Alec Soth: Songbook
Sean Kelly Gallery, New York
Alec Soth, Bill, Sandusky, Ohio, 2012. ©Alec Soth, Courtesy Sean Kelly Gallery
In Sleeping by the Mississippi (2004) and Broken Manual (2013), Alec Soth tended to gravitate toward isolated individuals – outcasts or misfits who had gone off the grid in one way or another. In many ways, the individualism and self-sufficiency – and isolation – that were the subtexts of his pictures are conventionally American traits. But so is the notion of community, something Soth explores in his latest work, Songbook, on view at the Sean Kelly Gallery through March 14 (and at Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco and Weinstein Gallery in Minneapolis through April 4).
The work is a shift for Soth as well in his use of black and white instead of color. From 2011 to 2014, Soth and journalist Brad Zellar crisscrossed the country in the guise of small-town newspaper reporters to photograph social clubs, high school proms, football games, and beauty contests. Soth abandoned the tripod and view camera he had been using in order to capture scenes and moments quickly and unobtrusively, like the gay couple slow dancing at a prom in Cleveland, or the young man doing a heart-stopping back dive into a rocky watering hole in upstate New York. The black and white photographs give a nostalgic cast to some of the pictures: the genial, soft-shoe Bill, Sandusky, Ohio, was photographed in 2012, but he could have stepped out of the 1950s.
Alec Soth, Near Kaaterskill Falls, NY, 2012. ©Alec Soth, Courtesy Sean Kelly Gallery
Soth is a thoughtful photographer whose references are not accidental, from the Weegee-like flash of some of the photographs to his itinerant exploration of the country’s social fabric, recalling Walker Evans or Robert Frank. The title of the work suggests the mid-century America of the Great American Songbook, with its can-do, optimistic soundtrack by George Gershwin, Hoagy Carmichael, Irving Berlin, and Richard Rodgers.
It’s an optimism that occasionally falters. One photograph shows a solitary man making his way across the sun-blasted plaza of the Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California. It’s hard not to read it as a comment on the isolation of modern day society, despite our many Facebook “friends.” But Soth’s photographs of cowboys and couples and nondescript hotels are open to interpretation by design. Soth and Zellar originally published the photographs, along with Zellar’s text, in LBM Dispatches (so named for Soth's Little Brown Mushroom books) from each region they visited. For Songbook, Soth stripped away the narratives and let the images stand on their own. They speak of connection, alienation, poverty and community – telling a story as complex as the country itself.
— By Jean Dykstra 03/02/2015
Man Ray: Human Equations: A Journey from Mathematics to Shakespeare
Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.
Man Ray, Mathematical Object, 1934-35. ©Man Ray Trust / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York, ADAGP Paris
In Man Ray's own introduction to the series of paintings he named “The Shakespearean Equations,” he had the good and the bad sense to quote a friendly critic of his art: Andre Breton had warned Man Ray that by showing his pieces next to the mathematical objects that had inspired them, the art would risk seeing “its realization definitely outclassed.” Breton was right. You can't beat mathematics for stark beauty.
The most fascinating, uncanny objects in the exhibition Man Ray – Human Equations: A Journey From Mathematics to Shakespeare, at the Phillips Collection through May 10, are not the ones made by the artist but rather the mathematical objects that they're based on, models made out of white plaster, papier-mache, wood, thread, string, and metal, from the Institut Henri Poincaré in Paris. These models, made around 1900, are simply beautiful and, if you're not a mathematician, simply incomprehensible.
Here's the back-story: In the 1930s, Max Ernst encouraged Man Ray, a fellow Surrealist, to visit these models of mathematical equations at the Institut Poincaré. One of the models, a 3-D illustration of a “Kummer Surface with Eight Real Double Points,” for instance, is an arrangement of Jean-Arp-like shapes – conical objects with some flat facets and some curvaceous bites taken out of them. At first, Man Ray merely photographed the models, using dramatic lighting to bring out their angles, shadows, and grooves.
Man Ray, Shakespeare Equation, Twelfth Night, 1948. ©Man Ray Trust / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York, ADAGP Paris
But Man Ray went one step, sometimes two, too far. In the late 1940s, long after he'd left occupied France and moved to the United States, he revisited the photographs he'd taken in the 1930s and made paintings based on them – the “Human Equations.” And once he had finished the paintings, he gave some of them Shakespearean titles; these were his “Shakespearean Equations.” For instance, his painting based on the “Kummer Surface” model seems to show a tawny, flat-headed figure running with his arms thrown out; this becomes “King Lear.” For another painting based on a mathematical model, which resembles a man's starched shirt front with holes gouged out, he adds in the figure of an upside-down chair leg with a guilty-looking caster as a head; this becomes “Julius Caesar.” As Breton all but predicted, the comparison of gorgeous, uncanny mathematical models with Surrealist painting does Surrealist painting no favor at all.
— By Sarah Boxer 02/27/2015
ICP Announces Infitity Awards
The International Center of Photography has announced the recipients of its annual Infinity Awards: Graciela Iturbide will be recognized with the Cornell Capa Lifetime Achievement Award; the Art award goes to Larry Fink; and the award for Photojournalism goes to Tomas van Houtrvye. The award for best publication goes to LaToya Ruby Frazier’s The Notion of Family; the Young Photographer Award goes to Evgenia Arbugaeva, and the Trustee Award goes to The Lean-In Collection, by Getty Images and Leanin.org, a library of more than 4,500 creative images devoted to the powerful depiction of women, girls, families and the workplace.
