William Klein retrospective exhibition
20 December 2013 - 12 March 2014
Foam finishes 2013 with a unique retrospective
exhibition of the work of William Klein. The entire museum will be
dedicated to the life and work of this legendary photographer,
filmmaker and designer.
The career of William Klein (b. 1928) spans more than sixty
years. His work had an immense influence on photography during the
second half of the twentieth century. The exhibition gives ample
coverage to Klein's ground-breaking work in New York in the 1950s
while also displaying work made in Rome, Moscow and Tokyo.
His work for Vogue shows Klein was a great innovator in
the field of fashion photography. In addition to his early
experiments with abstract photography, his large-scale, painted-on
contact prints that he's been creating in more recent years will
also be on view in Foam. A selection of Klein's feature films and
documentaries will be shown in Foam's 3h library space.
This exceptional William Klein retrospective exhibition has been
curated by Foam and can be seen exclusively in Amsterdam.
In 1956, William Klein turned the photographic conventions of
his day upside-down with his book Life is Good for You in New
York - Trance Witness Revels. He revealed a society that
didn't match America's image of itself. The controversial book was
revolutionary, its photography as well as its subject matter, and
over the years it's never lost its power. Between 1956 and 1964, in
a period of eight years, William Klein produced four city books
that completely unsettled the still-young photographic traditions.
New York, Rome, Moscow and
Tokyo are filled with grainy, brusque photos which depict
the four cities in a way that had never been seen before. His
images of life in these cities have a ruthless realism and at the
same time visually reverberate the psychological, social and
economic mood of that time. These books, and New York in
particular, has had an unprecedented influence on subsequent
generations of photographers and designers of photo books.
In the years following the Second World War, William Klein
joined the Allied Forces in Europe. After he finished his service
in 1948 he settled in Paris, where he studied with Fernand Leger.
He later met Alexander Liberman, the legendary art director of the
American magazine Vogue. Via Libermann, Klein went to work
for Vogue and earned a name for himself with his
ambivalent and ironic view of the fashion world. Much of this work
was just as ground-breaking and controversial as his so-called
independent work, which he was doing at the same time, and is now
considered one of the milestones of fashion photography.
William Klein has also been extremely innovative and influential
in the field of film. Since the 1960s he has made many feature
films and documentaries, such as Who Are You, Polly Magoo,
Cassius the Great, Mr. Freedom and Le Couple
Témoin. He also has directed more than 250 commercials. Klein
has received a number of prestigious awards for his work, including
the Prix Nadar, the Hasselblad Award and last year the Outstanding
Contribution to Photography Award in the annual Sony World
Photography Awards. William Klein's work has been exhibited in
numerous museums and galleries worldwide, such as in Italy, France,
Russia, Spain and Germany. A retrospective exhibition of his work
was on show at the Tate Museum in London until the beginning of
Throughout his long and extremely productive career, William
Klein has always remained his own man: independent, unconventional,
enigmatic and contrary, but in everything exceptionally talented.
Sizeable exhibitions of his work can seldom be seen in the
Netherlands - the last one was held in the Stedelijk Museum in
1967. Foam is therefore particularly proud to present this
retrospective exhibition filling the entire museum on the
Keizersgracht for three months, doing justice to the life and work
of one of the greatest masters of photography.
William Klein will be present at the opening of the exhibition on
Thursday, 19 December 2013.
The exhibition of William Klein can be seen from 20 December
2013 until 12 March 2014 in Foam. Open daily 10am - 6pm, Thurs/Fri
10am - 9pm. Tickets: € 8.75 (William Klein surcharge: