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HISTORICALLY SPEAKING: To many New Yorkers, man-on-the-street photographer Bill Cunningham is identifiable by his blue French workman’s jacket and bicycle. But the New York Historical Society is about to shine another light on The New York Times’ photographer with the exhibition “Bill Cunningham: Facades.” The show, which bows March 14, highlights the lensman’s eight-year project documenting New York City’s architectural riches and fashion history. Beginning in 1968, Cunningham searched thrifts stores, auction houses and street fairs for vintage finds to pair with historic New York settings. His photo essay Facades spotlighted several models but his muse and fellow photographer Editta Sherman was the main focus.
The NYHS’s show will explore Cunningham’s project in relation to the era of historic preservation and urban issues that loomed over the city in the late Sixties and early Seventies. Facades will run through June 15.
In typical fashion, Cunningham, in Paris for The Times, stayed lowkey about the exhibit. The photographer said, “It’s a repeat of an exhibition from 30 years ago. It’s the same thing, so I’m not involved.” Asked if he would be at the opening, Cunningham said, “I don’t know. I work at night, you know for the Times.”
Cunningham is expected to attend the March 13 preview of the exhibition, according to a NYHS spokeswoman.