January 12 through March 13, 2020

Fuller Gallery

“A picture is like a blintz. Eat it while it’s hot.” —Weegee

Weegee enjoyed the unusual distinction of being the New York tabloids’ most popular crime photographer in the 1940s while simultaneously having his work collected by MoMA. This strange crossing of genres—from sensational mass media to the revered status of fine artwork—can be explained by the intense emotional impact of his work. His photographs, whether of grisly tragedies or men in drag winking for the camera as they’re led off to the paddy wagon, offer the viewer immediate human connection (and often voyeuristic titillation).

This exhibition will include nearly thirty Weegee photographs from the Museum’s collection. Many of these works illustrate Weegee’s quintessential, gritty portrayal of New York’s streets at night: auto wrecks, fires, fistfights, arrests, spectators flocking to the scenes of disaster, and sleeping people. Flash! also includes a strong sub-theme of Weegee’s self-portraits: Always conscious of his public persona, Weegee encouraged his own cult of celebrity and enjoyed crafting his own image, often in playful and experimental ways.

Assistant curator Claire McRee leads a virtual tour: