Saturday, February 6, 2016

Peter Fischli David Weiss: How to Work Better - at the Guggenheim NYC


From 1979 to 2012, Swiss artists Peter Fischli (b. 1952) and David Weiss (1946–2012) collaborated on a body of work that offers a deceptively casual meditation on how we perceive everyday life. Through a witty “misuse” of cultural genres—from low-budget Hollywood movies and picture-postcard views to the art historical notion of the readymade—they transformed the ordinary into something decisively not.

Never ones to issue statements or dictate meaning, Fischli and Weiss pondered questions great and small, sometimes imitating whimsical philosophers. Perhaps in part because they were a team of two, they challenged the idea of dualism, a cornerstone of Western thought. In one way or another, everything the artists produced playfully unravels what they understood to be “popular opposites”—labor versus leisure, fiction versus reality, kitsch versus beauty, and the banal versus the sublime, among others. Fischli and Weiss undid false divisions with the conviction that bewilderment itself might be a desirable state. They aimed to confuse hierarchies and values by creating systems doomed to fail and found beauty in states of imminent collapse.

This retrospective brings together over three hundred sculptures, photographs, videos, and installations to form the most complete overview of the artists’ work to date. The presentation is not organized chronologically—instead, selections from each of Fischli and Weiss’s major series appear alongside works from other points in their career, creating dialogues that span the pair’s history of working together. This arrangement reflects the overlapping structure of their production and underscores the coherence of their diverse oeuvre. In this way, the exhibition encapsulates their collaboration, bringing into focus the incisive conversation the two artists sustained for thirty-three years.

Initially planned during David Weiss’s lifetime, Peter Fischli David Weiss: How to Work Better is organized by Nancy Spector, Deputy Director and Jennifer and David Stockman Chief Curator, and Nat Trotman, Curator, Performance and Media, in close collaboration with Peter Fischli.

To coincide with this exhibition, two public works by Fischli and Weiss will appear on the streets of New York. From February 5 to May 1, Public Art Fund presents the text-based monument to labor How to Work Better (1991) as a wall mural at the corner of Houston and Mott Streets. At 11:57 pm nightly throughout February, the video Büsi (Kitty) (2001) will appear in Times Square as part of Times Square Arts’ Midnight Moment program.

The exhibition opens at the Guggenheim February 5 and runs until April 27.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Photographers whose work I like - No29/ Betsy Schneider


Arizona based photographer and educator Betsy Schneider talks about her drive for intensity, beauty and complexity in her work. Schneider's photographs have all these qualities and more. Why? Simply because her pictures are profoundly authentic and come from a place in her heart and head where her own life experience openly informs the work. There is no shred of artifice here, or clever masquerading as intelligent.

Schneider says this: I make photos. I make videos. I make dinner for my kids. I feel guilty about my carbon footprint but it doesn’t stop me from driving too much. I can’t sit still. I am told I complain too much but it is really hot in Arizona. I like to juggle the soccer ball on the sidelines of my kids’ games. I like to rave to my students about my newest TV obsessions. I like to read my students Facebook status updates to see what absurdly hyperbolic statement I have made in class. Hyperbole aside, I believe deeply in the importance of art in making our lives rich and complex and for keeping us in touch with our humanity. 

Betsy Schneider received a BA from the University of Michigan in 1987, a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1990 and an MFA from Mills College in Oakland, California in 1997. Before attending graduate school, she lived in Prague for a year and was a live-in assistant to Sally Mann. After graduate school she spent four years living and working in London, England, where she taught photography and English. She also lived a year in Trondheim, Norway. In 2002 she joined the School of Art faculty at Arizona State University where she currently a tenured Associate Professor.  She divides her time between Tempe, Arizona and Sharon, Massachusetts.

I've posted here a selection of images from Betsy Schneider's project Triskaidekaphobia.
This series is a collection of images, videos and words from thirteen-year-olds, coming together to provide a portrait of early adolescence in 2012.

You can see more of Betsy Schneider's work on her website HERE.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

LA ART BOOK FAIR - February 11 to 14, 2016


Printed Matter presents the fourth annual LA Art Book Fair, from February 11 – 14, 2016, at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. A preview will be held on the evening of Thursday
February 11, 2016, from 6 to 9 pm, at Geffen Contemporary.

With exhibitors from 24 or more counties, these particular participants caught my eye:

Remote Photobooks distributes selected photobooks and photo-related publications from both established and emerging photographers and independent publishers in New Zealand. Founded by Anita Tótha and based in Auckland, New Zealand. 

SUPER LABO is a Kamakura (Japan) based independent publishing house focused on contemporary photograph. Founded in 2009 in Tokyo by Yasunori Hoki. 

