Notice of Upcoming Exhibitions – Two exhibitions at the Bronx Museum

David Katzenstein | Valerie Capers: A Portrait

On Thursday, October 18, 2012 the exhibition will opening at  The Bronx Museum, 1040 Grand Concourse @ 165th Street Opening Reception/Program Sunday, October 28 1-5pm

Katzenstein was introduced to the noted jazz pianist and Bronx native Valerie Capers in 1994, when he photographed her for her album, Come On Home. This exhibition is a visual documentation of her musical life from 1995 to a recent live session at The Knickerbocker, the Greenwich Village club where she often performs.

Capers was born in the Bronx, and after losing her sight at the age of six she received her early schooling at the New Institute for the Education of the Blind. She went on to earn both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in classical music from the Juilliard School of Music. When she graduated, her brother urged her to explore her roots. She took his advice, and discovered jazz. For two years she immersed herself in music, and went on to become the first sightless person to conduct at Carnegie Hall.

From 1987 to 1995, she served on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music, and was chair of the Department of Music and Art at Bronx Community College of the City University of New York (CUNY), where she is now professor emeritus.

David Katzenstein | Bronx Portraits: 2003 + 2012

On Thursday, October 18, 2012 the exhibition will opening at The Bronx Museum, 1040 Grand Concourse @ 165th Street Opening Reception/Program Sunday, October 28 1-5pm

Katzenstein created the Bronx Portraits project when he first visited the rehearsals for a high school production of Grease. It was the 2002-2003 school year, and Jane Addams Vocational High

School had just received a grant to mount a musical, something the South Bronx school had never done before. Grease was chosen for its relevance to high school life, and Jon Adam Ross, a  playwright and recent graduate of the Tisch School of the Arts, was named director. At his invitation, Katzenstein shot a series of photographs that captured the transformation of a group of student actors. The play was performed three times, to raucous and appreciative crowds of students and family members.

In May 2012 Ross and Katzenstein organized a reunion of the cast. The goal was to photograph the alumnae in the same locations nine years later and also to create video interviews of each participant talking about how being a part of the production of Grease impacted their lives. The end result is a remarkable and enlightening experience and a testament to the importance that art  plays in shaping of young peoples’ lives. The exhibition is also a fascinating study on how individuals physically change over time.

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