Monday, March 30, 2015

John Baldessari - what makes him one of the most important artists working today?

John Baldessari - Noses & Ears, Etc: Couple and Man with Gun, 2007

A piece on this mornings Artspace mailing opens up the subject of John Baldessari's practice and his unforgivingly humorous art.

Today, Baldessari is considered one of the fathers of Conceptual art—not only for the influence of his art, but also for his four decades as a leading instructor at CalArts and UCLA—and he remains one of the most well-respected artists alive. He was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale in 2009. His 2010 retrospective organized by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art traveled to New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. He was the first contemporary artist to have his own iPhone app. There’s even been a short documentary made about him that was narrated by Tom Waits. 

You can read the full article HERE.

John Baldessari - Man, Dog (Blue), Canoe/Shark Fins (One Yellow), Capsized Boat, 2002

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Kassel FotoBookFestival 2015, portfolio and book reviews


The 7th FotoBookFestival in Kassel, 4-7th June, again offers professional and emerging photographers the chance to meet with international photography experts for Portfolio+Book Review sessions on Thursday 4th June 2015 from 9.30 am. The reviews will take place at the documenta-Halle in Kassel, which is the Festival venue from Friday 5th to Sunday 7th June. Participants are asked you to get to know this year’s panel of 25 internationally acclaimed reviewers – museum and festival curators, book publishers, photography critics, photographers – and make your choice of 3 meetings as soon as possible. To attend more than 3 meetings, it's just a matter of registering 2, 3 or 4 times. Registration deadline is midnight on May 24th.

The panel of reviewers are:
Valentina ABENAVOLI, Alex BOCCHETTO - Publisher, Akina Books, London
Irène ATTINGER -  Library and bookshop, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris
Gerry BADGER - Photographer, Writer, Critic, London
Harvey BENGE - Photographer, Writer, Auckland
Pierre BESSARD - Publisher, Editions Bessard, Paris
Krzysztof CANDROWICZ - Director, Triennial of Photography Hamburg + Lodz Festival
Chiara CAPODICI -  Curator, Treterzi, Rome
Nicolas Combarro -  Artist and Master’s Tutor, Madrid
Fannie Escoulen - independent curator and formerly deputy director of LE BAL, Paris
Verónica FIEIRAS -  Publisher, Riot Books, Spain
Angel Luis GONZALES FERNANDEZ -  Director, PhotoIreland Festival, Dublin
Curt HOLTZ -  Head of Photography, Prestel Publishing, Germany
Ikin HUSEYNOV - Publisher, Riot Books, Spain
Manik KATYAL -  Founder & Editor-in-Chief, Emaho Magazine, India
Klaus KEHRER - Director, KEHRER Publishing, Germany
Erik KESSELS - Artist, Curator and Director of KesselsKramer Publishing, Netherlands
Aron MOREL - Publisher, Mörel Books, London
Andreas MÜLLER POHLE - Photographer, Publisher, European Photography, Berlin
Moritz NEUMÜLLER - Independant curator, Madrid
Alison NORDSTROM - Artistic Director, Lodz Photofestival
Monte PACKHAM - Publisher, Steidl, Germany
Fiore PINNA - Curator, Treterzi, Rome
Andre PRINCIPE - Photographer, Publisher, Pierre von Kleist editions, Lisbon
Hannes WANDERER - Publisher, Bookseller, Peperoni Books / 25books, Berlin

You can find out more HERE.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Opportunity for Intern in my Auckland studio

Harvey's studio now

This post is aimed at photography students based in Auckland. I'm looking for an intern who would be keen to help me get some order in my archive. Basically working together to sort things out  - files, trannies, scans, prints and bookworks. You may be a student at Unitec, AUT, Whitecliffe or Elam and naturally with a passion for photography and art in general.
In return I will tell you everything I know.

If this opportunity sounds like fun drop me an email at: and we could make a time to talk more about it over a coffee. 

Harvey's studio how he'd like it

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mark Power - a print to help in Vanuatu

Mark Power - The Nakamal. Ionannen, Tanna, Vanuatu. 06/1989

To help the emergency appeal for funds to deal with the recent devastation in Vanuatu photographer Mark Power is generously offering a series of six different prints. These are photographs Mark made in Vanuatu in 1989 / 89.

Mark says this: Six days ago Cyclone Pam ripped through the Pacific archipelago of Vanuatu. Contact has yet to be made with some of the more remote islands so the full extent of the damage remains unknown, but there have been deaths, and many survivors have been found drinking seawater. President Baldwin Lonsdale has said his country would have to 'rebuild everything'. In 1988 and 1989 I spent six months in Vanuatu, having many adventures and taking a few photographs along the way. It remains one of the happiest and most memorable periods of my life. With your help I'm trying to raise £10,000 for the emergency appeal by offering for sale six different prints, each in an edition of 30, made in Vanuatu all those years ago. Beautifully printed on 14” x 11” Ilford Gallerie fibre based paper by LabLab in Krakow, Poland, the prints are just £65 each, plus post and packing. This exclusive offer will be on a strictly first come, first served basis and 100% of the profit will be send directly to the appeal. Each print will be signed, numbered, stamped and captioned on the back. The offer remains open for 14 days, or until all the prints sell, whichever is sooner. They will be made and shipped at the end of the sale. Please help! 

You can find full details HERE. But be quick these prints will sell out fast.
100% of the profits will be sent to the Care International Vanuatu Emergency Appeal.

