40 Pools

Celebrating a Big Birthday with 40 Swims

SPF16: NYC Pools and Beaches in Contemporary Photography

Suddenly it’s summer! Beaches are open. Outdoor pools open next Wednesday, June 29. Outdoor lap swimming starts the following Tuesday, July 5. Even Olympic Trials are about to begin.

Just in time for the season comes a Parks-produced exhibit of photos taken at local public pools and beaches. SPF16: NYC Pools and Beaches in Contemporary Photography is on view, free as the pools and beaches themselves, until August 26 in the Arsenal Gallery in Central Park. Hours are inconvenient for workin’ folk, though: 9:00-5:00 Monday-Friday only.

Do yourself a favor and make the effort to visit the show. This teaser of images courtesy of Slate is fantastic but does not do it justice. The dozen artists included have wonderfully diverse subject matter, formats, and compositions, reflecting the vibrant diversity of the city’s aquatic culture. “Contemporary” in this context stretches back to 1983 South Beach, Staten Island (Christine Osinski), and up to 2014 helicopter views of Brooklyn’s Coney Island and McCarren Park Pool (Tobias Hutzler).

My favorites include Juliana Beasley’s colorful prints of everyday people of a certain age going about their business by the beach in Queens (easily mistaken for my beloved Brighton Beach) and Wayne Lawrence’s large close-up of a man looking resolutely into the camera while holding two equally steadfast girls (his daughters?) in the water at Orchard Beach. Each artist’s approach is different, and taken together their work embodies the multifaceted beauty and endless inspiration these public facilities offer. My only complaint is that it’s not lots bigger.

exhibit postcard with Tobias Hutzler view of McCarren Park Pool

2 Comments »