Photographer Rita Barros pays homage to that hotbed of bohemian culture
in Fifteen Years: Chelsea Hotel (Câmara Municipal de
Lisboa/Cultura). Barros book includes photos of past and current residents
such as Gregory Corso, Deedee Ramone and Virgil Thomson. And since Barros
herself is a longtime resident she knows whereof she shoots.
Lar Dolce Lar
… in the years that she has inhabited this mosaic ambience, Portuguese
photographer, Rita Barros, has documented the Chelsea with images that
don’t censor or chronicle, but create with its intimate complicity
a dialogue with her own identity and personal expression. It is about
this daily live that she will show in her book, Woody Allen filming,
Courtney Love in a fashion shoot, rocker Bon Jovi, writer Arthur Miller,
and many more. The daily diversity of the hotel is for her the best
microscopic example of the city: "New York has such an energy,
such craziness that eccentricity is trivialized".
By Rita Martins
Retratos de Hotel
Rita Barros is a photographer who lives in New York since 1980 and brought
to the Galeria 111 an exhibition with the title Fifteen Years: Chelsea
Hotel. Personalities from the art world, "sacred monsters"
of the xx century culture are part of the gallery of personalities that
passed through the Chelsea and that Rita Barros captured with her camera.
It’s the art of photography in all its splendor. Not to be missed
Dec 4, 99
A mythical and mediatic place, the Chelsea Hotel in New York,, is a
survivor of times when the underground did not coincide with the surface,
more or less mundane of the present. Created in 1905, people like Mark
Twain O’Henry, Bette Davies, Pollock, Nabokov, Tennessee Williams
stayed there. Rita Barros who lives in the room where Arthur C. Clarke
wrote 2001 has been photographing it for the past 15 years
and gathered the portraits of her neighbors and personal memories in
an exhibition and book. Bon Jovi, Courtney Love, Arthur Miller in black
and white, and in color Henry Geldzhaler, Barry Flanagan, Gregory Corso,
James Brown, Jean Baudrillard, Don Cherry and many others. It is a document.
Room with a view over the city
22-28 December 99
…about the work, Gerard Schreiner an art historian wrote"
Rita Barros guides us through the Chelsea theater of solitude, haunted
with reveries, emotional ambiguities, fragments of self, hidden desires
and emotions, shadows from lost worlds and all powerful semi-alive beings
which tend to dissolve into a new dimension: the New York dimension.
Proof of this are the photos of rocker Jon Bon Jovi, German singer
Shizo, philosopher Jean Baudrillard, painter Richard Bernstein, singer/actress
Courtney Love, rocker Deedee Ramone, painter Blair Wair or the fashion
editor Gene Krell. And to this mix, the house staff; is added, from
the telephone operator to the receptionist.
The images live through the complicity with the sitter. The humor, irreverence,
the comfort and tranquility come from personal objects and small individual
universes of the different personalities that inhabit the hotel.
On the cusp of significance., August 27, 2000
Reviewer: laurencefrommer from New York City
Photographer, journalist, artist, and Portuguese expatriate Rita Barros,
is one of those lucky people who arrives on the scene when a world is
in transition and captures dynamic change for posterity. This book is
really about each souls struggle for significance. Here we see a paradox:
The Chelsea Hotel, when it was a rag tag hangout in a dusty backwater,
at least had it's scruffy but brilliant artists. Now that the surrounding
neighborhood has become a high rent,trendy district, the Hotel is mostly
the home of brilliantly(i.e.expensivly) dressed, hangers on.
In this Book, you will witness worn but wistful folks such as composer
Virgil Thomson(in his last years) and a few surviving beat writers waving
,(or is it wavering?) as new talent arrives followed by new money. Noble
souls such as Helen Johnson (owner of one of the finest African American
Theater collections) are finally given their overdue due, while truly
lesser folks do overdo it, flailing to be noticed for talent that they
probably don't really have.
The luckiest readers will be those who are drawn onto the creaking boards
of the Old Chelsea lured by the likes of rock star Dee Dee Ramone, only
to meet film genius, Shirley Clarke for the first time (or vice-versa.)This
book is clearly a labor of love. With this un-selfconcious enterprise,
Ms. Barros has ended up offering something truly of value. The reading
public is the sore looser if they don't take notice!
Postcards from a cruise on the "Ship of Fools",
August 9, 2000
Reviewer: jleao from Cambridge, MA USA
The Chelsea Hotel remains a fixed point in the chaotic map of New York's
creative overworld. It is a collection of brief moments which superimpose
"has-been's" with "will-be's", names, facts and
faces flashing in and out of notoriety. Somewhere in the building there
are holes that lead not exactly into John Malkovitch head but surely
into those of likes of Greg Corso, Arthur C. Clark, Sid Vicious, Leonard
Cohen among many others. Some holes lead directly to some ugly swamp
in New Jersey, so you need a tour guide. Rita Barros is the best you
can get. She has wistfully cohabited with this unending cast of characters
for those many years; she has become one of them; she has probed the
holes in those walls for a decade and a half; inhabited the minds they
lead to. She has captured them in the butterfly net which is her camera,
she has pined them into postcards, complete with the rooms they refashioned
in their own image. She now mails them from beyond the edge in this
picture book of quirkiness which is bound to turn any coffee table upside
down. To observe that her photos are vivid, vibrant, vicarious, or exuberant,
eccentric, hilarious (which they all are) is to realize that, while
browsing these pages, one trips on an unending treasure trove of adjectives
which never cease to suggest themselves. More than anything these images
show the affection and respect for its subjects which are the distinguishing
marks of great photography. Having this book around is like joining
a new group of old friends or waking with a sudden urge to paint your
living room. Get it before it’s gone!