A special award is being presented to fashion photographer Mario Testino.
For the first time this year, the ICP is presenting an award for New Media, which goes to Question Bridge: Black Males, an interactive work by Hank Willis Thomas, Chris Johnson, Bayette Ross Smith, Kamal Sinclair, and Jesse Williams. The awards will be presented at the ICP gala in New York City on April 30.
— By Jean Dykstra 02/27/2015
Hal Fischer: Gay Semiotics
Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles
Hal Fischer, from Gay Semiotics, 1977/2014. Courtesy Cherry and Martin Gallery
When Hal Fischer published his wry, straightforward Gay Semiotics photographs in 1977, he wrote an essay to accompany them. “Traditionally western societies have utilized signifiers for non-accessibility,” he explained, citing wedding and engagement rings. “Signs for availability simply do not exist.” But in gay culture, the reverse is true, he went on to say; such signs not only exist but are varied and nuanced.
His photographs, which he referred to as “research,” lay out such signs. In one image, two men in jeans, seen from behind, stand next to each other. Each has a handkerchief in his back pocket. Given that the image is black and white, you can’t tell red from blue, except that the text superimposed onto the image tells you which color is which. A blue handkerchief “signifies that the wearer will assume the active or traditional male role during sexual intercourse.” A red one signifies “behavior often regarded as deviant.” Of course, there’s also the possibility that a red handkerchief, or a blue one, could be used for “treatment of nasal discharge” and have no sexual significance at all.
Hal Fischer, from Gay Semiotics, 1977/2014. Courtesy Cherry and Martin Gallery
The handkerchief image and the rest of Fischer’s series are on view at Cherry and Martin Gallery through February 21, and it’s the first time the whole series has been seen together since 1977. A vitrine to the right of the door includes Fischer’s Gay Semiotics book and other ephemera related to the photographs he took in San Francisco, particularly the Castro District. On the wall, the photos hang in staggered groups, usually by category (Fischer had divided his images into groups: Signifiers, Archetypal Media Images, Fetishes, Street Fashions). Three Archetypal photos depicting leather and S & M stereotypes, hang in a line beside a cluster of three Fetish photos, including one of a man in a gag mask.
It’s funny how quickly these photographs, exhibited now, read as stylish and attractive. Think of Sarah Conaway’s recent pseudo-vintage black and white images of shoes tied up, or Ann Collier’s 2011 photograph of a 1972 appointment calendar laid out clinically against a white background: the minimal aesthetic of 1970s conceptual photography is itself a fetish, its deadpan directness signifying a certain kind of savvy.
But 40 years ago, Fischer was already poking fun at the apparent savvy of the minimal, descriptive imagery he was employing, and the deceptively deadpan texts are perhaps the best part of his project. Even with a guide to “signifiers” as clear as his, determining what other people want from each other remains impossibly mysterious. In reference to an image of a man with a mustache and stud in his left ear, Fischer wrote, the “stud is often adopted by non-homosexual men, thus making the earring the most subtle of homosexual signifiers. “
— By Catherine Wagley 02/17/2015
Simone Lueck: American Movie
Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles
Simone Lueck, Cree at Dairy Queen, 2014. Courtesy Kopeikin Gallery
When I was growing up, my mother used to tell a story about a beautiful navy pea coat that she wanted after seeing it in a catalog. She begged her own mother, who felt the coat would not be warm enough for Wisconsin winters. Finally, my mother won out. But when the coat came, it didn’t look the way it had in the pictures. It wasn’t warm enough, and in the cold, the fabric got hard, so wearing it was like walking around in cardboard. The lesson seemed to be: sometimes dreams don’t match reality, and there’s nothing you can do.
Simone Lueck’s exhibition at Kopeikin Gallery through February 26, American Movie, conjures that sort of story. It features people Lueck found through casting calls she held in different cities, asking people to pose as either specific icons or generic ones. In Berlin, she asked people to play Marlene Dietrich; in Atlanta, she asked for Scarlett O’Hara; in New York, she asked for buxom brunettes and blonde bombshells.
Simone Lueck, Casting Call for Cleopatra, 2014. Courtesy Kopeikin Gallery
Her unforgiving lighting seems better suited to a reality show, though, and the first thing you notice is how not-quite-right each figure is. Matthew, who responded to the Scarlett O’Hara call, wears a black wig and faux pearls over a vintage black dress with puffed sleeves and shoulders that drown his arms. He’s posed in harsh sunlight, and his wide, dramatic eyes pull at the heartstrings. But he seems all wrong, wearing that dress in that place.
Other photographers have used open calls for their work. When L.A.-based photographer Charlie White held a casting call for the ideal California teenage girl, it was unnerving how well the teens who responded fit themselves into the ideal of blond, sunny prettiness. Katy Grannan found subjects through classified ads and photographed them in intense California sun that threw their unconventionality into focus. The resulting images did not always seem kind, but Grannan allowed her subjects to be who they were.
Lueck’s images, on the other hand, emphasize what her actors are not. In an image of Cee, another Scarlett wannabe, sitting at a Dairy Queen, her big yellow hat makes it seem like she’s wandered away from a costume party. The show is effective in that way: it forces you to think about the gap between ideal and real. But it’s hard not to wish the gap were less glaring, because then maybe the images would feel more sensitive to each individual actor’s aspirations.
— By Catherine Wagley 02/13/2015
Brian Wallis Leaving ICP
Brian Wallis, deputy director of exhibitions and collections and chief curator at the International Center of Photography is leaving he organization at the end of the month.
Wallis joined ICP in 1999 and during his tenure, the museum has presented more than 150 exhibitions and acquired more than 20,000 photographs. His curatorial program has focused on contemporary photography while examining the history of photojournalism and documentary photography.
The many exhibitions Wallis curated at the ICP include Larry Clark (2005), America and the Tintype (2009), and Weegee: Murder is My Business (2012). He also co-curated Strangers: The First ICP Triennial of Photography and Video and was involved in the 2007 recovery of the Mexican Suitcase, a long-lost cache of 4,300 negatives made during the Spanish Civil War by Robert Capa, Gerda Taro, and Chim.
Wallis will work as a curator for the Walther Collection, where he is organizing The Order of Things: Photography from the Walther Collection, which will open at the Walther Collectin in Neu-Ulm/Burlafingen, Germany, in May.
— By Jean Dykstra 02/13/2015
Esko Männikkö: Time Flies
Yancey Richardson, New York
Esko Männikkö, Untitled, from the series Organized Freedom, 2013. Courtesy Yancey Richardson Gallery
To say that Esko Männikkö’s photographs are about dilapidation and ruin is true, but also a bit misleading. It suggests a certain bleakness, when in fact Männikkö's subjects are dilapidated in a riotous, effusive way. The mold on the hood of an abandoned car is an efflorescence of mossy blooms; the green peeling paint on a wall behind a tattered red chair is flaking off almost organically, like the room itself is shedding its skin. Time Flies, at Yancey Richardson Gallery through March 14, is less about decay than it is about nature’s ability to reclaim manmade things, to wrap them in its fertile embrace.
Things peel, tear, sink, erode, and rust in spectacular fashion and rich color in Männikkö's photographs, which nevertheless maintain an almost studied formal symmetry. He frames his subjects, whether a close up of a weathered face carved in marble or a view of a collapsed room, with clear intent. The bowed remnant of a bit of blue drywall in one image of a caved-in room, ceiling sagging and beams askew, or the graffiti version of Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring on a derelict brick wall, offer glimpses of beauty among the ruins.
Esko Männikkö, Sylvi?, 2001. Courtesy Yancey Richardson Gallery
Männikkö's use of light and color is not unlike that found in Vermeer and his peers. As he has in previous exhibitions, Männikkö mounts his photographs in rough-hewn hand-made wooden frames, which adds to their formality and to their painterly aspects and works against the traditions of social documentary photography. Although his photographs are rooted in the materiality of his subjects, they have plenty of metaphoric potential as well. Several works on view are from his series Blues Brothers, photographs of memorial statuary in which the faces of the deceased are partially eroded or disfigured by oxidation or weathering. It’s hard not to read into those images a message about the vanity of leaving a lasting mark and the folly of thinking anything lasts.
— By Jean Dykstra 02/06/2015
New Director for Paris Photo
Florence Bourgeois, formerly managing director of Pavilion of Art and Design, Paris and London, has been named the new director of Paris Photo and Paris Photo LA, scheduled for May 1 to 3. Christoph Wiesner, formerly senior director of Yvon Lambert, will be the artistic director. Julien Frydman, previously director of Paris Photo, had announced in December that he was leaving the post.
— By Jean Dykstra 02/06/2015
Visibility Machines: Harun Farocki and Trevor Paglen
Gallery 400, Chicago
Trevor Paglen, LACROSSE/ONYX V, near Cepheus (Synthetic Aperture Radar Reconnaissance Satellite, USA 182), 2008. Courtesy Galley 400
One of the first live-camera broadcasts from a missile was deployed (in tests only) by the Germans in 1942. Thus began the era of remote-control warfare, and the proliferation of a TV-based society. This factoid comes via Harun Farocki’s 2003 film War at a Distance, which re-packages several decades’ worth of bombing didactics in a video documentary about the evolution of imaging technology as a byproduct of the military industry. Three of Farocki’s critical films are paired with the drone surveillance photographs of Trevor Paglen in Visibility Machines at Gallery 400 (through March 14), a touring exhibition curated by Niels Van Tomme.
An air of espionage permeates the dimly lit exhibition, as if the whole thing were plucked from a government file. Closer to the truth is that both Farocki and Paglen relied on insiders and veterans to help them obtain their sources, such as the paths of orbiting drones (Paglen) or therapeutic video-games for post-traumatic soldiers (Farocki). Farocki and Paglen’s reverse-surveillance art seems a natural fit, although the artists did not meet until this exhibition was first convened in 2013 (before Farocki died, leaving behind a prolific film oeuvre).
Harun Farocki, Serious Games 4, A sun with no shadow, 2010. Courtesy Gallery 400
Paglen’s long-exposure The Other Night Sky series (2008–2013), of drone lights smeared across the night sky, can easily be mistaken for astral photography. His other images include sun-drenched pixels and highly zoomed views of military landscapes by moonlight—they are either bases or targets; the images are not very clear, but several are formally beautiful, perhaps incidentally.
If robots can kill, can they be artists, too? Not under the rubric that art be self-aware and critical. Instead, a well-designed, even creative, bombsite video plotted by computerized robots—what Farocki calls “operational images”—presented out of context (in an art gallery) compels a different sort of utility than that used by the military, for tactical images can be powerful in the hands of artists who flip them into grassroots propaganda, or art-activism.
