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Imagine(d) space: Experiencing the urban phenomena of the gallery

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The well-documented changes that took place in the urban landscapes of fin de siècle Paris and pre-depression New York have seldom been considered in terms of the changes they instigated in their respective cultures of gallery and exhibition space. By drawing on the contemporaneous changes in photographic practices, which suggested new models of engaging with the city, this article seeks to account for the emergence of a new mode of experiencing gallery space, which explicitly drew on the urban environment. This article seeks to interpret the ways of experiencing such space, with particular attention to the Parisian Salon de l’Escalier and the New York-based Julien Levy Gallery, and their use of photographic interiorization, which echoes archival space. By considering the first spaces to exhibit urban photography thus, this article seeks to retrospectively re-occupy the space of the gallery through an imagined mode of experience.
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Keywords: Julien Levy Gallery; New York; Paris; Salon de l’Escalier; gallery experience; urban photography

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Sydney

Publication date: 01 September 2015

More about this publication?
  • Cities have been increasingly at the forefront of debate in both humanities and social-science disciplines, but there has been relatively little dialogue across these disciplinary boundaries. Journals in social-science fields that use urban-studies methods to look at life in cities rarely explore the cultural aspects of urban life in any depth or delve into close readings of the representation of cities in individual cultural products. As a platform for interdisciplinary scholarship from any and all linguistic, cultural and geographical traditions, the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies prioritizes the urban phenomenon in order to better understand the culture(s) of cities.
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