Fred W. McDarrah (1926-2007)


Born in Brooklyn, McDarrah bought his first camera at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City. After leaving Boys High, he served as a U.S. Army paratrooper in Occupied Japan at the end of World War II, camera usually in hand. He earned a Journalism degree from New York University on the G.I. Bill.


He began to photograph the artists, writers, musicians, and actors who frequented the bars and coffee houses, art galleries and cafes in Greenwich Village not because he was assigned to, but because he wanted to document what he called, "The most colorful community of interesting people, fascinating places, and dynamic ideas."


When a neighbor told Fred he was starting a newspaper, to be called The Village Voice, McDarrah signed on. He was associated with the paper for the rest of his life. He was for decades the paper’s only staff photographer and its first picture editor.


Before the Internet, there was McDarrah - the most curious, knowledgeable, and indefatigable chronicler of the New York scene over the second half of the 20th century. Combine that with the role of the Voice as the house organ of the counterculture, and you have a body of work that is unique, historic and still riveting to look at.


The Village Voice covered off-Broadway theater, political rallies and demonstrations that were virtually ignored by the mass media at the time--including the nascent Women’s Rights, Gay Rights, Civil Rights and anti-Vietnam War marches, the first Earth Day, and experimental theater.


Many of his subjects, often little known when McDarrah shot them, became cultural icons: Kerouac, Dylan, Koch, Warhol, Ginsberg, Hoffman (Dustin and Abbie!). Like McDarrah, they all were denizens, in one way or another, of Greenwich Village. The only thing that McDarrah took more pride in than his beloved New York was his family.


Many of his books, including The Beat Scene (1960), The Artists World (1961), Greenwich Village Guide (1963), New York, New York (1964) Museums in New York (1967), Stock Photo and Assignment Source Book (1977), Kerouac and Friends: A Beat Generation Album (1985), Gay Pride: Photos from Stonewall to Today (1994), Beat Generation Glory Days in Greenwich Village (1996), The Photo Encyclopedia (1999) and Anarchy Protest and Rebellion & The Counterculture that Changed America (2003), and Artists and Writers of the 60s and 70s (2006) were collaborations with his wife Gloria and sons Patrick and Timothy, who now proudly carry on his legacy.


The work of Fred W. McDarrah has been exhibited at hundreds of galleries and museums around the city, nation, and world: the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Albright - Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Steven Kasher Gallery, New York; Tibor de Nagy, New York; Pace, New York; and is in numerous private and public collections including the National Portrait Gallery, Washington; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Among other honors he was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a New York Press Page One award.


Steven Kasher Gallery has represented his estate since 2001.


Selected Exhibitions:

Fred W. McDarrah: New York Scenes, Steven Kasher Gallery, New York

Fred W. McDarrah: Portraits of East End Artists, Parrish Museum, New York

Required Reading, Robert Mann Gallery, New York

You Say You Want a Revolution: Remembering the 1960s, New York Public Library, New York

Beat Positive, Getty Images Gallery, London

The Velvet Underground Experience, 718 Broadway Gallery, New York

Pop Art Photo Show, Barker Hanger, California

A McPhoto Family: Photography from the Village Voice, Howl! Happening, New York

Judson Dance Theater: The Work is Never Done, The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Picturing Protest, Princeton University Art Museum, New Jersey

Shoot! Shoot! Shoot! Photographs of the 1960s from the Nicola Erni Collection, Ludwiggalerie Oberhausen Castle, Germany


Silver Songs: The Music of Andy Warhol, Can Trinxet, L’Hospitalet, Barcelona

Regarding the Figure, Studio Museum of Harlem, New York

AIDS at Home: Art and Everyday Activism, Museum of the City of New York, New York

The Beat Generation, The Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Germany


New York Nights: The Manhattan of the Abstract Expressionists, Royal Academy of the Arts, London

Warhol and Basquiat: From Pop Art to Street Art, Mantua and Molfetta, Italy

New York at its Core, Museum of the City of New York, New York

Gay Gotham, Museum of the City of New York, New York

Role Play Across Art & Fashion, Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, Florence, Italy

