“Tannenbaum’s photographs of the 1970s are as wildly entertaining and energetic as that wonderful decade itself. They form an important visual history of a moment when American culture changed forever.”
~ David Schonauer, Editor-in Chief American Photo

New York in the ’70s is the artist’s personal collection of photographs that document an exciting chapter in New York City’s history. A remarkable body of work produced by photographer Allan Tannenbaum while he was photo editor of the SoHo Weekly News in Manhattan. SoHo and the art world were his primary subjects, yet the images also provide a broad chronicle of the city’s politics and society. Entertainment – especially the music scene – and night life became a large part of the editorial mix. The collision of continuing 1960s counterculture with the remnants of Nixon, Watergate, and Vietnam, coupled with a stagnant economy, was a catalytic force that resulted in an explosion of creativity. By photographing everything from street gangs to disco divas, from homeless to Hollywood stars, Tannenbaum had assembled a personal diary of his journey as a photojournalist and raconteur through a strange era in New York. His studio portraits, night-time flashes, and street photography paint a unique and often unseen picture of the 1970s in New York City.

Dirty, dangerous, and destitute. This was New York City in the 1970s. The 1960s were not yet over, and war still raged in Viet Nam, fueling resentment against the government. Nixon and the Watergate scandal created even more resentment, cynicism, and skepticism. Economically, stagnation coupled with inflation created a sense of malaise. The Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 delivered another blow to the U.S. economy, and brought the misery of long lines to buy gasoline. Conditions in Harlem and Bed-Stuy were horrendous, with abandoned buildings and widespread poverty. The subways were covered everywhere with ugly graffiti and they were unreliable. It seemed as if the entire infrastructure was in decay. Political corruption, sloppy accounting, and the cost of the war were killing the city. Times Square, the crossroads of the world, was seedy and sleazy. Pimps, hookers, and drug dealers owned the night there. Crime was rampant, and the police were powerless to stop it. Random killings by the “Son of Sam” made New Yorkers even more fearful. The parks were in decay, with and litter and bare lawns, and it was home to muggers and rapists. When the proud City of New York had to beg the Federal Government for a financial bail-out, the President said no. The Daily News headline said it all: “Ford to City – Drop Dead.”

Original Works

120 original photographs by the artist printed on the finest satin photo paper. They are archival pigment based prints.

Highlights

The collection includes not only many photos of iconic legends from an intensely creative period in New York City, but the societal context as well.

Exhibition Materials

Captions, wall texts and select high resolution images for promotion.

Display

Requires about 110 – 125 linear meters (350 – 400 linear feet) for the entire collection depending on how the works are installed.

Exhibition Catalogue

“New York in the ’70s” book of photos available. Preface written by Yoko Ono and introduction written by P.J. O’Rourke (reprinting details to be discussed).

Merchandise Production

A separate agreement may be discussed.

Characteristics of Collection
  • Collection is comprehensive, covering a substantial part of the artist’s body of work making it capable of serving as a stand-alone exhibition.
  • Museum curators are provided with extensive information and may curate the exhibition to their specifications.
  • Collection may be expanded or complemented with art from the borrowing museum’s own collections.

Selected Images