Prints of Village Icons
of the 1950s and 60s
by Fred W. McDarrah Available
is proud to exclusively offer for sale a select set of prints of
classic images of Village icons of the 1950s and 60s by renowned Village
Voice photographer Fred W. McDarrah, with all proceeds supporting GVSHP.
All prints are hand printed, estate-stamped, resin coated Archival
quality, in glossy, matte or luster (semi-gloss) surfaces (you choose).
Prints are $300 for 8x10 and $350 for 11x14, with lower prices if you order three or more – click here for all details.
Check out each one and their incredible backstories:
Jack Kerouac reading 'On the Road' at the Artist's Studio (48 East 3rd Street), New York, New York, February 15, 1959 © Estate of Fred W. McDarrah
Jack Kerouac became
the leading voice of the generation pushing back against the stifling
conformity of 1950s America. The originator of the “Beat Generation”
appellation published “On the Road” in 1957, which instantly catapulted
him to literary superstardom. Following its publication, Kerouac cut
back noticeably on his public appearances, especially after he was badly
beaten outside one of his favorite haunts, the San Remo Café on
Bleecker and MacDougal Street, in 1958. One of his rare public appearances during this period was also
his most celebrated. On February 15, 1959 Kerouac took the
stage at George Nelson Preston’s “Artist’s Studio” at 48 East 3rd Street.
In what is considered one of the important poetry readings ever held in
New York, and a defining moment for the Beats, Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg,
Gregory Corso, Peter Orlovsky, and LeRoi Jones, among others, read from
their works that night. McDarrah captured Kerouac in this Christ-like pose, reading from “On the Road.” The
image so came to so define Kerouac and the Beats that it was even used
on the cover of “The Beat Scene,” a compilation of short works to which nearly every prominent Beat writer contributed in 1960.
Jane Jacobs protesting at P.S. 41, 116 West 11th Street, New York, New York, February 3, 1964. © Estate of Fred W. McDarrah
Fred McDarrah and the Village Voice assiduously chronicled the activities of Jane Jacobs,
who in the 1950s and 60s lead a movement in Lower Manhattan to
retake communities from government bureaucrats, urban planners, and big
business interests. A journalist herself, Jacobs was media-savvy and
knew that good press coverage was key to winning preservation victories.
Here she is seen protesting outside the newly-built P.S. 41 on West
11th Street in Greenwich Village – the school which both of McDarrah’s
children later attended. Her picture-friendly posterboard was a
signature Jane Jacobs tool for getting her message out and framing the
battle in her terms.
Bob Dylan saluting as he sits on a
bench in Sheridan Square Park, New York, New York, January 22,
1965. © Estate of Fred W. McDarrah
The folk music figure McDarrah was closest to, and probably did the
most to immortalize, was Bob Dylan. There is perhaps no more
recognizable image of Bob Dylan than this famous “salute” pose taken by
McDarrah in Sheridan Square on a cold January in 1965. The image was
taken the week Dylan recorded “Bringing It All Back Home,” and has been
used by everyone from Martin Scorsese, who put it on “The Bob Dylan
Scrapbook 1956-1966” (the companion DVD to No Direction Home, his
“American Masters” Dylan tribute), to Bob himself, who used it on the
cover of 2014’s Complete Album Collection Vol. One. Cementing the
epochal nature of the photo, it was placed on the cover of the very last
print issue of the Village Voice, allowing Dylan to symbolically signal
the end of that era.
Andy Warhol trying on a marching
band uniform in a used clothing store on St. Mark’s Place, New York, New
York, December 9, 1966. © Estate of Fred W. McDarrah
According to Fred McDarrah’s son Tim, Andy Warhol would
call his father all the time to ask him to take his photo. This
particular day, McDarrah agreed to go shopping with Warhol on St. Mark’s
Place. McDarrah’s photo of Warhol in his thrift store military
bandleader jacket ran on the front page of the Village Voice soon
after. John Lennon and Yoko Ono were loyal Voice readers. Tim McDarrah
says that John once told his father that he showed the cover image of
Andy Warhol to his bandmates, who loved the look, and it was this photo
that inspired them to choose the band leader outfits for the Sgt. Pepper
album in early 1967.
Nico performing with the Velvet
Underground at Steve Paul’s nightclub, the Scene, New York, New York,
January 7, 1967. © Estate of Fred W. McDarrah
German model Nico was a critical part of the image of the Velvet
Underground in their first incarnation under Andy Warhol’s tutelage.
Fred McDarrah would often accompany Andy to their shows to help capture
their unique onstage presence. This image of an icy and translucent Nico
singing, with the rest of the Velvets a fuzzy blur behind her, became
one of the most iconic images of her and the band, on the eve of the
release of their first album. This performance took place at The Scene
near Times Square in January, 1967.
Jimi Hendrix with producer/engineer
Eddie Kramer (l.) and studio manager Jim Marron in Hendrix’s still under
construction Electric Lady Studio, New York, New York, June 17,
1970. © Estate of Fred W. McDarrah
Jimi Hendrix, who would have turned 75 last month, built Electric Lady Studios, the only (at the time) artist-run recording studio at 52 West 8th Street after
experiencing cost overruns and creative frustration at traditional
commercial studios. While Electric Lady Studios would go on to become
one of the most legendary and sought-after recording studios in the
world, producing records by everyone from The Clash to Beyonce, the
Ramones to Madonna, Hendrix barely got to savor or experience one of the
most enduring pieces of his musical legacy, as he died just three weeks
after the studio opened. While the studio was still under
construction, however, Fred McDarrah was called in to take this picture
of Jimi Hendrix with producer and engineer Eddie Kramer and studio
manager Jim Marron, who helped design and create the studio. According
to McDarrah’s family, photos from this shoot are the only extant
pictures of Jimi at the soundboard at Electric Lady Studios, as he died
in September of that year.
