Goings On About Town: Art

by Vince Aletti

Jill Freedman

The New Yorker


Even if you wouldn’t be caught dead under the big top, these circus photographs are not to be missed. Taken in 1971, when Freedman went on the road for two months with the Clyde Beatty–Cole Brothers Circus, her pictures go behind the scenes, where the clowns are off duty. The mood is hushed and a little melancholy, but the work never feels sappy; Freedman (who later photographed New York cops on the job) is sympathetic but clear-eyed. Some of the toughest yet most tender focus on elephants—chained at the foot, crammed into trucks barely large enough for their enormous bulk. Here, they’re unsung heroes. Through March 9.