The City Never Sleeps

Climatic Photos at ClampArt

Diane Arbus, “Woman with eyeliner, NYC." Image courtesy of ClampArt, New York City.

BY: PROVOKR Staff

“The City (And a Few Lonely People)” opens at ClampArt on January 24, and lays bare one of the most provocative ironies of societal structure: Loneliness.

A book by Olivia Laing, entitled The Lonely City (Picador: New York City, 2016), inspired the curation of work by Diane Arbus, John Arsenault, Larry Clark, and numerous other photographers from a wide range of backgrounds. Each work captures feelings of solitude, independence, and uncertainty; it reminds us that the more crowded the place, the more lonely it can feel.

It forces viewers to consider how connected they really are to their fellow humans. For all the likes, friends, and followers in the world, how many would send you a birthday card in the mail?

For all the exponential growth of your social media brand, how many people would you reach out to for a deep conversation without the thinnest shred of shyness?

One of our favorite quotes on this matter was written by Janet Fitch in White Oleander, brought to life onscreen by the ethereal Michelle Pfeiffer. While it’s not included in Laing’s book or part of the show, we find it’s a perfect aperitif for taking in these works:

“
Loneliness is the human condition. Cultivate it. The way it tunnels into you allows your soul room to grow. Never expect to outgrow loneliness. Never hope to find people who will understand you, someone to fill that space. An intelligent, sensitive person is the exception, the very great exception. If you expect to find people who will understand you, you will grow murderous with disappointment. The best you’ll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want, and not let the cattle stand in your way.”

The City (And a Few Lonely People) is on view through March 9, 2019.

 

picture of a boy smoking a cigarette
Image: © Larry Clark, “Vinnie,” c. 1981, Vintage gelatin silver print (from the portfolio “Teenage Lust”), Courtesy of ClampArt, New York City

 

Diane Arbus, "Girl in Black Eyeliner, NYC"
Image: Diane Arbus, “Girl in Black Eyeliner, NYC”

 

photo of a redhead girl in a bathtub, nude
Image: © Laura Stevens, “Lily,” 2014, Archival pigment print, Courtesy of ClampArt, New York City

 

John Arsenault, "Lonely" man with a neck tattoo
Image: John Arsenault, “Lonely.” Courtesy of ClampArt, New York City

 

Clarissa Bonet, "On the Edge"
Image: © Clarissa Bonet, “On the Edge,” 2015; Archival pigment print, Courtesy of ClampArt, New York City

 

Clarissa Bonet, "Swelter" overhead shot of a pedestrian walking down the street
Image: Clarissa Bonet, “Swelter.” Courtesy of ClampArt, New York City.

 

edited photo of a skyline, post-apocalyptic at dawn
Image: © Lori Nix/Kathleen Gerber, “Dawn,” 2016, Archival pigment print, Courtesy of ClampArt, New York City