The greatest service such images can perform for viewers is exposure to the virtual interface of combat. Although drones always seem to lurk in the background, an occasional encounter with the military sublime—that camouflaged wall of power—can drive civilian outrage and action.
— By Jason Foumberg 02/01/2015
Drew Sawyer at Columbus Museum of Art
Drew Sawyer has been named associate curator of photography at the Columbus Museum of Art. The Beaumont and Nancy Newhall Curatorial Fellow at the Museum of Modern Art, Sawyer is a PhD candidate at Columbia University. Sawyer has held curatorial positions at the Guggenheim and the Chazen Museum of Art. He’s working on upcoming exhibitions with Zoe Leonard and LaToya Ruby Frazier.
In addition David Stark has been named chief curator of the museum, and Ann Dumas has been named adjunct curator of European art.
— By Jean Dykstra 01/31/2015
Mark Klett: Camino del Diablo
Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York
Mark Klett, Abandoned Windmill, Bates Well, Cabeza Prieta, 2013. Courtesy Pace/MacGill Gallery
In 1870, a young mining engineer, Raphael Pumpelly, wrote Across America and Asia: Notes of a Five Years’ Journey Around the World, which included an account of his travels through Arizona’s Camino Del Diablo, or “The Road of the Devil.”
Nearly 150 years later, Mark Klett has approximated Pumpelly’s path, using the historical text as a rough guide for his own exploration of the landscape. In Camino del Diablo, on view at Pace/MacGill Gallery through February 21, past and present intersect, overlap and divert course, making for a fascinating study of time and its relationship with place.
Like many early adventurers in strange “new” lands, Pumpelly regarded the Camino – an unforgiving desert where conflict between white settlers, Mexican laborers, and Native Americans was common – with a mix of dread, excitement, and naiveté. In Klett’s photographs, which are presented alongside facsimiles of the book, he steps into Pumpelly’s shoes without getting too comfortable in them. He captures the spirit of the explorer’s dark, wide-eyed vision with a critical distance.
In his most literal interpretations of Pumpelly’s words, Klett captures some of the natural elements of the desert, including a rattlesnake, which Pumpelly called the desert’s “most powerful inhabitant,” and the saguaro cactus, whose “fluted” architecture Pumpelly compared to a Grecian column. In these images, the Camino seems ageless and changeless.
Mark Klett, Sign Explaining the History of the Camino del Diablo, with bullet holes, 2013. Courtesy Pace MacGill Gallery
But Klett’s work is perhaps most intriguing when it shows how the Camino of today – it now encompasses a U.S. military training ground and sees the movements of smugglers and illegal immigrants – mirrors its past. In photos of tire tracks and a blanket left by a passing immigrant, one sees parallels to Pumpelly’s record of inspecting “the sand for tracks, and every object within fifty yards for the lurking place of an Indian.” In a photo of an unexploded ordinance, one is reminded that violence still reigns in the desert.
But beauty, Klett insists, is just as pervasive as danger in the Camino, a notion he proves again and again. The dichotomy presents itself most clearly in a close-up of a sign explaining the place’s history. The sign is riddled with bullet holes, but one can see through them small glimpses of the stark, lovely mountains and sky beyond, a poignant indication that the desert, in all its contradictions, is an intriguing muse.
— By Jordan G. Teicher 01/31/2015
The Return to Reason
Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco
Stephen Gill, Talking to Ants, 2009-12. Courtesy Gallery Wendi Norris
At first glance, the works in Return to Reason, on view at Gallery Wendi Norris through February 28, compose yet another exhibition of conceptual, process-based photography. It features five artists who fabricate ephemeral objects to be photographed, generate low-tech visual effects in and out of the darkroom, and display their works in installation format. Such tactics pop up frequently in surveys of new photography, perhaps because they counteract the offhandedness of Instagram. This show, organized with Allie Haeusslein, associate director of Pier 24 , mines this increasingly familiar field, but with a particular thematic thread: the use of alternative processes to depict specific sites.
Titled after a 1923 experimental film by Man Ray, the show emphasizes process, yet each of the artists’ works evokes distant locations, both actual and constructed. This motif is most emphatically explored by the tropically hued panache of Lorenzo Vitturi’s mixed-media works, inspired by an East London market that caters to immigrants, with brightly colored Afro Caribbean produce and medicinal powders. He throws in varied strategies-- constructing edible arrangements for the camera, playing boldly with scale, displaying works on stacks of bricks, and placing vinyl texts and patterns on walls and floor. Despite some undercurrents of exoticization, it’s an insistent, ebullient presentation.
Hannah Whitaker, Difference Engine no. 1, 2014. Courtesy Gallery Wendi Norris
A calmer, dreamier vibe is evoked by the largest of Chloe Sells’s unique analogue C-prints. Katoyissiksi, 2014, is a vertical strip of photo paper with a doubled image of a tall pine in the Rocky Mountains augmented with ghostly photograms and rainbow-producing darkroom effects. Sells’s work resonates with a large piece by Hannah Whitaker, Difference Engine No. 1, 2014, an image of blue sky photographed with an angular paper cut out placed before the lens, so the images resembles a surrealist backgammon board. Yamini Nayar’s photographed constructions engage with architecture and sculptural practices, yet thematically the works seem a little stranded here.
Stephen Gill's assured square-format London streetscapes appear to be mixed-media works, but they are, in fact, single exposures, what the artist describes as “in-camera photograms.” Into the picture, Gill adds bits of refuse, toys, threads, broken glass, dust, rubber bands, objects that have been collected at the site and placed inside an apparatus attached to the front of his camera. The resulting images combine straight photography, the graphic quality of a photogram, and conceptually nuanced imagery of place. Like most of the works here, the sense of place is otherworldly, meandering wonderfully beyond reason.
— By Glen Helfand 01/30/2015
Gordon Parks: Segregation Story, High Museum of Art and Jackson Fine Art; Gordon Parks: American Champion, Arnika Dawkins Gallery
High Museum of Art, Atlanta
Gordon Parks, Department Store, Mobile, Alabama, 1956. ©The Gordon Parks Foundation. Courtesy High Museum of Art
Gordon Parks, who died in 2006, is having an Atlanta moment. Three shows of the artist’s works are concurrently on view – two that feature a groundbreaking series of images that Parks took while on assignment for Life magazine in 1956, and a third that focuses on photos of a young Muhammad Ali.
In 1956, Parks traveled to Shady Grove, Alabama, to document the lives of African-Americans living under the oppressive Jim Crow laws, specifically three generations of the Thornton family. Twenty-six of those images were published in Life that year; the rest were believed to have been lost until over 200 transparencies were discovered in the artist’s archives in 2012. A selection of 40 photos from the series is on view at the High Museum of Art in Segregation Story through June 7, and 28 of those are also at Jackson Fine Art through March 14.
The images are exceptional. Color film was not in wide use at the time, and Parks set out to show the humanity of his subjects rather than the headline-grabbing conflicts of the Civil Rights Movement that were the norm. In a 2012 piece on the New York Times blog Lens, art historian and critic Maurice Berger aptly described them as “radically prosaic.” The actual magazine spreads are displayed in a vitrine at the High (and in the catalogue), allowing for a comparison of Parks’s original compositions and the cropped versions that ran in the publication.
Gordon Parks, Untitled, Alabama, 1956. ©The Gordon Parks Foundation. Courtesy High Museum of Art
Parks was harassed and threatened during his week in Alabama, and the persecution of the family members who participated continued long after. The Thorntons’s daughter Allie Lee Causey, in particular, was targeted for her outspoken comments. She was fired from her teaching job and her husband ostracized; they and their children ultimately moved out of the state with $25,000 relocation assistance from Life.
A number of Parks’s already iconic images from the series are included – six children peering through the fence of an off-limits whites-only playground; a father getting ice cream for his kids from a fountain shop’s side window for “coloreds.” Two notable images from the cache found in 2012 are that of a woman and her niece standing under a “Colored Entrance” sign outside a movie theater and a photo of three kids standing side by side behind a barbed wire fence, two black boys brandishing very realistic toy guns and a white boy smiling at the camera. Another photo, of a stoic black nanny holding a white woman’s infant in a waiting area at the Atlanta airport, has resonated with viewers so much that New York Times Lens blog recently launched a public search to find out the identities of the two women.
The show at Arnika Dawkins Gallery (through March 27) centers on photos of a young Muhammad Ali – training, fighting, resting, traveling. We see him driving a convertible Cadillac in Miami, for instance, and greeting fans from his London hotel window. In two portraits, Ali wears his sweatshirt hood pulled over his head, as if post-workout. It’s a sight that, today, speaks not to hard work and excellence but to racial profiling and police brutality – a kind of segregation that persists, and not only in the South.
— By Stephanie Cash 01/27/2015
Gitterman Gallery, New York
Edmund Teske, Kenneth Anger, Topanga Canyon, 1954. ©Estate of Edmund Teske, courtesy Gitterman Gallery
Edmund Teske’s photographs seem to exist outside of any standard chronology. They include otherworldly, almost Victorian studies as well as portraits of such public figures as The Doors’ Jim Morrison. Perhaps because his work is so hard to pin down, Teske, who died in 1996, has floated largely under the radar. Despite museum shows, including Spirit into Matter organized at the Getty in 2004, his work has not found the same traction as that of, say, Robert Heinecken, friend and fellow photographic manipulator. So the elegant exhibition at Gitterman Gallery through January 24 is a rare opportunity to see Teske’s unique, painterly photographs, some never before exhibited.
Teske was born in Chicago but made his way to Hollywood and settled in with a fertile, creative group of friends, including the underground filmmaker Kenneth Anger, the subject of one toned, solarized, almost mythical image in the show, and the curator and museum director Walter Hopps, who appears in several others. Teske used collage, solarization, and toning to achieve a variety of affects – a landscape seeps into a portrait, time periods are compressed, leaves and trees engulf his human subjects, and streaks of umber stain the prints. It was Edward Steichen who labeled Teske’s process “duotone solarization.” In one untitled image from the 1970s, a pattern of steel grey and rust fans out across a nude male torso. A necessarily veiled homoeroticism runs throughout some of the prints, as well as a spiritual exploration centered on Hindu philosophy, which absorbed Teske after his move to California in the 1940s.
Edmund Teske, Mono Lake, California, 1971. ©Estate of Edmund Teske, courtesy Gitterman Gallery
Teske’s allegorical works can seem old-fashioned, but his lush, duotoned Mono Lake, 1971, could be a precursor to Matthew Brandt’s 2012 image of the same setting in his series Lakes and Resevoirs. Teske's aesthetic approach mirrored his philosophical ruminations: by combining and reusing images, he imagined time as a fluid, malleable entity. His photographs are the antithesis of the decisive moment; rather, they seem to fall through time, in a sort of dream state.
