“For subjects, I prefer older cultures & places, especially disappearing ones.” — Henry Horenstein
Gallery Vassie is extremely proud to present SHOW, a sensuous but candid look at modern burlesque, by the noted Boston-based photographer Henry Horenstein. Taken between 2001 & 2009, SHOW pays homage to the resurgence of burlesque in the last several years.
The photographs in this exhibition are a lavish display of ‘noir-styled’ images, which are a bewitching combination of the tantalising & titillatingly sexy, alongside the harsh, true reflections of the mysterious & raw world that they document.
Portraying all aspects of the Burlesque: the classic striptease, drag, fetish & the bizarre. SHOW’s dark, grainy images, mix feathers, fishnets, tattooed bodies, glitter & whips, with the more shocking & rawer, perhaps uglier side of the world of burlesque.
Horenstein has been a widely respected & prolific chronicler of sub-cultures & teacher since the early 1970s & has also impressively authored over 30 key photography books.
In much of his work there is a common link, his desire to record small corners of society, ephemeral pockets of sub culture, some of which exude the inevitability of change. Always using his signature style of absolute directness.
Of this series of provocative images Horenstein says, "To me, modern burlesque performers embody so many traits of true artists. They are creative and driven and determined to serve up their vision of the world in song, dance, humor, and narrative. They like being different from everyone else. In fact, they wear that difference with pride. Their style and method of delivery make burlesque popular art—not so much for the elite Art in America crowd. But that doesn’t make it any less artful." Horenstein originally trained as a historian & maintains a passion to record things. He says a “… disappearing world that I wanted to preserve on film.” Anticipating this loss he began to see it as his responsibility to document, fulfilling his wish to “… take pictures, make books & record history.”
His work has been exhibited in internationally & his work is represented in many key collections, including: the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston; and the International Museum of Photography, George Eastman House, Rochester, New York.
Horenstein is professor of photography at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he has taught & continues to inspire the likes of Nan Goldin, for the past 30 years.