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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Saturday, February 24

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Art Wed Jan 20 2010

Art Shay at Thomas Masters Gallery

Interview with Art Shay from ThomasMastersGallery on Vimeo.

"I'll start with the sixties."
"Fine. You were probably more interesting then. I understand everybody was."
-From Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins

Art Shay's footprint on Chicago photography is colossal. Shay's (unbelievably) first color exhibition opened at Thomas Masters Gallery on North Avenue in Old Town last Friday. The homey vintage space with creaky floors made Thomas Masters a perfect host for this show.

Shay shot for Time, Sports Illustrated and was a Chicago-based photojournalist for Life. In the entrance is a list of quotes from celebrities like Roger Ebert, Hugh Hefner, Studs Terkel, and David Mamet who said "I have one of Art Shay's pictures over my desk. It reminds me every morning of my Chicago roots. Art photos, like me, have the Chicago accent, which is to say he's telling you the truth."

The show is packed with recognizable faces like President Kennedy, Andy Warhol, Johnny Cash, Jimmy Hoffa, and a few wonderfully moving pictures of and about Martin Luther King, Jr. After the assassination of King, Shay talked his way into the building across from the hotel and snapped a photo of the murderer's handprint on the wall, highlighted by police fingerprint dust. It took my breath away.

It would be easy to spend a good hour in Thomas Masters, wandering from each photo to the next. There is a description or anecdote from Shay under every photo, which heightens that magical feeling of finding dusty boxes of old magazines in your grandma's attic and experiencing nostalgia whether or not you lived through the sixties.

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Jason Marck / January 20, 2010 3:30 PM

Believe it. This glowing review only scratches the surface.

Like a Terkel interview or an Algren story or a
Guinan painting, Shay's photographs "reveal the real". Period.

charlie / January 27, 2010 5:07 PM

A must see...

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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