Jean-Pierre Laffont “Gangs and Protests”

Sous Les Etoiles Gallery

poster for Jean-Pierre Laffont “Gangs and Protests”
[Image: Jean-Pierre Laffont "Bronx, New York City, NY. July 20th, 1972. Savage Skulls, based around Fox Street, chatting with Policemen discussing disturbance in the neighborhood." (1972) Archival Pigment Print 16 x 20 in.]

This event has ended.

Sous Les Etoiles Gallery presents “Gangs and Protests,” French-American photographer Jean-Pierre Laffont’s second exhibition with the gallery.

During the sixties and seventies, New York City was a somber place, fascinating and frightening at the same time. It was nicknamed “Fear City”, plagued by crime, drugs, prostitution and corruption. Jean-Pierre Laffont slipped into this city with ease and without greed or prejudice. As a news reporter, he had the audacity to intermingle with these different communities whose demands would powerfully underline the protest movements during these two decades.

“The country was going through profound changes, and it looked like everyone was in the streets protesting”, remembers Laffont. “Somehow, this period of American history may appear somber, however a huge wave of optimism and an exceptional energy was uplifting the country”.
The rise of a new wave of feminism was led by activist Betty Friedan. Through her book The Feminine Mystique, published in 1963, she was considered the leader of what was called the second wave of American Feminism. A the same moment, the first parades of pride radicalizing the gay rights movement in the 1970s called for urgent attention for equal rights.

Tensions between communities appear in Brooklyn, Harlem and the Bronx. Indeed, poverty and inequality had allowed many gangs to settle and grow in these neighborhoods, also making way for drug trafficking and more… The Bronx, while recognized as the birthplace of hip-hop, was also the symbol of a new political activism. The Savage Skulls, a mostly Puerto Rican and African American street gang, started in the Hunts Point area of the Bronx during the late 1960s, gaining popularity in the 1970s.

“I photographed the “sex, drugs and rock and roll generation”, the hippie movement, the women’s revolution and the gangs. When I look back at the individual photographs I took during this quarter-century period, the images at first seem to depict a ball of confusion… riots, demonstrations, disintegration, collapse, and conflict. Taken together, the images show the chaotic and often painful life in the city” said Laffont.



from February 02, 2023 to March 18, 2023

Opening Reception on 2023-02-02 from 18:00 to 20:00

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