— By Jean Dykstra 01/20/2015
Classic Photographs Los Angeles
Josef Koudelka, Zehra, 1967. Courtesy Robert Koch Gallery
Los Angeles is the place to be this coming weekend, when close to 30 dealers of vintage, modern, and contemporary photographs gather at Bonham’s for the Classic Photographs LA fair. The fair, which runs January 17 and 18, includes tours led by Robert Flynn Johnsons, curator emeritus of the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and April M. Watson, curator of photography at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. In addition, photograph conservator Gawain Weaver will be available to consult with attendees at the fair about the condition of their photographs.
— By Jean Dykstra 01/12/2015
at Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.ICP Announces Infitity AwardsHal Fischer: Gay Semiotics
at Cherry and Martin, Los AngelesSimone Lueck: American Movie
at Kopeikin Gallery, Los AngelesBrian Wallis Leaving ICPEsko Männikkö: Time Flies
at Yancey Richardson, New YorkNew Director for Paris PhotoVisibility Machines: Harun Farocki and Trevor Paglen
at Gallery 400, Chicago
at Pace/MacGill Gallery, New YorkThe Return to Reason
at Gallery Wendi Norris, San FranciscoGordon Parks: Segregation Story, High Museum of Art and Jackson Fine Art; Gordon Parks: American Champion, Arnika Dawkins Gallery
at High Museum of Art, AtlantaEdmund Teske
at Gitterman Gallery, New YorkClassic Photographs Los AngelesLibrary of Congress Acquires Camilo José Vergara ArchivePhoto LA's 24th EditionThe Maine Photo Project Debuts this MonthEastman House on YouTubeSotheby's Denise Bethel Is Stepping Down
at Photo-Eye Gallery, Santa FePhil Stern, 1919-2014Arthur Leipzig, 1918-2014Eva Respini Moves to Boston's ICAMoMA Shows Thomas Walther CollectionArt Fairs in MiamiLorenzo Vitturi: Dalston Anatomy
at Yossi Milo Gallery, New York
at LACMA, Los AngelesLewis Baltz, 1945-2014Fahey/Klein Opens New SpaceRISC Benefit Auction Open NowOrit Raff: Priming
at Julie Saul Gallery, New YorkLucien Clergue, 1934-2014Sandro Miller: Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich: Homage to Photographic Masters
at Catherine Edelman Gallery, ChicagoParis Photo-Aperture PhotoBook AwardsSunil Gupta: Out and About: New York and New Delhi
at sepiaEYE, New YorkBuilder Levy: Photographer
at Arnika Dawkins Gallery, AtlantaMayumi Lake: Latent Heat
at Miyako Yoshinaga Gallery, New YorkSpecial Sale of Magnum PhotosNew Space for Foley GalleryJuan Fernando Herrán Win Prix Pictet CommissionMaurice Ortega to Head Curatorial Assistance
at Gitterman Gallery, New YorkHoward Greenberg / SteidlMagic on Earth: Jean-Claude Moschetti
at Mariane Ibrahim Gallery, SeattleBlind Spot | Griffin Editions Project SpaceShannon Ebner: Public Surface Pattern
at Altman Siegel Gallery, San FranciscoRuud van Empel: New Work
at Jackson Fine Art, AtlantaGetty Acquires Chris Killip PhotographsSamuel Fosso
at Walther Collection Project Space, New York
at Shoshana Wayne Gallery, Santa MonicaGuarapuava: Valdir Cruz
at Throckmorton Fine Art, New YorkICP to BoweryWhitney Museum Gets Major Photography GiftAmon Carter Museum Digitizes Trove of ArtworksClimate Week NYC at ICPFilter Photo FestivalRichard Mosse at Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary ArtErnest Cole: Photographer
at Grey Art Gallery, New YorkAugust Sander: Just Women / Jess T. Dugan: Every Breath We Drew
at Gallery Kayafas, Boston
at High Museum of Art, AtlantaWhere There's Smoke. John Gossage: Who Do You Love
at Fraenkel Gallery, San FranciscoAllan Sekula: Ship of Fools
at Christopher Grimes Gallery, Santa MonicaCantor Art Center Receives Warhol ArchiveJack Leigh: Full Circle, Low Country Photographs, 1972-2004
at SCAD Museum of Art, SavannahJosef Koudelka: Nationality Doubtful
at Art Institute of Chicago, ChicagoStephen Wirtz Gallery ClosingJustin Kimball: Where We Find Ourselves
at Carroll And Sons, BostonJacques Sonck: Archetypes
at L. Parker Stephenson Photographs, New YorkThe Invisible PhotographGetty Acquires Robert McElroy ArchiveOresick Joins Silver Eye CenterLiz Deschenes Awarded Rappaport PrizeNew Avedon AppBonjour Arles!Doug Hall: Bodies in Space
at Benrubi Gallery, New YorkCahiers d'Art Devoted to SugimotoPhoto Espana Prize Goes to Aitor Lara
at de Young Museum, San Francisco2014 Prix HSBC Awarded to Two PhotographersRudolf Kicken, 1947-2014"Biggest Photography Class in History"Puppies and PicturesDomesticated: Photographs by Amy Stein
at National Academy of Sciences, WashingtonSteel Stillman: Incidents, 1969-2014
at Show Room Gowanus, BrooklynCallahan Collection Donated to Vancouver Art GalleryBrandon Thibodeaux Wins Michael P. Smith GrantRoger Mayne, 1929-2014The Fence Goes on View in BrooklynKa-Man Tse Wins Robert Giard FellowshipMultiple Exposures: Jewelry and Photography / The Embroidered Image
at Museum of Arts and Design / Robert Mann Gallery, New YorkTim Barber: Relations
