Shots in the Dark: Photographs By Weegee the Famous

In 2008, the Indianapolis Museum of Art acquired 210 photographs by Arthur Felig, also known as Weegee the Famous. His interesting and stark style of photography was revolutionary for his time, as were his subjects. The Indianapolis Museum of Art shares Shots in the Dark: Photographs by Weegee the Famous with Indianapolis now through January 23, 2011. This Indianapolis art exhibit offers a first look at the IMA’s extensive acquisition of Weegee’s work. As part of the IMA’s regular collection, admission to this Indianapolis art show is FREE to the entire Indianapolis community.

Arthur Felig, or Weegee, is known as the father of New York street photography. This new exhibit will feature a wide range of his works, with photographs that helped to define his career. Born in Ukraine as Usher Felig, his name was changed to Arthur when he moved to New York with his family in 1909. His nickname is the phonetic rendering of Ouija, due to his timely arrival only moments after a crime, fires or other emergencies had been reported to authorities. As the only New York newspaper reporter with a permit to have a portable police band shortwave radio, Weegee always heard about events as they were happening.

He is known for his candid photographs that documented street life in New York city. With stark black and white shots, he captured the grittiness of life in the Big Apple. With a focus on grotesque subjects like crimes, car wreck victims in pools of their own blood and overcrowded urban beaches (to name a few) Weegee put his finger on the pulse of society during the 1930s, 40s and 50s.

Some of his most famous shots were taken with basic press photographer’s equipment and methods. Though he had no formal training or knowledge of New York art photography, he was almost immediately grouped with some of the top photographers of the time. In 1943, the Museum of Modern Art included his work in an exhibition, while at the same time he was being featured in magazines like Life and Vogue.

The Indianapolis Museum of Art’s exhibit Shots in the Dark: Photographs by Weegee the Famous shares photos that defined the artists. The exhibit contains subjects like 1930s crime scenes, Harlem jazz clubs in the 1940’s, audiences at Sinatra concerts or in darkened movie theaters taken with infrared film, strippers, transvestites, Greenwich Village coffeehouses in the 1950’s and portraits of famous people. This vast cross section of themes reveals Weegee’s wide lens perception of the world. At the same time, an innate sense of manipulation permeates his work as he used distorting lenses of his own devising to create a unique perception of the world.

Don’t miss this FREE Indianapolis art gallery exhibit at the IMA. Weegee’s fascination with the grotesque is sure to stun and challenge your perceptions of society. Head to the IMA for this wonderful Indianapolis culture opportunity. While you are there, check out the installations by Tara Donovan or Body Unbound in the galleries of the IMA. Or take a walk through the blooming Gardens of the IMA and marvel at the majesty of the Oldfields-Lilly Mansion on the grounds of the IMA.

With an appetite from all that walking, head to the nearby Indianapolis cultural district, Broad Ripple Village. Feed your growling belly at any of these great Indianapolis restaurants or Indianapolis bars, as you discuss the Indianapolis art you’ve just enjoyed. Stay tuned to Indianapolis News, Events and Information on Fun City for all the latest on fun things to do in Indianapolis. We cover Indianapolis attractions to Indianapolis sports and more! Get out in Indy and find some fun!

Shots in the Dark: Photos by Weegee the Famous
Now through January 23, 2011

Indianapolis Museum of Art
4000 Michigan Rd
Indianapolis, IN 46208