From 1972 to 1975, Susan Meiselas spent her summers photographing and interviewing women who performed striptease at small town carnivals around New England. As she followed the girl shows from town to town, she portrayed the dancers on stage and off, photographing their public performances as well as their private lives. Meiselas’ frank description of these women and the intimate and empathetic quality of her photographs brought a hidden world to public attention. Produced during the early years of the women’s movement the book “Carnival Strippers” was published in 1976 to immediate acclaim and heralding a fresh and important new voice in photography. Since then, Meiselas’s observant eye and mind have continued to tackle all manner of complex struggles and times of change from Nicaragua to Kurdistan to her own neighborhood in downtown New York.
Among numerous awards Meiselas received a MacArthur Fellowship in 1992, an ICP Infinity award in 2005, and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2015. A retrospective of her work is currently on view at the Tàpies Foundation in Barcelona, and opens at the Jeu de Paume this February and San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art in 2018.
Carnival Strippers: 1972 – 1975
January 11 – March 3, 2018