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Madonna Returns to Lower East Side in New Photography Exhibit

By Elizabeth Barber | April 12, 2013 7:04am

TIMES SQUARE — Before Madonna was a material girl, she was a Lower East Side girl.

Seven street-style photographs taken of the singer decades before she skyrocketed to fame are going on display in a new exhibit at the W Hotel in Times Square.

The collection, which is part of a traveling exhibition stopping at W hotels around the world, includes never-before-seen photos of Madonna that were shot more than three decades ago, when photographer Richard Corman happened on the burgeoning songstress outside her Lower East Side apartment.

The exhibit, called “MADONNA: A Transformation Exhibition,” shows the singer a year before the release of her first album, when she was 24-year-old Madonna Louise Ciccone, a Downtown singer looking to make it big. In them, Madonna looks like a woman on the verge of fame, with all the charisma and edgy, self-styled prettiness that would go on to captivate the world.

In one photo, Madonna, dressed in a white T-shirt and ripped jeans slung with chains, dances with a neighborhood boy on a rooftop. In another, she lounges casually in an alleyway’s gritty rubble, her wrists and neck heavily adorned with pearls and spiky bracelets, and her lips painted the aggressive red that would later become her trademark.

The exhibit, curated by Rock Paper Photo, opened Thursday night with a private party at the W Hotel in Times Square, 1567 Broadway. The show is free and open to the public until May 12.

Other photographs from the collection will also be on view at other W Hotels in the city during the same dates, and a limited selection of photos will be available for purchase.