Press Release

Leo Rubinfien: The City Beside You, The City Inside You
Exhibition: September 17th – October 24th, 2015
Opening Reception: September 17th, 2015, 6 – 8 PM


Steven Kasher Gallery is honored to present Leo Rubinfien: The City Beside You, The City Inside You. The exhibition consists of 23 large-scale black and white photographs of New York and its people, and evokes the experience of moving through the city with great intimacy and subtlety. This is Rubinfien's first show of new images since his acclaimed work curating Garry Winogrand’s retrospective at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and the Jeu de Paume. That exhibition made many lists of the best museum shows of 2014.


Rubinfien is known for his photographs from all over the world, especially East Asia, where he spent much of his childhood, and for his work on the landscape of globalization. In this new exhibition, the quintessential expat comes home. Seeing New York again after years of traveling, Rubinfien notes how the city “is characterized by the sense of promise it holds out to the thousands of people who come to make their way here, by its harshness, its mixed sense of brightness and disappointment, by how it places itself within us yet always remains unknowable.”


Rubinfien has published on New York once before, in his short book The Ardbeg (Taka Ishii Gallery, 2010), a brief, lyrical evocation of the city through the eyes of an outsider. In that piece, Rubinfien's longtime friend and colleague Akiyoshi Taniguchi recalled the New York of his youth: "This is my memory — when I was in New York. Always hungry. Always has a kind of sharpness. Very rough. I relate to New York darkness.... Something like the smell of the cigar, also the smell of garbage, the weekend night in Manhattan, you can smell woman's perfume. Those smells are of human body, human things."


Rubinfien’s work has been admired for many years for its visual richness, its sensitivity to human character, its technical perfection, the depth of feeling it brings to mundane subjects and the complex meanings it finds there. Many writers and viewers have commented on its unashamed yet unsentimental humanism.


Leo Rubinfien first came to prominence as part of the circle of artist-photographers who investigated new color techniques and materials in the 1970s. His first one-person exhibition was held at Castelli Graphics, New York, in 1981, and his first solo museum show was held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1992. Solo exhibitions of his work have been held at major institutions worldwide including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.


Published in 2008, his book Wounded Cities (Steidl) was named as one of the essential photography books of all time (Parr and Badger, The Photobook, Vol. 3) Wounded Cities explores the “mental wounds” that were left by the terror attacks in New York in 2001, and other attacks in cities around the world. Solo exhibitions from this series have been mounted at institutions including the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo, the Yale University Art Gallery, and the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rome. Additional monographs of the artist’s work include A Map of the East (Thames & Hudson, 1992); New Turns in Old Roads (Taka Ishii Gallery, 2014).


Rubinfien’s work can be found in numerous public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Seattle Art Museum, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Bibliotheque Nationale, the Yale University Art Gallery, the Fogg Museum at Harvard University, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Center for Creative Photography of the University of Arizona. He has held fellowships with the Guggenheim Foundation, Japan Foundation, Asian Cultural Council, and the International Center for Advanced Studies at New York University, and in 2009 was awarded the Gold Prize at the 5th Lianzhou International Photography Festival.


Leo Rubinfien: The City Beside You, The City Inside You will be on view September 17th – October 24st, 2015. Steven Kasher Gallery is located at 515 W. 26th St., New York, NY 10001. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 AM to 6 PM. For more information about the exhibition and all other general inquiries, please contact Cassandra Johnson, 212 966 3978,