press, he was an active participant in transforming news into spectacle. To show this, he often included spectators, or other photographers, in the foreground of his images. In the second half of his career, Weegee mocked the Hollywood spectacular: its ephemeral glory, adoring crowds and social scenes. Some years before the Situationist International, his photography presented an incisive critique of the Society of the Spectacle.

With a new perspective on Weegee’s oeuvre, Autopsy of the Spectacle presents the photographer’s iconic images beside lesser-known works, including images not-yet-exhibited in France.


Weegee was born Usher Felig on June 12, 1899, to a Jewish family in Zolochiv, a small town in Galicia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, today in Western Ukraine. At 11 years old, he joined his father who’d emigrated to the United States. At Ellis Island immigration station, he became Arthur Fellig. Living in the slums of the Lower East Side, he left school at 14 to earn money to support his family. After working in different professions, he became a traveling photographer, worked for photographers Duckett & Adler, then in the ACME Newspictures agency lab. Starting in 1935, he was self-employed as photo-reporter. Towards 1937, he began using the pseudonym Weegee, and around 1941, started marking the backs of his prints with a stamp in the form of a self-fulfilling prophecy: “Weegee the Famous.” For 10 years, his radio tuned to the police frequency, he took photographs, mainly at night, of crime, arrests, fires, accidents and other news items.

Though the photographer most certainly had connections within the police, without whom his work would not have been possible, he also frequented left-wing circles. He was very close to the Photo League, a group of independent photographers who firmly believed in emancipation through the image and fought for social justice. In 1945, he published his best photographs in a book entitled Naked City, which met with great success both in its reception and sales. In the spring of 1948, he moved to Hollywood to work in cinema as a technical advisor, and sometimes, as an actor.

He photographed the endless party and developed different photographic techniques to create his caricatures of celebrities. In December of 1951, after four years on the West Coast, he returned to New York with no intention of resuming his former practice. Up until his death on December 26, 1968, the majority of his work involved taking advantage of his notoriety to publish other books, go on tour, and promote his
photo-caricatures in newspapers.

Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson
Weegee: Autopsy of the Spectacle
January 30th, 2024 – May 19, 2024

Today's News

January 30, 2024

Man who stole Dorothy's slippers thought the rubies were real

New works on paper by Takuji Hamanaka on view at Kristen Lorello

Thaddaeus Ropac opens an exhibition of Irving Penn's photographs taken in 1967

Protesters hurl soup at the Mona Lisa

Museum Sint-Janshospitaal: An outstanding new museum that will make your heart beat faster

Theaster Gates opens first solo exhibition at White Cube New York

'Uman: Darling sweetie, sweetie darling' her first exhibition with Hauser & Wirth

Fondation Henri Cartier–Bresson presents the exhibition 'Weegee: Autopsy of the Spectacle'

McMullen Museum of Art presents 'Lost Generation: Women Ceramicists and the Cuban Avant-Garde'

Statue of Jackie Robinson stolen from Kansas park

Spanierman Modern presents an exhibition of works by Steven Alexander

Solo exhibition by Arash Nazari opens at Leila Heller Gallery

Ceija Stojka's first US gallery exhibition on view at Galerie Georges-Philippe & Nathalie Vallois

Collection presentation of 'Wordplay' opens at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston on January 30th

Galeria Jaqueline Martins announces the representation of Belgian artist Jan De Maesschalck

AGSA 500: A story of excellence, generosity and beauty

Mitchell Fine Art opens an exhibition of artworks from Brisbane born artist Ann Thomson

Asian pottery and fine rugs lead the January annex sale

Schoelkopf Gallery presents 'Small but Sublime: Albert Bierstadt Cabinet Paintings and Oil Studies'

'Metamorphosis by Elizabeth Heyert' an exhibition and book about power of transformation

Newport Art Museum announces major gift to permanent collection by Christo and Jeanne Claude

Arts professional Halima Taha to lead artistic visioning at Atlanta's Hammonds House Museum

'Days of Wine and Roses' review: Romance on the rocks

The Obies honor 'Dark Disabled Stories'

Exploring IVF Costs and Top Hospitals in India

Ethical Elegance: Navigating the Intersection of Lab-Grown Diamonds and Sustainable Jewelry

Weaving Literary Narratives into Custom Pin Creations

Publishing Passage: Exploring the Industry in Publishing Slot Adventures

Tax Tips and Tricks: Maximising Profits in the Financial Online Slot

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez
Writer: Ofelia Zurbia Betancourt

Truck Accident Attorneys
Accident Attorneys

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site Parroquia Natividad del Señor
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful