Monday, January 23, 2017

The Power of Art - Jane Hirshfield writes...

 

In the course of talking to photographer and friend Lynn Alleva Lilley about her upcoming book Tender Mint, Lynn mentioned her use of a poem by Jane Hirshfield. I was reminded that I have Hirshfield's wonderful book Ten Windows - How Great Poems Transform the World. Poetry and photography share many attributes, most notably their ability to say something quite profound and moving from something so simple.

Hirshfield writes: Why ask art into a life at all, if not to be transformed and enlarged by its presence and mysterious means? Some hunger for "more" is in us - more range, more depth, more feeling, more associative freedom, more beauty. More perplexity and more friction of interest. More prismatic grief and un-stunted delight, more longing, more darkness. More saturation and permeability in knowing our own existence as also the existence of others. More capacity to be astonished. Art adds to the sum of the lives we would have, were it possible to live without it. And by changing selves, one by one, art changes the outer world that selves create and share. 

Although Jane Hirshfield in Ten Windows Investigates the power of poetry to move and change us, her writing is also about how art, how photography works.

Jane Hirshfield's Ten Windows is a must in any artist's library. Here's a link to Amazon.

Jane Hirshfield is the author of eight books of poetry, including The Beauty; Come, Thief; After; and Given Sugar, Given Salt. She has edited and cotranslated four books presenting the work of poets from the past and is the author of two major collections of essays, Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry and Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World. Her books have been finalists for the National Book Critics Circle Award and England’s T. S. Eliot Prize; they have been named best books of the year by The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Amazon, and Financial Times; and they have won the California Book Award, the Poetry Center Book Award, and the Donald Hall–Jane Kenyon Prize in American Poetry. Hirshfield has received fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Academy of American Poets. Her poems appear in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Times Literary Supplement, Poetry, The New Republic, and eight editions of The Best American Poetry. A resident of Northern California since 1974, she is a current chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Lewis Baltz at Fundacion MAPFRE, Madrid

 

If you happen to be in Madrid between February 9 and end of June be sure not miss the opportunity to see the retrospective of American photographer Lewis Baltz at Madrid's Fundacion MAPFRE. Curated by Urs Stahel, this is the first exhibition of Baltz's work in Spain, as well as the first international retrospective to take place since his death in 2014.

Lewis Baltz (Newport Beach, California, 1945 - Paris, 2014) is one of the most important photographers of the second half of the 20th century. Traditionally, his work has been associated with the generation of photographers that came together for the New Topographics exhibition, which questioned the concept of the landscape as beautiful, existential and almost sacred, and showed it as it really was, as a result of the almost always unfortunate intervention of mankind.

Baltz viewed the landscape as an urbanized, structured and populated space, and portrayed these constructions as being muted and virtually faceless. For him, natural scenery had become landscape as real estate, where the countryside and the city were worth exactly the same in monetary terms and, just like a surveyor, he measured it step by step and recorded it in his pictures.

With around 400 exhibits, the show presents and discusses the entire range of Lewis Baltz's work, from his first photographic series in black and white taken in the 60s and 70s such as The Prototypes Works, The Tract Houses and The New Industrial Parks near Irvine, California, up to the work in color and the exploration of new artistic languages of his later years like Ronde de Nuit, The Deaths in Newport and Venezia Marghera.

Lewis Baltz in conversation: Urbanism (and all contemporary life) is the objectification of power. Power is an ideology in itself. With the addendum: The rest is spectacle.

Lewis Baltz: Monterey, from the series The Prototype Works, 1967

You can go to the Fundacion MAPFRE website HERE. The exhibition is supported by a 320 page catalogue published by Steidl.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Diane Arbus - in the beginning at SF MoMA


Woman with white gloves and pocket book, NYC 1956

diane arbus: in the beginning considers the first seven years of the photographer’s career, from 1956 to 1962. A lifelong New Yorker, Arbus found the city and its citizens an endlessly rich subject for her art. Working in Times Square, the Lower East Side, and Coney Island, she made some of the most powerful portraits of the twentieth century, training her lens on the pedestrians and performers she encountered there. This exhibition highlights her early and enduring interest in the subject matter that would come to define her as an artist. It also reveals the artist’s evolution from a 35mm format to the now instantly recognizable and widely imitated look of the square format she adopted in 1962. Bringing together over 100 photographs from this formative period, many on display for the first time, diane arbus: in the beginning offers fresh insights into the distinctive vision of this iconic American photographer.

This is a wonderfully intimate and highly personal show. Small prints depicting small anarchies, a way of looking that Arbus made all her own.

The exhibition opens at San Francisco MoMA this Saturday January 21st and runs until April 30. This exhibition was organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Fire Eater at a carnival, Palisades Park, NJ, 1957

Lady on a bus, NYC, 1957

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Marian Goodman, Paris - opens bookstore in rue du Temple


Marian Goodman Bookshop - Paris
 
Next Tuesday January 24, New York’s Marian Goodman Gallery will open a second Paris space which will house exhibitions and a bookstore. Located at 66 rue du Temple in the city’s Marais district the new space significantly expands Goodman’s Paris presence. The bookstore at the new address will offer a selection of books, exhibition catalogues, printed matter and artist's editions. The store is situated almost opposite the dealer’s other gallery at 79 rue du Temple. The original gallery is inside the Hôtel de Montmor, a 17th-century hotel particulier. It has occupied that space since 1999.

The other Parisian gallery bookshop that is always worth a visit is the Yvon Lambert Booshop. The bookshop opened in 2001 and is managed by Bruno who has excellent taste. They present a selection of art books, exhibition catalogues, artists books, rare and out of print books, limited edition prints, posters, DVDs, CDs, t-shirts and art objects. Well worth a visit at 108 rue Vieille du Temple in the Marais. You can check out their website HERE. Although the Yvon Lambert Gallery closed a couple of years ago the bookstore is a reminder of the importance of M. Lambert in the International art scene.



