“Joseph Rodriguez: TAXI” at the Galerie Bene Taschen (12 June – 31 July 2021)
New York in the ‘70s and ‘80s – Joseph Rodriguez sits behind the wheel of his taxi. During his shifts, he created his first photographic works, documenting everyday life from the perspective of a worker on the job. TAXI: Journey Through My Windows 1977 – 1987 takes viewers back 30 years to the past of the most famous metropolis in the world.
From his taxi, Rodriguez begins to capture the moments whizzing by with his camera. He goes from Manhattan to the Bronx, from Queens to New Jersey, from Brooklyn to Staten Island, from Downtown to Uptown, from the Meatpacking District to the East Village, and back to Midtown Manhattan. During his shifts as a “traveling flaneur” he also witnesses the darker sides of life on the street.
His routes are unpredictable, as are the encounters that become his motifs. The taxi driver’s gaze sees prostitutes waiting for customers, homeless people begging for a few cents, and the dreary facades of buildings that reach for the sky. Houses and cars fly by in the rearview and side mirrors; at the red light, a father pushes a stroller across the street. A peek into the back seat of the cab reveals his passengers: depending on the time of day or night, they could be well-heeled Upper East Siders, partygoers out on the town, or families en route to Sunday Mass.
Like the 1976 film classic Taxi Driver, Rodriguez captures the pulsating life of New York City in his images. Both these works – the feature film and the photographs – also bear witness to the fascinating aura of taxi drivers, who, in turn, use their cars as silent observation posts. Rodriguez’s photographs convey the emotional complexity of the people he meets, and serve as a pinhole for the stories and insights jotted down in his diary. His images can be seen in the exhibition as silver gelatin prints.
For Rodriguez, who was once a self described drug addict and criminal, photography saved his life.
About Bene Taschen Gallery
Founded in 2011 in Cologne, Bene Taschen Gallery represents some of the world’s leading artists in contemporary photography and painting. The gallery promotes its international artists through regular participation in major art fairs, such as Paris Photo and Art Cologne, as well as through its extensive exhibition program. In 2011 Bene Taschen Gallery debuted with LA-based photographer Gregory Bojorquez. In 2013, the gallery began collaborating with New York-based photographer Joseph Rodriguez. Acclaimed Berlinbased photographer Miron Zownir joined the gallery’s roster in 2014, which expanded in 2015 to include Jamel Shabazz and Arlene Gottfried, both New York-based photographers. Since fall 2017, the gallery has been pleased to represent New York-based photographer Jeff Mermelstein and German painter Charlotte Trossbach. Since Fall/Winter 2019, the gallery has been working with renowned photographers Sebastião Salgado and Larry Fink.
Joseph Rodriguez – TAXI
Opening: Friday, 11 June 2021, 1 – 9 pm
Saturday, 12 June 2021, 11 am – 6 pm
Duration: 12 June – 31 July 2021 (by appointment only)
Location: GALERIE BENE TASCHEN, Moltkestrasse 81, 50674 Cologne
© Joseph Rodriguez courtesy Galerie Bene Taschen