Photography exhibit takes a closer look at Tony Bennett
by Lisa A. Fraser
Sep 22, 2011 | 3922 views | 0 0 comments | 44 44 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Photo Credit: Kelsey Bennett
Astoria’s musical son and Grammy-award winning artist, Tony Bennett will be featured in a photography exhibit, Portrait of an Artist, at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in SoHo, which runs through October 9.

Based on images shot by up-and-coming New York City-based photographer and Bennett’s granddaughter, Kelsey Bennett, the exhibition coincides with the release of his new album, “Duets II,” which features artists such as Aretha Franklin, Lady Gaga, Amy Whinehouse, Willie Nelson and K.D Lang.

As well as featuring iconic portraits of Bennett with each of his duet partners, the exhibition will give the viewer an intimate glimpse into the life of Tony Bennett on the road, recording, painting, as well as visiting his ancestral town of Calabria in Italy.

The intimate collection of photographs reveals a family’s dedication to a life immersed in art.  With a striking inimitable style, the photographs reveal a side to these artists that are often unseen. 

And it only helps that Tony Bennett is the photographer’s grandfather, which makes the warmth reflected in each portrait even easier to capture.

“Kelsey was with us all the time taking photographs in the studio and during quiet moments. She always had her camera up against her face, checking for shots, so I even sketched her like that,” Bennett said in a press release. “Kelsey has a wonderful energy and creative spirit that shows up so beautifully in her photographs.”

Kelsey Bennett is a graduate of The School of Visual Arts for Photography and Parsons School of Design.  In 2010, Bennett had her first and critically acclaimed solo exhibition in New York City at The Christopher Henry Gallery, Hypnogogia.

Her second solo show, On The Lam, soon followed, hailed as a compelling visual autobiography of Bennett’s ongoing exploration of her own identity and a documentation of the collective desire to escape ordinary life.  In July 2011, she held her second exhibition at The Christopher Henry Gallery, Black Velvet: The Godfather of Soul, the story of a James Brown impersonator.

Photographs by Josh Cheuse will also be showcased.

By the time Cheuse was sixteen years old he was photographing bands in the New York City nightclubs that would soon become his second home. 

Since 1993, Cheuse has been an art director at Sony Music, creating packaging and websites for artists including Bob Dylan, Run-DMC, Rod Stewart and Tony Bennett, while still finding time to go on the road to photograph favorite groups like Oasis, The Black Crowes, and MGMT.  His first book of photography, “Rockers Galore” (Stussy Books), was published in 2007 and he has exhibited in Moscow, Tokyo, Paris, and at The Brooklyn Museum.

In 2006, Tony Bennett released “Duets: An American Classic” to mass acclaim.

The album included performances with Paul McCartney, Elton John, Barbra Streisand, Bono and others. It won three Grammy Awards.

“Duets II,” is garnering heavy buzz and includes a roster of diverse artists including Lady Gaga, Andrea Bocelli, Willie Nelson, Aretha Franklin, Carrie Underwood, and Amy Winehouse among others. The new album was recorded live in the studio with Tony performing side by side with his duet partners.

“What I’ve discovered in collaborating with these very talented young, contemporary artists on “Duets II” is that the young artists really enjoy singing these wonderfully crafted songs that constitute the American Songbook,” said Bennett. “It has been a personal and professional thrill to collaborate with the artists and to know that a new generation has an opportunity to experience these songs.”

The show will run at the gallery’s 124 Prince Street location through October 9. For more information, on Kelsey Benett, visit or kelseybennett.com. For more information on the exhibit, visit morrisonhotelgallery.com.
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