In our neck of the woods, Howie Greenberg emerged in the 1970s as an affable hippie Psych major with a talent for taking photos, a good eye for other people’s work and a firm belief that photography was an artform as valid, valuable and aesthetically demanding as painting or sculpture. In 1977 he founded the not-for-profit Catskill Center for Photography, now known as the Center for Photography at Woodstock (CPW), and soon thereafter became a serious collector of art photography and photojournalism.
In 1981 he set up a research business called Photofind that evolved into the Howard Greenberg Gallery. Based in SoHo, its exhibitions played a major role in getting New York City culture mavens to take “street” photography seriously, with ripples across the globe that have successfully established it as a top-shelf artform.
Now located in the Fuller Building at 41 East 57th Street, the Howard Greenberg Gallery’s enormous collection includes works by Eugène Atget, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Bruce Davidson, André Kertész, William Klein, Gordon Parks, Edward Steichen, Paul Strand, Josef Sudek, Edward Weston, Edward Burtynsky, Jungjin Lee, Joel Meyerowitz and Vivian Maier. In 2013 the Gallery became the exclusive representative of the estates of Berenice Abbott and Arnold Newman.
Greenberg recently donated more than 1,000 photos from his collection to the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY-New Paltz. The Dorsky is currently showing Part One of an exhibition selected from among them by curator Daniel Belasco, titled “On the Street and in the Studio.” It runs until July 10, with Part Two scheduled to open on August 31.
You can get the inside story on Howard Greenberg’s adventures in collecting this Sunday, February 28 at 2 p.m., when he gives a Gallery Talk at the Dorsky, co-sponsored by CPW. The event is open to the public, with admission by voluntary donation. For more info visit www.newpaltz.edu/museum/exhibitions/greenberg.html.