Allen Ginsberg (r.) with Peter Orlovsky (l., with glasses) outside the Kettle of Fish bar, 114 MacDougal Street, New York, New York, March 8, 1959. © Estate of Fred W. McDarrah
Allen Ginsberg and fellow Beat poet and life-partner Peter Orlovsky
were photographed by McDarrah outside the Kettle of Fish bar at 114 MacDougal Street,
not long after “Howl and other Poems” had been released and litigated
in one of the most high-prolife and consequential obscenity trials of
the 20th century. Ginsberg and fellow Beats like Jack Kerouac called the
Kettle of Fish a second home of sorts, located along the
MacDougal/Bleecker corridor, which was the center of both the folk
renaissance and the literary revolution of the 1950s and ’60s. While
Ginsberg spent time in San Francisco, Paris, and Tangiers, he ultimately
called New York home, living in the nearby East Village until his death
in 1997. Over the years Fred McDarrah took many of the images of Allen
Ginsberg which came to define the public’s perception of him, including
the poet in a stovetop Uncle Sam hat and sitting in repose against Judson Memorial Church.
The Velvet Underground at Andy
Warhol‘s The Dom, 23 St. Marks Place, as part of the ‘Exploding Plastic
Inevitable,’ New York, New York, April 1, 1966. © Estate of Fred W.
McDarrah’s chameleon camera lens was equally at home with proto-punk
noisemakers The Velvet Underground as it was with any earnest folk
singer. In fact, McDarrah was quite close to Warhol and the Factory, and
extensively documented the Velvets’ earliest days. Key to their rise to
downtown prominence was their month-long residency at Warhol’s St.
Marks Place club The Dom, which began on April 1, 1966 as part of his
“Exploding Plastic Inevitable.” McDarrah was there to capture this
bizarre, multi-media performance on the opening night. So was the press,
including the New York Times, which fueled interest in this underground
phenomenon just as they were about to go into the recording studios to
cut the demos for their history-making first album, “The Velvet
Underground and Nico.”
Willem de Kooning outside his studio, 88 East 10th Street, New York, New York, April 5, 1959. © Estate of Fred W. McDarrah
Though you would barely know it today, in the 1950s the center of the
art world was located in a string of scruffy artist-run galleries and
studios on East 10th Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues that featured
the emerging New York School of Abstract Expressionist painters. Central
to that scene was Willem de Kooning,
whom many critics say bore greater responsibility for shifting the
center of the art world from Paris to New York than any other figure.
From 1952 to 1962, during what was the height of his career, de Kooning
maintained a studio at 88 East 10th Street,
right in the center of the East 10th Street gallery row. De Kooning is
pictured here on the front steps of his building with novelist Noel
Clad, with the storied Tanger Gallery visible just next door above the bar.
McDarrah was good friends with de Kooning and many of the other abstract
expressionists, and was paying him a visit when he snapped this iconic
photo which perfectly captures how great art was emerging from New
York’s gritty downtown streets at this time.
Charles Mingus (in white shirt) and his band at the Five Spot Café, 2 St. Marks Place, New York, New York, August 22, 1962. © Estate of Fred W. McDarrah
The Five Spot Café was considered one of the premier locations for
jazz anywhere in the mid-20th century. After its original home at 1 Cooper Square was
demolished (now the site for the JASA residence for the elderly at
Bowery and 5th Street), it re-opened just a few blocks north at 2 St. Mark’s Place.
To mark the re-opening, the venerable venue called in none other than
Charles Mingus to help christen its new home, in the base of what is now
the St. Mark’s Hotel.
Patchin Place looking towards
West 10th Street and the clock tower of the Jefferson Market Courthouse
(now library), October 6, 1963. © Estate of Fred W. McDarrah
McDarrah was intimately involved with documenting the Greenwich
Village preservation movement of the 1950s and ’60s, which was battling
(and eventually defeated) a slew of proposals by Robert Moses to build
highways through the neighborhood and demolish blocks and blocks of
housing and businesses. One intimate battle at the heart of the
neighborhood, which reached a fever pitch just as Penn Station was being demolished, was the fight to preserve the Jefferson Market
Courthouse/now Library (1876) at 6th Avenue and 10th Street, which was
slated for demolition. This photo of its iconic clock tower peering up
over cobblestoned Patchin Place was more than just an idyllic Village
moment captured on film; it was taken as part of the successful campaign
to save the historic landmark from demolition, one of the first key
victories which turned the tide for preservation after the fall of Penn
Phil Ochs came from the decidedly political wing of the folk
movement, making a name for himself in the Greenwich Village folk scene
singing explicitly anti-war and pro-civil rights songs, often at some of
the biggest rallies of the era for these causes. Ochs is standing in
front of the tattered awning of the San Remo Café at MacDougal and
Bleecker Street, the epicenter of the Village’s folk, Beat, and literary
scene. The casually defiant pose, leaning on his guitar case, was so
popular it was turned into one of the best-selling posters of 1967 when
issued by an outfit called Personality Posters.
Phil Ochs with guitar on MacDougal Street, New York, New York, Januray 3, 1965. © Estate of Fred W. McDarrah