New York comes to Northbridge this weekend when the Art Gallery of WA opens its latest instalment of treasures on loan from the city's famous Museum of Modern Art.

Picturing New York is a comprehensive slice of the city that never sleeps as seen through the eyes of some of the most renowned photographers of the 20th century.

The exhibition follows the Art Gallery's successful Picasso to Warhol show last year, which attracted more than 100,000 visitors.

More than 150 photographs from 1888 to 2005 have been selected by the New York museum's curator of photography Sarah Meister, who is in Perth for the launch.

"I hope that people get to enjoy not only pictures of the built environment, of the skyscrapers, from the skyscraper, of the parks, of the streets, but also of the people of New York, and come away with a sense of the life of the city, of the rhythm of the city as well as the way it looks physically," she said.

While selecting the pictures for the show from her museum's more than 25,000-strong collection was difficult, Ms Meister said she felt confident she included the best possible and showed both the iconic and idiosyncratic side of New York.

"What people will take away is that there are a million different ways of picturing New York just like there are a million different impressions that you can get from being in the city," she said. "Many of these pictures speak to our common cultural consciousness - you almost know these pictures just like you might feel like you know New York."

Those include images by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Alfred Stieglitz, Berenice Abbott and Diane Arbus, and a commission by Michael Wesely, who used one exposure over three years to capture construction of the museum's new wing.

Picturing New York: Photographs from the Museum of Modern Art opens on Saturday.

The West Australian

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