Photojournalist extraordinaire Arthur Fellig aka Weegee earned his fame shooting magnificent, gruesome crime scenes and New York City life of the ’30s and ’40s. In 1947, he relocated to Hollywood, instantly forming a dislike for all things celebrity. He was prolific. He was disdainful. He distorted his paparazzi shot of Marilyn Monroe, turning up her nose into a snout. His shots of crowds at movie premieres echoed his iconic Their First Murder, a photograph of children ravenous for a gawk at a homicide victim. He shot the dream-filled urban landscape, the glitter-smothered aspiring-movie-star go-go dancers, Hollywood’s behind-the-scenes and… Hollywood’s behinds. It was a love-hate kind of fetish.
Before moving back to “civilization” (aka New York City) in 1957, Weegee had amassed quite the zeitgeisty LA oeuvre. Now on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles through February 27, here are some of these artifacts, courtesy of MOCA, the International Center of Photography and the Matthew Marks Gallery of New York.