The Party Never Stops 2003
Barbara Mensch’s photographs of New York are like images from another era, rediscovered documents from the time of Stieglitz and Strand. *1
New York City On Foot is a work in progress. It began in 1993 when Mensch went out in a Nor’easter to photograph the famous FlatIron Building. Since then, she has methodically traversed her native New York, often uncovering subtle, unnoticed and romantic portraits of the great metropolis. Her striking images bring to mind classic, timeless American photography. *2
Ms. Mensch is a masterful contemporary photographer of the urban landscape. As a New Yorker she has identified the “zeitgeist” of change in the city with a sharp and totally unique eye. *3
Like Walker Evans before her, Mensch has been Intrigued by the crucial use of words as a way of unraveling clues to our past culture. In The Party Never Stops, Harlem (2003) we view a group of children playfully running under a boarded up theatre whose marquee letters are randomly missing. The irony in this juxtaposition is evident, but the letters on top “Bunny” also recall its past function as a vaudeville theatre.
As we move deeper into the 21st century, New York City On Foot when completed will serve as a marker in time, a seminal contribution to our shared collective history of this new century. A book, exhibition and film are planned for 2016.
*1 Jean Dykstra, Photograph Magazine 2012, *2 Kathy Ryan , New York times Magazine photo editor, * 3 Phillip Lopate, author.