Heroic Times marks the inaugural exhibition of Steve Schapiro’s work at the Gallery. Schapiro has witnessed key moments of American history and culture, from the Selma to Montgomery civil rights march to Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign to Andy Warhol’s Factory to the filming of Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver.
Steve Schapiro: Heroic Times will survey American milestones from the photographer’s nearly six-decade career, with a focus on the 1960s and ‘70s. A number of the photographs are unpublished and on public view for the first time. With assignments from Life, Time, Newsweek, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone and many other publications, he captured iconic and humanistic images of politicians, celebrities, artists, and newsmakers in action.
“I am always seeking the image that conveys the spirit of the person,” Schapiro noted. “At the same time, as a photojournalist, I want to create an image so that people will understand what news is being made.”
During Robert F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign, Schapiro traveled with and got to know the young U.S. senator from New York, who greatly impressed him. Also during that time, Schapiro documented the civil rights movement, making photographs of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and many others who fought for social justice.
Schapiro’s subjects extended beyond politics into the worlds of film, rock and roll, and art. He documented The Godfather, Taxi Driver, The Way We Were, Midnight Cowboy, and Chinatown. Among the luminaries were David Bowie, Samuel Beckett, Andy Warhol, Edie Sedgwick, Barbra Streisand, and Nico, who sang with the Velvet Underground.
About Steve Schapiro
Steve Schapiro was born in New York City in 1934. His formal education in photography began when he studied with W. Eugene Smith in the early 1960s. In 1961, Schapiro began to work as a freelance photojournalist, his photographs appearing in magazines including Life, Look, Time, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, Sports Illustrated, and People.
Schapiro’s photographs have been widely reproduced in magazines and books related to American cultural history from the 1960s, civil rights, and motion pictures. Monographs of Schapiro’s work include Schapiro’s Heroes, 2007, which offers intimate profiles of ten iconic figures. Recently, Powerhouse published Bliss, 2015, about the changing hippie generation; Bowie, 2016; and Misericordia, 2016, about a facility for people with disabilities. This year, Taschen published The Fire Next Time with text by James Baldwin and Schapiro’s civil rights photographs from 1963 to 1968. Powerhouse will publish Muhammad Ali in spring, 2018.
Museums and galleries have exhibited Schapiro’s photographs worldwide. The High Museum of Art’s Road to Freedom, which traveled widely in the United States, includes numerous photographs from the civil rights movement and Martin Luther King Jr. by Schapiro. Recent solo shows have been mounted in Los Angeles, London, Santa Fe, Amsterdam, Paris, and Berlin. He has had large museum retrospective exhibitions in the United States, Spain, Russia, and Germany.
Schapiro’s work is represented in many private and public collections, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Museum, Washington D.C.; The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. In September, he received the James Joyce Award from University College in Dublin. In October he won a Lucie award for achievement in photojournalism. He lives and works in Chicago.