Cityscapes New York

The U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, gives the visual artist Josephine Di Candia institutional supportNo Blues

It’s well known that Hollywood’s tinsel myths had rather prosaic beginnings. In or around 1912, they arrived to California, hard men, used to the wheeling and dealing of New York’s grittier suburbs, immigrants from Middle and Eastern Europe, wise guys–very smart too–, yet hardened by the bitter struggles in the schmatta business, the rag trade, so similar to the now picturesque (but then brutal) existence of the “cuenteniks” that sold on the installment plan around the barrios in Buenos Aires.But while their “porteño” cousins settled for “my son the doctor (or shopkeeper, or shrink)” fantasies, the rag men from Lower East Side, Brooklyn and the Bronx moved to LA with their extended families and started the mother of all dream factories, under the famous white sign on the mountains (very climbable hills, in fact–everything is magnified in Hollywood).And why did the early film industry cross the country, like the 19th century pioneers before them?Because of the light. That sublime light. Foretelling Technicolor, even though the movies were then monochromatic and silent abstractions.What Josefina Di Candia achieved with these New York pictures a century later is the insertion of that deep and overwhelming blue of an Angeleno afternoon behind the worldly, financial edifices of the 21st Century’s New York downtown.These pictures deny the dust clouds of this century’s foundational event, they deny the free-falling bodies, the rubble and the blood, to offer a New York imagined by a successful entrepreneur or a hedge fund manager (perhaps a lucky great-grand-nephew of one those rag men?)Because the New York depicted here is a tempting brand-new city, without history or conflicts, a cinematic backdrop waiting for actors and actresses to deliver the close-up they’ve always thought they deserved. Her sky’s blue is not that of NYPD uniforms or of the swampy source of jazz. There’s no room for that in this city, not anymore.

Gustavo Turner
Writer
Los Angeles, CA


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