Weegee Man

Yesterday was the closing of Musée Maillol’s four-month exhibit of Weegee photography, and I trooped to the ninth arrondissement with MC Mike Ladd to check it out.

I was altogether unfamiliar with Weegee; the only print I recognized at the museum was Coney Island, the black-and-white beach-crowd photo that George Michael used seventeen years ago for the cover of Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1. (Great album, by the way.) His work is full of murder victims from Manhattan streetlife of the 40s and 50s, some nice Harlem shots, and some candid celebs as well: Andy Warhol, Frank Sinatra, Salvador Dalí. Musée Maillol put on display some 200 vintage Weegee flicks from the collection of German art dealer Hendrik Berinson.

What I found out about Weegee, since I knew zilch before yesterday: he was a still photographer on Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove; his car-crash photos were used by Andy Warhol for his Orange Disaster series; born in Poland, he grew up on the Lower East Side; and according to the museum handout, he “had an eye for the injustice that afficted the black community. He denounced the apartheid that prevailed in certain American cities…” As for Mike Ladd and me, we spent the afternoon talking about the trials of new fatherhood and Brooklyn-to-Paris expatriate stuff. Cookie should holla.