Studio 54 gets top billing at the Nordic Museum's exhibition of Hasse Persson's photography, and while the shots of that über-trendy and exclusive New York nightclub are fascinating, the real highlights may be the "Beyond" material, which the museum has placed in the first part of the exhibit. A Swede working in the United States during one of the country's most turbulent cultural and political eras (roughly 1968 to 1980), Persson insinuated himself into some highly evocative situations. His black-and-white shots of major cultural and political figures include Muhammad Ali, Coretta Scott King, Bob Dylan, Jesse Jackson, and Richard Nixon. (Nixon is captured in a caustically funny triptych.) The Coretta Scott King photo is particularly striking: It features Martin Luther King Jr.'s widow speaking to her daughter... while the latter points a toy gun in her mother's direction and a painting of MLK hangs in the background. Another highlight is the 1973 photo of the World Trade Center in which a bird eerily flies next to the building and over the church that abutted it, inducing a premonitory chill.
by Chase Burns
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