“ABC 123: Seeing NYC”

Images from Joanne Dugan’s award-winning books ABC NYC: A Book About Seeing New York City and 123 NYC: A Counting Book of New York City are currently on display at the Children’s Museum of the Arts in Manhattan.

poster for Joanne Dugan

Joanne Dugan "ABC 123: Seeing NYC"

at Children's Museum of the Arts
in the Soho area
This event has ended - (2008-06-05 - 2008-08-31)

In Reviews by Kristen Hewitt 2008-07-16 print

'5 bridges' from 123 NYC. Image courtesy of Joanne Dugan.

“J” is for jackhammer, “M” is for manhole cover, “U” is for unisphere…

The photographer Joanne Dugan captures the New York cityscape in elementary terms. Images from her award-winning books ABC NYC: A Book About Seeing New York City (Harry Abrams, 2005) and 123 NYC: A Counting Book of New York City (Harry Abrams, 2007) are currently on display at the Children’s Museum of the Arts in Manhattan.

Upon entering the exhibition, visitors to “ABC 123: Seeing NYC” are enveloped in a world of markers, construction paper, recycled coffee cans and papier-mâché. Most of the gallery space contains drying racks covered with projects and craft tables littered with funky, chunky necklaces, Floor and ceiling images used for games. Photo: Kristen Hewitt.but photos from Dugan’s beautiful books for children cover two of the walls. On one side are pictures from 123 NYC with a list of questions: “Can you find…Two library lions? Four boats? Seven fire helmets?” On the opposite wall, behind a busy crafts table, are ABC NYC photos.

Dugan’s black & white scenes come from all five New York boroughs and began as a project to share the vibrancy of NYC with her own son. Scattered on the floor, hanging from the ceiling and mounted on colorful paper along the walls, Dugan’s numbers, letters and photos include such iconic imagery as the “Q” in an orange circle denoting the subway line, and “5” bridges (Brooklyn, Queensborough, George Washington, Williamsburg and Manhattan). The show also includes less iconic but equally evocative photos like “10” 3 cookies from 'ABC 123.' Photo: Kristen Hewitt.shoes, from an Indian slipper to a combat boot, representing the diversity of New Yorkers who wear them. For those wondering about lunch, there is “B” for bagels (“better with butter”).

Providing an interactive gallery experience, the CMA uses Dugan’s work throughout for educational games and conversations about perceiving the world around us. The idea of viewing anew the everyday city we so often take for granted resonates not only with children, but anyone with enthusiasm for New York. Dugan captures sites and occurrences ranging from common New York images like the Atlas sculpture at Rockefeller Center and a stack of pretzels, to individual shots of kids in the city. Her photos give viewers a sense of excitement and a quirky, child’s-eye view of the urban world—the delight in giant cookies (three black & whites of course) and the feeling of smallness when looking up a long escalator from the bottom. Her pictures retain a tone of wonder and appreciation for the delightfully bizarre sites passed by unnoticed every day, and in doing so, offer all New Yorkers, big and small, a lesson worth learning.

1-4pm, Alphabet Books and Collages Workshop with Joanne Dugan
Work with photographer and author Joanne Dugan to create alphabet books using photographs of letters from around New York City. Each child will create a personalized alphabet book, and create illustrations that draw on his or her own life. This workshop is directly inspired by Joanne’s bestselling book, ABC NYC and her current solo exhibition at CMA. Free with general admission.

5:30pm, CMA Members-only Family-friendly Gallery Talk w/ Joanne Dugan
For children and their parents (Artist Talk is for members only). Refreshments Provided. To RSVP or for info on CMA membership please contact Elizabeth Slocum, Director of Development, 646-723-4311 or join online.

Artist’s site
Children’s Museum of the Arts

Kristen Hewitt

Kristen Hewitt. Kristen is from Chicago, is one year away from getting a bachelors degree in English/creative writing at Bates College in Maine, and is living in New York for the summer. She loves traveling and attempting to learn languages and reading lots and hiking and playing the fiddle. And grapefruit. » See other writings


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