new-york

“Photographs from the Sam Wagstaff Collection at the J. Paul Getty Museum”

International Center of Photography Museum (ICP)

The great photo-market boom of the ’70s remains to be chronicled, although, in the end, probably no single explanation will be adequate for that giddy time. Sam Wagstaff’s photography collection, along with Arnold Crane’s and André Jammes’, was one of the most renowned products of that era. Now major portions of all three have been bought by the Getty Museum; this exhibition offered a chance to see works from the Wagstaff collection before it migrated west.

In this context, the show was most interesting not for the individual photographs, but as a cross section of the acquisitions of an influential and knowledgeable collector (and one who is still collecting—the show included “Additions from the New Collection of Sam Wagstaff”). An earlier show, at the Grey Art Gallery, in 1978, demonstrated that Wagstaff’s collection contained a wealth of noteworthy images; this exhibition showed the

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