Greenpoint, October, 2015

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Hidden Gallery

(Christine Osinski)
I made it down to the Alice Austen House museum yesterday to check out the recently opened show, In Conversation, which pairs early twentieth photographs of Alice Austen with photographs taken by Christine Osinski as she wandered around neighborhoods of Staten Island with her camera in the summer of 1984. Given Staten Island's culture, now as then, it's not surprising that cars figure in many of Osinski's photographs: Cars and kids, kids hanging around cars (like the one above), a guy adding oil from a punch-holed can to his engine, and so on.

The Alice Austen photographs in the show tended more to bicycles and long dresses. That is, until you enter the unmarked bathroom off the larger gallery room. Every photograph hung in this bright little room depicts an automobile Several are being tinkered with by their drivers. One, above the toile, shows guests arriving at or departing from the Ocean House in Watch Hill (Westerly), Rhode Island. What a life!
Are they by Alice Austen? Who knows? One of the pleasures of this little museum is that you sometimes have it to yourself. The door is wide open but the museum staff is nowhere to be seen, or asked a question of. They are probably out in the garden. What a life!

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