While you are at it take a moment to have a look at some of Mark Power's work on his website HERE. If you don't know his work, you should. Mark is an an amazing photographer. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

NEW BOOKWORK - Any Lonely Person Write to Ponsonby

The photographs in this series - Any Lonely Person Write to Ponsonby - were made in the early years of the 1970’s. At that time I exposed over 200 rolls of black and white film around the inner Auckland suburbs of Parnell, Freemans Bay and Ponsonby. Also in Auckland’s central city. The period predated the rush of urban revitalization and gentrification that we see in Auckland today.

The image of the cactus was made in Warkworth, a small town north of Auckland. Its sad spikey message resonated for me then as it still does today. The other photographs in the series were chosen to capture the feeling of central Auckland as it was over 40 years ago and to speak to the bizarre thought of lonely people writing and perhaps coming to Ponsonby.

There are  20 photographs in this work. The photobook is 234mm x 180mm, 28 pages printed on 120gsm stock with a separate 350gsm gloss laminated cover. Black and white throughout. The edition is limited to 50 copies, each signed and numbered.

Copies can be obtained directly from me at:
Prices are, €25 / £20 / US$30 / NZ$38 and AU$38, this includes packing and postage. For payment you can simply log on to my PayPal account using my email address above.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

e-flux conversations


The essential art and curatorial news digest e-flux presents a new platform: e-flux conversations.

They describe conversations - Think the perfect blend of blog and message board, to host the most urgent artistic conversations of the day. Using a hybrid editorial model, this open forum allows for participation from any user as well as specialized discussion moderated by a rotating cast of invited contributors. We want to be the place where a Beijing art student can chat with Charles Esche.Is your social media feed drunk on likes? Did Big Brother kick you off Facebook for posting medieval torture paintings? Do 140 characters leave you unfulfilled? Us, too. That's why we built e-flux conversations—a new platform dedicated to in-depth discussions of urgent artistic and social ideas.

Scrolling through the current offerings on conversations, there is material as diverse as - Capitalism is draining the earth, and occupy isn't going to fix it / On claims of Radicality in Contemporary Art / MoMA's "Björk problem" is a MoMA leadership problem and more...

I was struck by a particular piece, contributed by karenarchey - Why are we ascribing competitive models to art and exhibitions? 
The writer comments: Now that it's early January and the holiday season has dwindled into a plain old winter vortex, I'm back at my desk, hungover from the gigantic amount of "best of" and "predictions for 2015" listicles that have been written in the last few weeks. Did anyone actually read any of these? While writing year-in-review texts has been a perennial form for critics for decades, it seems in recent years--with the rise of online art news platforms--that hastily written "top 10" articles have started to dominate art writing. I can understand why a journalist would be drawn to using this form. Listicles and best-of lists are easy to understand and fast to read and garner a lot of page views (which in turn generates ad revenue). But, being an art writer myself, I know that these articles are oftentimes written to give shout-outs to colleagues and friends, and rarely represent exhaustive research, despite they're oftentimes confused as such.

How do these competitive models effect the way we think about art? I think that it's human to get caught up thinking about who is the "best" at something (the best young female ceramic artist from New Zealand or the best new cave painter etc.), but I also would hope it's our task as cultural producers to think outside of normal systems of valuation and judgment that these competitive lists perpetuate.

Of course my immediate thought was of the increasingly endless lists of best photobooks that appear before Christmas every year. Their importance or lack of and why so many average books get attention they don't deserve.

You can go to e-flux conversations HERE. And the e-flux site HERE.  And while you are at it why not subscribe to e-flux mailings, they are the best art fix around.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Duane Michals at DC Moore NYC

Duane photographs Anthony Red (image 5/5). 2015

Running until March 21st the DC Moore Gallery in New York presents the exhibition Duane Michals: The Portraitist, a selection of new work in which Michals' reinvigorates the possibilities of portraiture through the innovative use of sequencing, reflections, multiple exposures, overpainting, and handwritten annotations.

The black-and-white photographs on view were developed from never-before-printed negatives that Michals exposed in the course of his career. His subjects include artist Jasper Johns, photographer Art Kane, actress Hildegard Knef, and singer Barbra Streisand. A selection of earlier portraits, including those of Balthus, Bertha and Charles Burchfield, Joseph Cornell, and René Magritte, provides context for the recent work. As the variety of poses, settings, viewpoints, and formats in these images demonstrates, Michals adapts the style of each portrait to the individual, thereby eschewing any formula that speaks more to photographer than sitter.

Wary of the commonplaces of portraiture, Michals rejects the notion of “looking at people with the pretentions of looking into them.” He has developed an alternative approach, which he terms “prose portraiture.” Rather than recording a physical likeness, he works to “suggest the atmosphere of the sitter’s identity, which is the sum total of who they are … A prose portrait might require three or four photographs to reveal something about what the sitter does in life that defines him or her. A face does not necessarily need to be seen; most people’s significance won’t be found there.” Michals further disrupts expectations by intervening on the surface with annotations often conveying his impressions of a person via witty or poetic commentary scrawled onto the print.

Further, a major retrospective, Storyteller: The Photographs of Duane Michals, organized by the Carnegie Museum of Art and presented there in the fall of 2014, is traveling to the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem. It will be on view there from March 14 through June 21, 2015. A monograph, published by Prestel with essays by Linda Benedict-Jones, Allen Ellenzweig, Marah Gubar, Max Kozloff, and Aaron Schuman, accompanies the exhibition. The Monacelli Press released the publication ABCDuane: A Duane Michals Primer in 2014. Michals’ first solo museum exhibition was at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 1970. His work belongs to numerous permanent collections in the U.S. and abroad, including the Israel Museum, Jerusalem; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Moderna Museet, Stockholm; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto; and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Duane Michals - Funny Girl, (detail) 1962/2015