Gail Albert Halaban, Itallian Views
Gail Albert Halaban’s new series Italian Views — with an accompanying monograph from Aperture (2019) — extends the photographer’s Out My Window project to the cities of Venice, Rome, Naples, Palermo, Florence, Lucca, and Milan, collaborating with pairs of neighbors in these cities to create visual short stories that the viewer is invited to write for herself.
Halaban, who lives and works in New York, began photographing when she was 6, when she made a camera for her first grade science fair. Her art explores the tension between public and private life, what is seen by all, and what is hidden. The series Out My Window is a collection of images taken through and into windows in New York City, a project that earned her international recognition in 2012 and which she continued in 2014 with Vís a Vís Paris’ haunting exploration of that city’s windows, and now with Italian Views. In these Hitchcock-ian tableaus, she acknowledges unspoken voyeurism and exhibitionism, tells us to admit we all do it, and then pushes us to confront the hope, isolation and other emotions that lie behind the gaze. As Francine Prose notes in her foreword to Italian Views, Halaban’s photographs allow us “to consider, more dispassionately and lucidly than if we were actually spying, what it means to witness a moment in the private lives of strangers.”