The Philadelphia Museum of Art presents an inside look at the tough and unsentimental world of boxing—including Philadelphia’s Blue Horizon gym—through the photographs of Larry Fink. Widely recognized as one of this country’s greatest photographers, in Larry Fink: The Boxing Photographs (August 11, 2018–January 1, 2019, Levy Gallery, Perelman Building) Fink captures the subculture of boxing through its champions and challengers, its ambition-fueled gyms and rowdy rings and overheated atmospheres of locker rooms, as well as the many fascinating people—among them coaches, trainers, mothers, fathers, girlfriends, and spectators—who populate this world. This focused exhibition of about 80 gelatin silver prints celebrates a promised gift of the only complete set of Fink’s boxing photographs, including many that have never been published.
(This exhibition of photographs by Larry Fink is drawn from the promised gift of 250 works to the Philadelphia Museum of Art by Anthony T. Podesta.)
Acknowledged by Sports Illustrated as the “last great boxing venue in the country,” the Blue Horizon was located at 1314 N. Broad Street in Philadelphia. From November 1961 when it opened until its close in June 2010, it was the site of many famous international, regional, and local fights, including some fictional fights that appeared in the movie Rocky V (1990). The building still stands today.
Fink’s fascination with boxing was borne out of an assignment in 1986 to photograph sportsman Jimmy Jacobs, who was also the manager of the world heavyweight champion at the time. Firing at maximum shutter speed, Fink learned how to move quickly and easily around the boxers, capturing fleeting moments of the agony, glory, shock, and satisfaction involved in amateur and professional bouts. He would continue to document boxers, gyms, and matches around the country through 2004. The works selected for display are from the artist’s intensive eighteen-year study. Continue reading