Last but not least is the Pompidou Center bookstore. With around 10,000 titles and no less than 300 art magazines and reviews Flammarion is one of the best bookstores for modern art, architecture and design plus an incredible selection of photobooks.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Photo London announces 2017 exhibitors

 

The third edition of Photo London will be presented at Somerset House, May 18 to 21st. The list of exhibitors is now available to view on line HERE.

Photo London was created to give London an international photography event befitting the city’s status as a global cultural capital. Now in its third year, Photo London has established itself as a world-class photography fair and as a catalyst for London’s dynamic photography community. From the capital’s major museums, to its auction houses, galleries large and small, right into the burgeoning creative communities in the East End and South London, Photo London harnesses the city’s outstanding creative talent and brings the world’s leading photographers, curators, exhibitors, dealers and the public to celebrate photography, the medium of our time. 

Along with the selection of the world’s leading galleries showing at the Fair, Photo London presents the Discovery section for the most exciting emerging galleries and artists; there is an original Public Programme bringing together special exhibitions, installations, a curated programme of talks and presentations by publishers. Each edition of the Fair also sees a number of Awards announced, headlined by the Photo London Master of Photography, Photo London Residency Unlimited Award and the Magnum Photos Graduate Photographers Award. Hosted awards include the Kraszna-Krausz Book Awards and the MACK First Book Award. Beyond the Fair, Photo London regularly hosts Pre-Fair Talks and related events engaging with the craft, market and knowledge of photography. 





Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Lewis Baltz - the consummate artist and intellectual


Harvey Benge - Lewis Baltz, Paris 2006

Recently I came across a photobook I made in 2008, portraits of the people I met in Europe over a 3 month period in 2006. I was using film and everybody had just one frame to shoot. They shot me and I shot them. The book was called I LOOK AT YOU, YOU LOOK AT ME.
Among the people I photographed was Lewis Baltz. We'd taken coffee at Le Fumoir my favorite Parisian cafe just off the Rue de Rivoli. As an aside I'd asked Lewis if he'd liked to come and do a workshop here in Auckland. Without hesitation he said yes.

Rediscovering my book made me realize how the days, years have disappeared and how we have aged. In Lewis' case, died. Seeing his picture reminded me of this quietly modest rock of a man, the maker of such simple powerful images and with an intellect of razor sharp acuity. He is sorely missed. 

Here are some Lewis Baltz quotations that I think capture his spirit:

I think being a photographer is a little like being a whore: if you’re really really good at it, nobody will call you that. 

 I assumed from the outset that photography was already art, and that I and other people working in photography were artists. I understand now that this was a minority point of view. 

I used photography to distance myself from a world that I loathed and was powerless to improve. 

 I wanted [my photography] to appear as though the camera was seeing by itself. 

 …the questioning of the photograph in its relation to the reality, the interrogation of representation, the famous crisis of representation, really all took place before digital technology. Digital technology, you see, is not the villain here. 

The ideal photographic document would appear to be without author or art. 

 ...you don’t put an object in a museum because it’s beautiful; an object is beautiful because you put it in a museum. Everything is photogenic once it has been photographed.

I believed it was necessary to investigate photography, dismantle it, jettison all the non-essential components, and begin again with a stripped down but more powerful idea of what is, or could be “photographic.” 

Lewis Baltz - Harvey Benge, Paris 2006

Monday, January 16, 2017

Joel Sternfeld - a photograph is only a fragment of a shattered pot...


McLean, Virginia, December 1978

In this weeks the guardian art weekly Sean O'Hagan talks to Joel Sternfeld. Sternfeld’s images are often not quite what they seem. Called McLean, Virginia, 1978, that shot of the fireman, the pumpkins and the burning house is indeed a record of an actual event he witnessed, but the blaze is part of a training exercise from which the fireman is taking a break. “You take 35 degrees out of 360 degrees and call it a photo,” he told the Guardian in 2004. “No individual photo explains anything. That’s what makes photography such a wonderful and problematic medium.” Today, he reiterates that sentiment: “A photograph is only a fragment of a shattered pot.”
For all his epic undertakings, Sternfeld’s work remains relatively under-exhibited. “Again, I have been too busy making work to show it that much.” he says, “but for me, the best place to see the images is in the books.” Was he influenced by any great photography books along the way? “No. I didn’t care about photobooks.” he says matter-of-factly. “I thought most photographers were idiots.” Can he elaborate? “Well, it often seemed to me that some beautiful, magical things could be happening in the world and they were too busy fumbling with their lenses to see it. There are exceptions, of course. I’ve never seen a Robert Adams photograph that hasn’t amazed me, but my point is you need to look out to the world.”

Sternfeld has a show Joel Sternfeld, Colour Photographs: 1977-1988 at Beetles + Huxley, London, 27 January to 18 February. The exhibition features 30 vintage dye transfer and chromogenic prints, the exhibition will include well known images by the artist as well as works that have never been seen before.
The exhibition will showcase several examples of vintage dye transfer prints from one of Sternfeld's best-known bodies of work, "American Prospects". Sternfeld traversed the United States with his 8 x 10 inch camera, in order to capture the essential character of the country. First exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York and then published in book form in 1987, "American Prospects" is regarded as one of the most influential bodies of photographic work from this period.

You can read the complete O'Hagan interview HERE. And take a moment to check out the guardian art weekly HERE.

Red Rock State Campground (boy), Gallup, New Mexico, September 1982

Canyon Country, California, June 1983