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'You couldn't build a city like New York in good taste,' Rudy Burckhardt—photographer, filmmaker, painter—observed in 1994 of the hometown he'd adopted some six decades earlier. That was, in large measure, what he liked about it. Of the countless bohemians who've fallen in love with New York, Burckhardt's feeling for the metropolis that inspired his greatest work is marked by lightness—passion masquerading as a passing fancy.
His constant, understated presence amid the New York School writers and painters made him something of a "subterranean monument," according to the poet John Ashbery. Along with his companion and later lifelong friend, the poet and dance critic Edwin Denby, he belonged to perhaps the last generation for whom it was still possible to live comfortably as artists-not-particularly-concerned-with-their-careers in Manhattan. The city has lost something with their passing. Just how much may be glimpsed in this show of a unique, handmade album that the two men put together in 1939, consisting of Burckhardt's photographs of New York accompanied by sonnets that Denby wrote in response to them.