at Capricious 88, New York
at Boite Noire Gallery, West HollywoodSze Tsung Leong: Horizons
at Yossi Milo Gallery, New YorkPortland Art Museum Acquires Robert Adams PhotographsMichael Schmidt, 1945-2014Paul Anthony Smith: Mangos and Crab
at Carrie Secrist Gallery, ChicagoMichael Schmidt Wins Prix PictetJaimie Warren
at SF Camerawork, San FranciscoSymposium at Getty Celebrates 175th Anniversary of PhotographyZoe Leonard Receives Buckbaum AwardAndre Serrano Creates Public Art ProjectLuigi Ghirri: La Città
at Matthew Marks Gallery (LA), Los AngelesRichard Mosse Wins Deutsche Börse PrizePoetics of Light: Pinhole Photography
at New Mexico History Museum, Santa FePrix Pictet Finalists On View at V&ARichard Renaldi: Touching Strangers / This Grand ShowHillman Photography Initiative Explores Future of PhotographyWalking in Their ShoesMark Ruwedel Wins Scotiabank Photography Award
at Sous Les Etoiles Gallery, New YorkA New Space for Photo-EyeMaroesjka Lavigne: Island
at Robert Mann Gallery, New YorkGeorge Dureau, 1931-2014More AIPAD Picks from Elisabeth BiondiElisabeth Biondi's AIPAD PicksSarah Schmerler's Picks from AIPAD2014 Guggenheim FellowshipsLisa Sette RelocatingPhoto Eye: Avant-Garde Photography in Europe
at Museum of Fine Arts, BostonLower East Side Photo WalkRoe Ethridge: Sacrifice Your Body
at Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York
at Salon 94 Bowery, New YorkGetty Museum Acquires Tress PhotographsAmy Elkins Wins Aperture Portfolio PrizeMoutoussamy-Ashe Photos Go to SmithsonianWalead Beshty: Selected Bodies of Work
at Regen Projects, Los AngelesPublic Intimacy: Art and Other Ordinary Acts in South Africa
at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San FranciscoPrince/Cariou Case SettledDaniel Gordon Wins Paul Huf AwardNew Photo Gallery in WilliamsburgICP on the MoveNational Gallery of Art Receives Gift of PhotographsJamie Warren Wins Baum AwardChloe Dewe Mathews Wins Gardner FellowshipMatthew Pillsbury: Nate and Me
at Sasha Wolf Gallery, New YorkGetty Images Opens Up LibraryPaula McCartney: A Field Guide to Snow and Ice
at Klompching Gallery, BrooklynAmerican Cool
at National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.
at Block Museum of Art, EvanstonICP Announces Infinity Award WinnersOnward in PhillySamuel Fosso Photographs RescuedJ. Shimon & J. Lindemann: We Go From Where We Know
at John Michael Kohler Art Center, SheboyganJohn Stanmeyer Wins World Press Photo AwardNot Your Grandmother's LibrarianPatrick Nagatani: Outer and Inner: Contemplations on the Physical and the Spiritual
at Andrew Smith Gallery (annex), Santa FeNew Photo Gallery in BostonFred McDarrah: Save the Village
at Steven Kasher Gallery, New YorkJ.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere, 1930-2014Kevin Cooley and Phillip Andrew Lewis: Unexplored Territory
at Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles
at Guggenheim Museum, New YorkGetty Acquires Pictorialist PhotographsPeter Hujar: Love & Lust
at Fraenkel Gallery, San FranciscoChild Identified in 1908 Lewis Hine PhotoHeather Snider Joins SF CameraworkThe Sochi Project: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus
at DePaul Art Museum, ChicagoPhillip Prodger Joins London's National Portrait GalleryTanya Marcuse: Fallen
at Julie Saul Gallery, New YorkJoshua Chuang Joins CCPSophie Calle: Last Seen
at Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, BostonDanielle Durchslag: Relative Unknowns
at Denny Gallery, New YorkCarnegie Museum Founds Hillman Photography InitiativeSoo Kim Awarded Gutmann FellowshipSymposium on March on Washington
at Nailya Alexander Gallery, New YorkNelson Mandela, 1918 - 2013Sylvie Pénichon New Photo Conservator at Art InstituteICP Awarded Ford Foundation Grant for "Rise and Fall of Apartheid"Carson Fisk-Vittori
at Carrie Secrist Gallery, ChicagoAttention Photographers: Interested in the South of France this Summer?API Launches Online ExhibitionVivian Maier: Self-Portrait
at Howard Greenberg Gallery, New YorkDavid Vestal, 1924-2013Danny Custodio: Trees
at Gallery Kayafas, BostonBarry Friedman RetiringMeet Me in MiamiThomas Demand: Dailies
at Matthew Marks Gallery (526), New YorkChuck Mobley Leaving SF CameraworkCatherine Evans Named Chief Curator of the Carnegie Museum of Art
at Gagosian Gallery (Mad Ave), New YorkSaul Leiter, 1923-2013Maine Philanthropists Give Collection to Portland Museum of ArtDaniel Morel Wins Suit Against Getty Images/AFPSean McFarland: Glass Mountains
at Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San FranciscoJohn Divola: As Far As I Could get
at Santa Barbara Museum of Art, LACMA, Pomona Museum of Art,Eileen Quinlan: Curtains
at Miguel Abreu Gallery, New YorkICP Names New Executive DirectorClarence John Laughlin Award AnnouncedPrix Pictet Shortlist AnnouncedAnd the Winner Is ....Libération's Powerful Homage to PhotographyTanja Hollander: The Landscapes of Are You Really My Friend?
