Cheese Store, 276 Bleecker St

by Berenice Abbott

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Artist Statement

From the late nineteenth century to the 1930s, New York received an influx of Italian immigrants, many of whom settled in The South Village neighborhood. Once home to large Irish and African-American populations, The South Village became an Itailian enclave representing a community that has shaped the texture of the city to this day. Mandaro’s cheese shop, pictured in Berenice Abbott’s 1937 photograph Cheese Store, 276 Bleecker St, was one of the businesses catering to the burgeoning Italian-American populace. Serving fresh ricotta and mozzarella with newly-strung charcuterie hanging in the windows, Mandaro’s became a staple on Bleecker. The shop represented a crucial part of the area’s thriving businesses: shop owners were able to pass down trades to their children, turning them into skilled workers and feeding the success of the community. The Mandaro storefront seen in Cheese Store, 276 Bleecker St is a symbol of the industry and entrepreneurship of one growing immigrant community, while signifying the displacement of another.

Cheese Store, 276 Bleecker St is one of the hundreds of photographs Berenice Abbott shot as part of her Changing New York series. Inspired by French photographer Eugène Atget’s documentary style of photographing Paris as it disappeared into modernization, Abbott proposed Changing New York to the Federal Art Project (FAP) in 1935. In contrast to the romanticly manipulated images of the popular pictorialist movement, Abbott’s work heralded a new era of sharply focused photography that straddled the line between art and photojournalism.

Beyond being a creative pursuit, Changing New York was a sociological study of the built environment. Fascinated by urban planning, man-made forms and functional objects, Abbott believed the habitats we construct say as much about humanity as our faces and bodies. The images in Changing New York show a city at the cusp of change, a phenomenon brought on by the collective behavior of the city’s inhabitants.

Why We Love It

The sign on the window reads “Mandaro Latticini Freschi”, latticini freschi translating to “fresh dairy products” in Italian. Below the window you’ll read “Ricotta tutta creama” (whole milk ricotta) and “Ricotta fina” (fine ricotta). Wheels and wedges of cheese large and small festoon the storefront ledge, salumi and perhaps a few peppers hanging sensuously overhead. It’s a feast for the eyes, shot tenderly, truly, and with respect ... Read more on the blog

Details

+ Limited-edition, exclusive to 20x200
+ Museum quality: archival inks, 100% cotton rag paper unless noted
+ Signed + numbered certificate of authenticity included
+ Handcrafted custom-framing is available

Our quoted dimensions are for the size of paper containing the images, not the printed image itself. We do not alter the aspect ratio, nor do we crop or resize the artists’ originals. All of our prints have a minimum border of .5 inches to allow for framing.

Medium:

Innova Fibaprint Warm Cotton Gloss

 Edition Structure:
10"x8" | edition of 10
14"x11" | edition of 250
20"x16" | edition of 50

Berenice Abbott

Berenice Abbott was an American photographer best known for her black and white photography of New York City architecture and urban design of the 1930s. Abbott was born in Springfield, Ohio. She attended the Ohio State University, but left in early 1918. Abbott went to Europe in 1921, spending two years studying sculpture in Paris and Berlin. In addition to her work in the visual arts, Abbott published poetry in the experimental literary journal transition. Abbott first became involved with photography in 1923, when Man Ray, looking for somebody who knew nothing about photography and thus would do as he... Read More
said, hired her as a darkroom assistant at his portrait studio in Montparnasse. In 1926, she had her first solo exhibition (in the gallery Au Sacre du Printemps) and started her own studio on the rue du Bac. In early 1929, Abbott visited New York and was struck by its photographic potential. She moved to the city and began work on her New York project, which she worked on independently until 1935, when she was hired by the Federal Art Project as a project supervisor for her Changing New York project. She continued to take the photographs of the city, but she had assistants to help her both in the field and in the office. This arrangement allowed Abbott to devote all her time to producing, printing and exhibiting her photographs. By the time she resigned from the FAP in 1939, she had produced 305 photographs that were then deposited at the Museum of the City of New York.
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