Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute

A photo by Alexander Movshovich.



New York— Where the Energy Manifests Beauty

“New York – Where the Energy Manifests Beauty,” is an exhibition of 22 photographs by Alexander Movshovich curated by Regina Khidekel. These are bold images of New York City—places we probably never visit, and likely, would have a hard time finding. Old bridges, railway arches and building towers are mixed with a cunning array of panoramic images of the Manhattan skyline, and a whimsical appearance of the Verrazano Bridge drowned in the fog. The cascade of images reveals to us the interplay between urban texture, light, clouds, water and snow—a glimpse of a city we rarely see.

These powerful images of iron megastractures are reminiscent of the industrial revolution, illustrating a unique history of a city that is distinct from the old world perception of beauty that we see in traditional urban ensembles and classical proportions—an aesthetic familiar to the Russians among us.

However, sharp compositional techniques and shortcomings remind us of constructivist photography which makes these images play both sides—post-industrial brutalism and the Russian avant-garde tradition. Energy is the ultimate manifestation of New York’s unique beauty, and these sometimes monstrous structures sharply delineate the differences between this city and the rest of the world.


About the Author


Alexander Movshovich was born in Moscow in 1955 into a family of medical doctors. Following the family tradition, he graduated from Moscow Medical School in 1978 and soon earned his Ph.D. Since 1991, he has lived in the U.S., pursuing a career as a scientist and physician. In his own words, he “was able to realize his fascination with images only a few years ago.” Since his “passion burst into photography,” he has “never left [his] camera at home.” The extraordinary progress Alexander Movshovich made in photography over such a short time is very promising for the artist, for whom “the past is a memory and the future is a dream.”

This exhibit is part of an ongoing collaboration between the Russian American Cultural Center and the Harriman Institute. We aim to create a mosaic of historical and artistic events related to the Russian artistic and cultural landscapes, as well as to enhance the development of Russian American culture in the U.S.