at Carroll And Sons, BostonWar/Photography: Images of Armed Conflict and its Aftermath
at Brooklyn Museum of Art, BrooklynLisa Hostetler to Eastman HouseDispatched to TexasFinding Vivian MaierQueens Museum Reopens with Photos by Jeff Chien-Hsing LiaoNew E-Book from Library of CongressHello, Goodbye
at Leila Heller Gallery, New YorkDeborah Turbeville, 1932-2013ICP Celebrates Robert Capa's CentenaryOf Walking
at Museum of Contemporary Photography, ChicagoHere is New YorkPolly Borland: You
at PK Shop, New YorkExhibition Showcases Martin Weinstein's CollectionThey Are Us: Animal Identity and the Anthropomorphic Urge
at Rick Wester Fine Art, New YorkRoxana Marcoci Named Senior Curator at MoMAMuseum of Fine Arts, Houston, Acquires Manfred Heiting Photo Book CollectionDocumerica Looks BackMatthew Porter: Greet the Dust
at M+B Gallery, Los AngelesGeorge Tice: 60 Years of Photography
at Nailya Alexander Gallery, New York
at Edwynn Houk Gallery, New YorkCarrie Mae Weems Is a MacArthur GeniusWe Shall: Photographs by Paul D'Amato
at DePaul Art Museum, ChicagoShe Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World
at Museum of Fine Arts, BostonMalcolm Daniel Heading to TexasRyan McGinley: Yearbook
at Ratio 3, San FranciscoBrian Sholis Joins Cincinnati Art MuseumPieter Hugo: Kin
at Yossi Milo Gallery, New YorkAdieu to Le Journal de la PhotographieNadia Sablin Wins Firecracker Photography AwardGetty Acquires Baltz Archive
at Hosfelt Gallery, San FranciscoParty Picks: Estate of Jimmy DeSana
at Salon 94 Bowery, New YorkIn The Studio
at John Messinger, East HamptonThat Which Is: Marcia Lippman
at KMR Arts, Washington DepotBen Lifson, 1941-2013Jan Banning: Down and Out in the South
at Hagedorn Foundation Gallery, AtlantaTom Wood: Men and Women
at Thomas Erben Gallery, New YorkFrom the Ground Up: The Tent Camera Photographs of Abelardo Morell
at Stephen Daiter Gallery, ChicagoPortion Control: Chrisopher Boffoli
at Winston Wächter Fine Art, New York
at James Harris Gallery, SeattleA Different Kind of Order: The International Center of Photography Triennial
at International Center of Photography, New YorkJR / Jose Parla, Wrinkles of the City, Havana Cuba
at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, New York
at Carroll And Sons, BostonJapan's Modern Divide: Photographs by Hiroshi Hamaya and Kansuke Yamamoto
at Getty Center, Los AngelesMichael Jang: The Jangs
at Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San FranciscoDavid Levinthal: War Games
at Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.Mike Brodie's Period of Juvenile ProsperitySpectator Sports
at Museum of Contemporary Photography, ChicagoJoshua Lutz: Hesitating Beauty
at ClampArt, New York
at Museum of Modern Art, New YorkIwan Baan: The Way We Live
at Perry Rubenstein Gallery, Los AngelesSuburbia
at Hagedorn Foundation Gallery, AtlantaJulie Weitz
at The Suburban, Oak ParkArmory Show 2013
at Armory Show, New YorkScope New York 2013
at SCOPE New York, New YorkADAA Art Show 2013
at ADAA Art Show, New YorkShooting Stars: Publicity Stills from Early Hollywood and Portraits by Andy Warhol
at Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
at G. Gibson Gallery, SeattleMiles Barth Joins ArtnetThe Unphotographable
at Fraenkel Gallery, San FranciscoKatrina del Mar: Girls Girls Girls
at Participant, Inc., New YorkRobin Rhode: Take Your Mind off the Street
at Lehmann Maupin (Chelsea), New YorkArne Svenson: The Neighbors
at Western Project, Culver City
at Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New YorkBeat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg
at Grey Art Gallery, New YorkKatherine Bussard Named Curator at
Princeton Art MuseumCatherine Wagner: trans/literate.
at Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San FranciscoKarl Baden: Roadside Attractions
at Miller Yezerski Gallery, BostonViviane Sassen on ViewJanuary is for Hot ShotsRichard Pare: The Lost Vanguard: Soviet Modernist Architecture, 1922–32
at Graham Foundation, Chicago
at Metropolitan Museum of Art, New YorkIdris Khan: New Photographs
at Fraenkel Gallery, San FranciscoJessica Eaton: Polytopes
at M+B Gallery, Los AngelesNadav Kander: Yangtze: The Long River
at Flowers, New YorkOri Gersht: History Repeating
at Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, BostonAttachments
at The Hole, New York1979:1—2012:21: Jan Tichy Works with the MoCP Collection
at Museum of Contemporary Photography, ChicagoBonni Benrubi, 1953-2012