Perimeter is a bookstore, publisher and distributor from Melbourne, Australia, with an interest in contemporary photography, art, design and architecture, and their interface with the printed form.

Mörel Books is a London-based independent publisher specializing in affordable limited edition art books and zines. Working with established artists alongside new and upcoming talents, our books are made in close collaboration with the artist, reducing the distance between the artist’s vision and that of the viewer. Many of our books can be purchased with limited edition prints. 

You can go to the LA ART BOOK FAIR website HERE.

Monday, February 1, 2016

PHOTOBOOK NEW ZEALAND - a book fair celebrating independant and small press photographers' books


The premier edition of PHOTOBOOK NEW ZEALAND takes place over three days in March, the 11th to 13th, and will be presented in Wellington at Massey University's College of Creative Arts.

With panel discussions and presentations by luminaries such as Daniel Boetker-Smith, Ron Brownson, Jonty Valentine, Catherine Griffiths, Neil Pardington, Bruce Connew, Becky Nunes and Anita Tótha - there are more than enough reasons to head to Wellington (one of my favorite and most loved cities) for this top event.

There is also the New Zealand Photobook of the Year Awards presented by Photobook New Zealand and Momento Pro, established to support excellence in self-published and trade published photo books. There is still time to enter before 8 Feb 2016.

You can find the full program HERE. See you in Wellington!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

ASIA-PACIFIC PHOTOBOOK ARCHIVE at Photographers' Gallery, London Saturday February 6


If you happen to be in London on Saturday February 6, head over to The Photographers' Gallery where between 2 and 4pm you can see and discover a collection of photobooks fresh from south of the equator. Assembled under the banner of The ASIA-PACIFIC PHOTOBOOK ARCHIVE the collection was founded by the remarkable Melbourne based photographer and photo educator Daniel Boetker-Smith. Dan will be present to take you through the archive.

The ASIA-PACIFIC PHOTOBOOK ARCHIVE is a traveling library of self-published and trade photobooks that promotes and features work only from the Asia-Pacific region. The Archive is a not-for-profit organisation that exists to help spread the word about the wealth of important and original work coming out of the region.The collection travels internationally each year to festivals, fairs and exhibitions showcasing the vast array of books it has accumulated since starting in 2013. All of the books in its collection are featured on their website with direct links to the publishers and/or photographer/s. The Archive also has a permanent space, open to the public, in Melbourne, Australia.


Friday, January 29, 2016

Ida Pimenoff - Book of Hours

Ida Pimenoff's small but perfectly formed book-work Book of Hours arrived in my mailbox today, thank you Ida. The book engages the reader's head and heart, not only with the demands of its questions but through its honest authenticity. There is no cleverness here, no striving for effect for effects sake. The book pulls you back through its text and images with thoughts and ideas that resonate with ones own life experience. What's more, the book has an almost diaristic feel and a pleasant tactility with its mellow off-white paper stock and Swiss binding.

Kehrer the publisher say this: Book of Hours is the third photobook by Finnish photographer Ida Pimenoff. In her new work, Pimenoff combines images of everyday life with text: short pieces of fiction, random thoughts, memories. The main theme of the new book is time; the strange paradox that although days, in all their banality, often follow each other in a predictable manner, every single moment is unique. There is no going back. While the work deals with the passing of time, it also deals with memories (both light and dark), dreams, wishes, longing and loss. The title of the book, which refers to old, medieval, illustrated prayer books, wants to make the viewer pause for a moment, meditate on the mystery of life. Why are we here? What for? Who am I? And: where am I going? 

These simple words at then end of Ida's book struck a note with me:

This is me:
I made this book; these images and these words.
I wanted them to look as much like me as I could.
So that you could see me, and maybe, then,
I could see you too.

You can have a look at more of Ida Pimenoff's work on her web site HERE.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Classic Photographs at SWANN Auction Galleries NYC, February 25


When you think of auction houses one tends to employ tunnel vision and think only of Christie's and Sotheby's. But there are more contenders out there that are well worth a look.
SWANN Auction Galleries NYC for example. I'm on their snail mail mailing list and their auction - Art and Storytelling: Photographs and Photobooks scheduled for February 25 caught my eye and is well worth a look. You can flip through the e-catalogue HERE. Below are some of the treats on offer.

What strikes me is how inexpensive many of the works are. OK, Kertész and Cartier-Bresson and many of the photographers working in the early to mid 20th Century never editioned their prints. None-the-less US$5,000 - 7,500 for a signed copy of Kertész's Chez Mondrian photograph seems and incredible bargain.