The work of the late Italian photographer Ugo Mulas—a fly on the wall of the New York art world in the 1960s—is being reintroduced in an exhibition at Matthew Marks in Chelsea. The show of more than 100 works primarily focuses on six artists the photographer followed closely over three visits to New York: Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, Barnett Newman, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Rauschenberg.
Mulas met Duchamp in 1964 in Milan’s Galerie Schwarz during an exhibition celebrating five decades of the readymade, and travelled to New York the same year at Leo Castelli’s encouragement. He was “considered an art critic and historian himself, and captured the essence of the studio and the artistic process with a fascinating tenderness”, says Hendel Teicher, a historian who curated the exhibition.
The show, titled after the photographer’s 1967 book of the same name, “gives a romantic view of the New York art world—one that still exists but has changed tremendously”, Teicher says. She adds, “You can’t compare it but it’s nice to know it existed”. As well as seeing the artists at work, Mulas captured the now legendary figures in relaxed moments of familiarity.
• Ugo Mulas—New York: The New Art Scene is on view at Matthew Marks until 16 August