Published: December 14, 2004
“At the Crossroads of Desire: A Times Square Centennial” looks back on how Times Square has evolved over the past century as a nexus for the real estate, journalism, advertising and entertainment industries, at the same time that it has served as a crucible for changing notions of urban planning, morality and public display – a crossroads of desire in its many forms.
The exhibition is organized chronologically through a series of six themes that have come to symbolize the history of Times Square: a century of building and planning; the crowd; entertaining America; fantasy and desire; signs of the times; and making news. Despite all of its transformations, these consistent themes have kept Americans fascinated with Times Square since its inception.
With each generation building directly atop the one before, only pieces of what the space once was are left. Included in the exhibition are the works of many of the great photographers and filmmakers spanning the past century, who were drawn to the unique light and social atmosphere that attracted millions in the same way. Among the photographers featured are William Klein, Rudy Burckhardt, Weegee and Robert Frank. Images of Hubert’s Dime Museum and Flea Circus on 42 Street, Times Square subway signs and adult-themed movie posters, postcards of old Broadway also create a visual reminder of what Times Square was, and what it has become.
“At the Crossroads” was curated by historian Max Page and organized by the AXA Gallery in partnership with the Times Square Alliance.
Page is an associate professor of architecture and history at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, where he teaches urban, architectural and public history. He is author of The Creative Destruction of Manhattan, 1900-1940 (University of Chicago Press, 1999), which won the Spiro Kostof Award of the Society of Architectural Historians for the best book on architecture and urbanism. Page is also a 2003 Guggenheim Fellow.
“At the Crossroads of Desire: A Times Square Centennial” will be exhibited December 10 through March 26.
The AXA Gallery is in the atrium lobby of Equitable Tower, 787 Seventh Avenue at 51st Street. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 11 am to 6 pm, and Saturday, noon to 5 pm. For information, 212-554-2015 or axa-financial.com.
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