A Disappearing Lower East Side

A Disappearing Lower East Side

All photographs by David Scheinbaum and Janet Russek

Join photographers David Scheinbaum and Janet Russek to explore the disappearing businesses, houses of worship, and other community spaces of Manhattan’s historic Lower East Side!

  • Learn about Scheinbaum and Russek’s photography book, Remnants, Photographs of the Lower East Side
  • Explore the bustling streets and neighborhoods of the LES through stunning images
  • Uncover the historic food purveyors, shops, and retailers throughout the area that have stuck around for generations, but are gradually disappearing
  • Get detailed look at a number of remaining active synagogues
  • Save $5 when you buy your own copy of Remnants, Photographs of the Lower East Side

About the event:

In this talk, you’ll explore New York City’s historic Lower East Side neighborhood through the lens of photographers David Scheinbaum and Janet Russek.

Throughout its history, New York’s Lower East Side has reflected the cultural demographics of the city. In 1890, Jacob Riis published How The Other Half Lives, a photographic indictment that exposed the deplorable and dangerous living and working conditions of newly arrived immigrants who had come to America seeking a better life.

Faced with circumstances that in many cases were worse than what they left behind, these immigrants were championed in Riis’s book. Subsequently, the Lower East Side fostered a rich cultural environment for immigrant life, becoming the home to many ethnic groups as they settled and brought with them their customs, foods, and beliefs for most of the 20th century.

David Scheinbaum and Janet Russek started photographing the area in 1999, and have chronicled a time of extraordinary transformation. Undergoing rapid gentrification into a “hipster” neighborhood, the future of the Lower East Side is now unclear. In 2008, the National Trust for Historic Preservation added the neighborhood to its list of America’s Most Endangered Places, and many believe the cultural institutions and ideologies that established the Lower East Side are disappearing forever.

About David Scheinbaum and Janet Russek

Janet Russek is a photographer and private photography dealer. With her husband, David Scheinbaum, she operates Scheinbaum & Russek Ltd., private fine art photography dealers and consultants in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Scheinbaum & Russek maintain an inventory of contemporary and vintage 20th century photographic works as well as exclusively representing the estates of Beaumont and Nancy Newhall, and the Eliot Porter Estate. Established in 1980, Scheinbaum & Russek’s services include; appraisals, auction evaluations, brokering collections, collection development, consulting, curating, lectures and workshops.

Russek worked with Eliot Porter as his assistant from 1980 until the time of his death in 1990. In that capacity, she curated his exhibitions and worked on many of his publications. Stemming from her relationship with Eliot and his wife, Aline Porter, Russek produced a body of work on the Porter’s house in Tesuque, New Mexico and their summer house on Great Spruce Head Island, Maine.

In 2013 Radius Books published, The Tenuous Stem, a retrospective of Russek’s work chronicling a 20 year project using still life as a metaphor for the life cycle.

Janet Russek has collaborated with David Scheinbaum on three projects and publications, Ghost Ranch: Land of Light, Photographs by David Scheinbaum and Janet Russek, Balcony Press, 1997, the accompanying exhibition traveled through the Museum of New Mexico; Images in the Heavens, Patterns on the Earth: The I Ching, The Museum of New Mexico Press, 2005 which won the American Association of Museums award for design in 2005. Their latest collaboration and publication was a project photographing on the Lower East Side of New York, Remnants, Photographs by Janet Russek and David Scheinbaum, Radius Books, 2017.

Her current work addresses contrasting high and low culture through the use of words and images. She is currently working on two projects. She is focusing on water and drought in the Southwest, photographing an old wheelbarrow in the landscape from an empty rusted interior to a rain and snow filled interior symbolic of the changes of season’s and the on-going drought in much of the west. The other project takes us back to her work in museums, this time capturing people “embedded” in works of art where the viewer is merging with the painting. Russek has exhibited internationally, and is represented in numerous museum collections.

David Scheinbaum is former Director/Chair of the Photography Department and the Marion Center for Photographic Arts at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and Professor Emeritus, College of Santa Fe.

His photographs of New Mexico’s Bisti Badlands can be found in his book Bisti, published by the University of New Mexico Press, 1987. In 1990 Florida International University Press published Miami Beach: Photographs of an American Dream. This work is now archived at the History Miami Museum. In 2006 the Museum of New Mexico Press published, Stone: A Substantial Witness.

Hip Hop: Portraits of An Urban Hymn, Damiani Editore, was published in 2012. This work was exhibited at The National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, entitled Recognize: Hip-Hop and Contemporary Portraiture, 2008. The work was also exhibited as part of the exhibition, Clubs, Joints and Honky-Tonks, at the Norton Museum of Art, 2012 and at the Institut du Monde, Arabe, Paris, 2015, Hip Hop; du Bronx aux Rues Arabes. This work is now archived at The Cornell University Hip Hop Collection.

In 2017 his imagery focused on the production of paper negatives addressing black culture and racism in America. The work was exhibited at the Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2018 and is traveled to the Windgate Art and Design Gallery at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, in 2020.

From 2016 to 2019 he photographed in the holy city of Varanasi, India. These images trace life and ceremony along the Ganges River in Varanasi, India. Currently, he has focused his energies producing ENSŌ images and photograms in his darkroom using photographic chemistry and paper to produce calligraphic drawings.

David worked with the preeminent photo historian Beaumont Newhall from 1978 until Newhall’s death in 1993 and continues as co-executor of his estate.

David has been the recipient of both the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, 2010, and the City of Santa Fe Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, 2001. Scheinbaum has exhibited internationally, and is represented in numerous museum collections.

Attendees will receive a link to join the webinar after completing the registration. 

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