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Photo Ugo Mulas © Ugo Mulas Heirs. All rights reserved, Image Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery.

New York

See the unguarded side of New York's Modern art legends

Ugo Mulas photographed the 1960s New York art scene and his pictures are now on show at Matthew Marks

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

Marcel Duchamp at Washington Square Park, from the photographer's Marcel Duchamp portfolio (1965-67)
Photo Ugo Mulas © Ugo Mulas Heirs. All rights reserved, Image Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery.

Marcel Duchamp at Washington Square Park. The photo is included in the photographer's Marcel Duchamp Portfolio (1965-67, printed 1972).

TK Gerard Malanga and Andy Warhol in The Factory
Photo Ugo Mulas © Ugo Mulas Heirs. All rights reserved, Image Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery.

Gerard Malanga and Andy Warhol make a painting (1964).

Police stop a party at Warhol's The Factory
Photo Ugo Mulas © Ugo Mulas Heirs. All rights reserved, Image Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery.

Police stop a dancing party at Andy Warhol’s Factory (1964).

Barnett Newman in his studio
Photo Ugo Mulas © Ugo Mulas Heirs. All rights reserved, Image Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery.

Barnett Newman in his studio (1964-65).

Jasper Johns in his studio (1964)
Photo Ugo Mulas © Ugo Mulas Heirs. All rights reserved, Image Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery.

Jasper Johns in his studio (1964).

Jasper Johns
Photo Ugo Mulas © Ugo Mulas Heirs. All rights reserved, Image Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery.

Jasper Johns painting in his studio (1964).

A party at Leo Castelli's apartment in New York
Photo Ugo Mulas © Ugo Mulas Heirs. All rights reserved, Image Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery.

A party at Leo Castelli's apartment in New York (1964).

Robert Rauschenberg (1954)
Photo Ugo Mulas © Ugo Mulas Heirs. All rights reserved, Image Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery.

Robert Rauschenberg (1964-65).

Roy Lichtenstein (1964)
Photo Ugo Mulas © Ugo Mulas Heirs. All rights reserved, Image Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery.

Roy Lichtenstein (1964).