is an American photographer
A writer is a person who produces literature, such as novels, short stories, plays, screenplays, poetry, or other literary art. Skilled writers are able to use language to portray ideas and images....
. Born in 1922, he grew up in the Bronx
The Bronx is the northernmost of the five boroughs of New York City. It is also known as Bronx County, the last of the 62 counties of New York State to be incorporated...
and then served as a navigator
A navigator is the person on board a ship or aircraft responsible for its navigation. The navigator's primary responsibility is to be aware of ship or aircraft position at all times. Responsibilities include planning the journey, advising the Captain or aircraft Commander of estimated timing to...
in the U.S. Army Air Forces
The United States Army Air Forces was the military aviation arm of the United States of America during and immediately after World War II, and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force....
in World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...
, during which he flew 52 bomber missions http://www.wttw.com/main.taf?p=1,7,1,1,47
. Shay joined the staff of Life magazine
Life generally refers to three American magazines:*A humor and general interest magazine published from 1883 to 1936. Time founder Henry Luce bought the magazine in 1936 solely so that he could acquire the rights to its name....
, and quickly became a Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...
-based freelance photographer for Life
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...
, Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated is an American sports media company owned by media conglomerate Time Warner. Its self titled magazine has over 3.5 million subscribers and is read by 23 million adults each week, including over 18 million men. It was the first magazine with circulation over one million to win the...
and other national publications. He photographed seven US Presidents and many major figures of the twentieth century. Shay also wrote weekly columns for various newspapers, several plays, children's books, sports instruction books and several photo essay books. Shay's photography is sold at galleries and is in permanent collections of major museums including the National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery is an art gallery in Washington, D.C., administered by the Smithsonian Institution. Its collections focus on images of famous individual Americans.-Building:...
and The Art Institute of Chicagohttp://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/artwork/artist/3362
Shay's long friendship with the writer Nelson Algren
Nelson Algren was an American writer.-Early life:Algren was born Nelson Ahlgren Abraham in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Goldie and Gerson Abraham. At the age of three he moved with his parents to Chicago, Illinois where they lived in a working-class, immigrant neighborhood on the South Side...
led to the publication of Shay's Nelson Algren's Chicago.
Shay and Algren met in 1949 and collaborated on many projects, including photos and an essay for Holiday Magazine that Algren later turned into his book Chicago, City on the Make
Chicago: City on the Make is an essay by Nelson Algren published in 1951. Initially greeted with scorn by critics and newspaper editors in the city of its gaze , it is now widely regarded by scholars as the definitive prose portrait of the city of Chicago, although it has never rivaled the literary...
. Shay took well-known pictures of Simone de Beauvoir
Simone-Ernestine-Lucie-Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir, often shortened to Simone de Beauvoir , was a French existentialist philosopher, public intellectual, and social theorist. She wrote novels, essays, biographies, an autobiography in several volumes, and monographs on philosophy, politics, and...
(nude and portrait) when she visited Chicago to be with Algren http://www.stephendaitergallery.com/dynamic/artwork_display.asp?ArtworkID=808
. Shay wrote a play about Algren's triangle relationship with de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre
Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre was a French existentialist philosopher, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary critic. He was one of the leading figures in 20th century French philosophy, particularly Marxism, and was one of the key figures in literary...
which had a stage reading in Chicago in 1999. Another collection of Shay's work with Nelson Algren is featured in Shay's 2007 Book Chicago's Nelson Algren
published by Seven Stories Press
Seven Stories Press is an independent publishing company. Located in New York City, the company was founded by editor Dan Simon in 1995 after he parted company with Four Walls Eight Windows. The company was named for its seven founding authors: Annie Ernaux, Gary Null, the estate of Nelson Algren,...
. The upcoming documentary by Montrose Pictures Algren--The Movie
will feature over 100 new Algren images from Shay's collection. http://montrosepictures.com/
Shay has published more than 75 books on various subjects. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Shay wrote two series of photography illustrated children's books published by Reilly & Lee
The Reilly and Britton Company, or Reilly & Britton was an American publishing company of the early and middle 20th century, famous as the publisher of the works of L. Frank Baum.-Founding:...
. Shay's What It's Like to Be A ..
series of books explained various occupations including a doctor, fireman, pilot, policeman, nurse, teacher, dentist, musician and a TV producer. Shay's What Happens.
. series of books explained concepts such as what happens when you build a house, spend money, turn on a light and turn on the gas. Other books in Shay's "What Happens.." series included what happens at the zoo, at a gas station, at a newspaper, at an animal hospital, at the circus, in a skyscraper, at the state fair and at a weather station. In 2002, The University of Illinois Press published Shay's photographic essays, Animals,
and in 2003, Couples
Shay's play titled A Clock for Nikita
was produced and ran at the Stagelight Theater in 1964. Shay's 2000 autobiography is titled Album for an Age: Unconventional Words and Pictures from the 20th Century.
In 2002, the American Theater Company in Chicago staged Shay's autobiographical play, Where Have You Gone, Jimmy Stewart?
, directed by Mike Nussbaum
Michael Nussbaum is an American actor and director.From the start of his acting career in the 1950s, Nussbaum has appeared in many of David Mamet's plays both on and off Broadway, as well as in Chicago...
In 2007, Shay had his first major retrospective of his black and white photographs which ran for six months at the Chicago History Museum: "The Essential Art Shay: Selected Photographs." http://www.chicagohistory.org/askart
In 2008, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago is a contemporary art museum near Water Tower Place in downtown Chicago in Cook County, Illinois, United States. The museum, which was established in 1967, is one of the world's largest contemporary art venues...
held an exhibit of photographs titled Art Shay: Chicago Accent
which included pieces from between 1949 and 1968 of Shay's work while working with Algren of Chicago's "underclass."http://www.mcachicago.org/exhibitions/exh_detail.php?id=203
In 2010, Chicago's Thomas Master's Gallery featured Shay's first show of exclusively his color photography "Art Shay: True Colors." http://chicagotonight.wttw.com/2010/02/10/photojournalist-art-shay http://neotericart.com/2010/01/14/art-review-—-art-shays-true-color-by-jeffery-mcnary/#comments
Since the opening in 1976 of Northbrook Court
Northbrook Court is a large, upscale Super-regional Mall in Northbrook, Illinois. The mall is one of the most upscale collection of shops in the midwest, and even the nation. Located on its three current anchor stores are Lord & Taylor, Macy's, and Neiman Marcus...
Mall in Northbrook, Illinois, Shay has been chronicling life at the mall. Shay is also working on a project on the life of Smashing Pumpkin's Billy Corgan
William Patrick "Billy" Corgan, Jr. is an American singer, songwriter, guitarist and occasional poet best known as the frontman and sole permanent member of The Smashing Pumpkins. Formed by Corgan and guitarist James Iha in Chicago, Illinois in 1987, the band quickly gained steam with the...
. Since the end of 2010, Shay has been writing a weekly photography blog "From the Vault of Art Shay" on Chicagoist. http://chicagoist.com/tags/fromthevaultofartshay