WILLIAM KLEIN: YES at ICP

For women of a certain age, the fashion images of William Klein will be instantly recognizable. They appeared in Vogue and, as featured in this major exhibition of his work, remain stunning examples of Klein’s imaginative and iconoclastic spirit. 

Nina & Simone, Piazza di Spagna, Rome, 1960

  Hiroko, Cardin, Paris, 1963

Evelyn, Nina, Isabella and Mirrors, New York, 1959

Isabella and Opera and Blank Faces, Paris, 1963

Yet, there were – and are — many more sides to Klein — all of which are represented in this one-person exhibition, which fills the entire space at ICP. 

It’s a fitting homage to Klein, now in his nineties, who was born and raised in New York, moved permanently to Paris in 1948, and roamed the globe, capturing the essence of places and people in New York, Rome, Paris, Moscow, Tokyo, and beyond. 

Ali’s Victory in Kinshasa
Republic of Congo, 1974

Klein had a knack for being in the right place at the right time. He produced documentary films about Muhammad Ali and Eldridge Cleaver, worked with Fellini in Rome and produced iconic street photography that reflected his rebellious spirit and and the vitality of urban life. 

It’s clear from his images where you are.

New York 

Moscow

Rome

Tokyo 

Paris 

Brooklyn

Klein has continued to publish books of new and reworked material, which are on display. Excerpts from several of his films, Who Are You, Polly Maggoo? (1966) a satire on the world of fashion, and a documentary of Muhammad Ali (1964), play on a continuous loop on ICP’s third floor, along with later photographic work, including overpainted contact images. 

Who are you Polly Maggoo?

Broadway by Light

Running simultaneously with this exhibition is a much smaller one, at the Howard Greenberg gallery, focused on his African photography. “Afrique” will be on view through September 17. 

Visitors to ICP should also take time to explore the Essex Street Market, across the street. It’s sleek and modern interior is a far cry from the old days, more reminiscent of the Chelsea Market than the Lower East Side. Nevertheless, it’s a cornucopia of food from around the world and definitely worth a visit. 

WILLIAM KLEIN: YES
Photographs, Paintings, Films 1948-2013
ICP, 79 Essex Street
Jun 03, 2022 – Sep 12, 2022

Text and Images by Eleanor Foa Dienstag

About Eleanor Foa Dienstag (35 Articles)
Eleanor Foa Dienstag is a veteran author, journalist, photo-journalist and award-winning corporate writer. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Harper's, the New Republic, the New York Observer, Ms., Travel & Leisure, and many other websites and publications. Eleanor is the author of three books. Her most recent, available on Amazon and Centro Primo Levi is MIXED MESSAGES: Reflections on an Italian Jewish Family and Exile. It is a multi-layered memoir about Eleanor’s personal journey, her father’s exile from Fascist Italy and the Foa Family journey, whose Italian-Jewish roots go back to the 1500s in northern Italy where her ancestors were famous printers. WHITHER THOU GOEST: The Story of an Uprooted Wife, also a memoir, was acclaimed by Business Week for its insights into corporate life. Her third book, In Good Company: 125 Years At The Heinz Table, offered a unique view of a quintessential American company. Eleanor served as staff speechwriter to the Chairman and CEO of American Express. In 1983, she founded Eleanor Foa Associates (www.eleanorfoa.com). It provides a wide variety of corporate writing and marketing services. Eleanor is past president of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), received speechwriting awards from IABC, and was awarded literary residencies at Yaddo, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA). She resides in Manhattan.