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Berenice Abbott Lobby Panel

Berenice Abbott: Changing New York

June 14, 2021 to May 22, 2022
New York Metropolis Hall

In 1929, after eight years in Europe, photographer Berenice Abbott (1898–1991) returned to New York City. She was inspired by its dramatic transformation. New construction was everywhere; hundreds of 19th-century buildings had been torn down to make way for dozens of skyscrapers. She was determined to capture this momentous change in photographs.

In 1935, with the support of the Federal Art Project, Abbott was able to devote her full energies to creating what she called Changing New York. By 1940, she had completed a collection considered to be one of the monumental achievements of 20th-century photography. Through the foresight of Director Charles Adams (1873–1955), the New York State Museum acquired a partial set of Abbott’s series, a selection of which is reproduced in this installation.