Open Plan: Cecil Taylor, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Beat Generation, Centre Pompidou, Paris

Fred W. McDarrah: The Artist's World- Steven Kasher Gallery, New York

The Young Lords in New York, The Bronx Museum, New York

Artist to Artist, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York

Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960-1970, The Museum of Modern Art, New York

Art & Food, Triennale di Milano, Italy

Fred W. McDarrah- Save The Village- Steven Kasher Gallery, New York

13 Most Wanted Men: Andy Warhol and the 1964 World’s Fair, Queens Museum, New York

Slaves of Mimesis: Nine Years on 23rd Street, Steven Kasher Gallery, New York

Iliana Sonnabend: Ambassador to the New, The Museum of Modern Art, New York

There Will Never Be Silence, Scoring John Cage’s 4’33”, The Museum of Modern Art, New York


White House LGBT Exhibit, Washington, D.C.

Happenings, New York 1958-1963, Pace Gallery, New York

Susan B. Anthony Project- New York City

The Village Voice- Corkin Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

Live Art on Camera- SPACE, London

Art Stars: Vintage Photographs from the 60s and 70s- Kinkead Contemporary, California
Warhol sobre Warhol- La Casa Encendida, Madrid
Jack Kerouac on the Board – Scroll Manuscript- Boot Cotton Mills Museum, Lowell, Massachusetts

Artists and Writers of the 60’s and 70’s- Steven Kasher Gallery, New York

De la Comtesse De Castiglione a Cindy Sherman- Galerie de France, Paris
The Official Bob Dylan Exhibition- Proud Galleries, London, England
Franz Kline – 1910-1962- Castello diRivoli, Torino, Italy
The Andy Warhol Show- Triennale diMilano, Milano, Italy

Dylan on Camera, 1961-1975- Snap Galleries, Birmingham, England

Künstlerphotographien - Berühmte Photographen portraitieren berühmte Künstler - Galerie Pudelko, Bonn
Downtown New York Vintage Photographs- Banning Gallery, North More Street
Superwarhol, a Definitive Exhibit- Grimaldi Forum, Monaco

Andy Warhol Retrospective-The Museum of Contempoary Art, MOCA, Los Angeles
“I Shot Andy Warhol,” A Photo Exhibit- Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles
Andy Warhol Retrospective- The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles
The Tumultuous Fifties:  New York Times Photo Archives- Albright-Knox Art Gallery

Selected Publications:
McDarrah, Fred W. Fred W. McDarrah: Artists and Writers of the 60s and 70s: An Exhibition of Vintage Prints at Steven Kasher Gallery, November 9, 2006-January 6, 2007. New York, NY: Steven Kasher Gallery, 2006
McDarrah, Fred W., Gloria S. McDarrah, and Timothy S. McDarrah. Anarchy, Protest & Rebellion: And the Counterculture That Changed America. New York: Thunder's Mouth, 2003
MacDarrah, Fred W., and Timothy S. MacDarrah. Kerouac and Friends: A Beat Generation Album. New York: Thunder's Mouth, 2002
McDarrah, Fred W., and Gloria S. McDarrah. Beat Generation: Glory Days in Greenwich Village. New York: Schirmer, 1996
McDarrah, Fred W., Timothy S. McDarrah, and Robert Taylor. Gay Pride: Photographs from Stonewall to Today. Chicago, IL: Cappella, 1994
McDarrah, Fred W., and Patrick J. McDarrah. The Greenwich Village Guide: Sixteen Historic Walks, Includes Soho, Tribeca, and the East Village: Antique Shops, Bookstores, Theatres, Clubs, Restaurants, Art Galleries and More. Chicago, IL: Chicago Review, 1992
McDarrah, Fred W., and Gloria S. McDarrah. The Artist's World in Pictures. New York: Dutton, 1961
McDarrah, Fred W.  The Beat Scene.  Corinth Books, 1960