Though all the images on display in Photographs 1984-2014 by Peter Arnell at Manhattan's Milk Gallery are black and white, their contents couldn’t be more different. Outtakes from erotic fashion campaigns hang next to blurred New York City skylines. There are high-contrast photos of city crosswalks; a series of geishas in repose; close-ups of clothing out of context; the World Trade Center before and after tragedy; and a large selection dedicated to showcasing women’s feet. (In fact, Arnell’s fascination with feet has its own book.)
But then, Arnell’s show at Milk isn’t your typical retrospective. The artist is better known as an advertising and design guru and this is the public’s first chance to peek behind the curtain and glimpse a few quiet moments of the respected—and profitable—businessman, whose agency closed last year after three decades of working with brands like Donna Karan, Chrysler, PepsiCo and HomeDepot.