Last night, the Pierre Menard Gallery in Cambridge, MA, opened a truly impressive exhibition of Gerard Malanga’s photographs– black and white portraits of some of the most illustrious artists and literary figures of the last 40 years or so– Keith Richards, Pete Seeger, Allen Ginsberg, Patti Smith, Roman Polanski, John Ashberry, and Larry Rivers–along with pictures of a few “unknowns.”
Knowing that Malanga, born in 1943, worked for seven years as Andy Warhol’s chief assistant and collaborator; that along with Warhol and John Wilcock he co-founded Interview Magazine; and that his photos have been commissioned by Elle, The New York Times Magazine, and Vanity Fair, one might expect these portraits to be glitzy, glam celebrity.
And in this show, called “Souls,” in every photo, it is the poetic spirit–of both photographer and subject– that shines through.
And, clearly, his visual sense and technical skills are stellar.
But to me, what stands out is the mutuality in these photos– each snapped at a moment of seeming profound interpersonal understanding, of relationship, of trust between photographer and subject.
Most remarkable is how the intimacy of these moments—some from more than 30 years ago– is shared with/deeply experienced by the viewer.
At the Pierre Menard Gallery, 10 Arrow St. Cambridge, MA through April 11, 2010
—Anita M. Harris