Whitney In Memoriam
I had the good fortune of photographing Whitney 3 times. The first for Rolling Stone, the 2nd for Mitsubishi, the 3rd for her album cover Be Your Baby Tonight. Whitney was good to me; while negotiating my fee for the album cover the record company was low balling me. It was late Friday afternoon, the shoot was scheduled to start at 6:00 am the following morning. I was summoned to Arista’s offices, they wanted me to reduce my fee or they threatened to cancel the shoot. I recall the record executive telling me they never paid so much for an album cover to which I replied that Avedon shot a cover for Whitney & he wouldn’t have accepted what their proposing to me. He paused, then said “Whitney has agreed to pay your fee.” The shoot was on; 2days, 14 costume changes, a press book, & an album cover.
A lot of work, a lot of Whitney, a lot of fun. She gave all she had with all her heart.
Thank you Whitney, I’ll miss you & may you RIP.
Missed the moment 2011 became 2012, hopefully I’ll miss any unpleasantness this year.
Had a nice surprise right before New Years, got to photograph & interview Russell James.
Russell is articulate, intelligent, altruistic, did I mention very handsome.
He’s started a global initiative called Nomads Two Worlds.
“A collection of collaborative art, music & film with indigenous Australian artists. Russell hoped Nomads Two Worlds would become what it is today-a powerful expression of partnership & reconciliation through art across cultural divides.”
I love his conceit & it was a pleasure listening to him tell how he brought Nomads: Two Worlds fruition.
James is now working with American Native, Haitian, & Somalian artists as well.
To learn more about Russell James & Nomads: Two Worlds log in to www.museemagazine.com
In The Land Of Milk & Honey
My Week With Marilyn
What did you think of these films?
The Week Before Christmas
Swooned at Andreas Gursky’s show, which closed last Saturday @ the Gagosian Gallery. GURSKY IS GOOD!!! The size of his photos is necessary so one can see the subtleties in the work. Like his famous photograph of sneakers in the Prada store lined up row after row, if you peruse the photograph as a whole you’ll miss Gursky’s charming surprise, one golf shoe. The attention to detail, conceit, & formal composition in these new works doesn’t disappoint & are filled with many of his surprises and they are also beautiful to look at. Anybody know him, I would love to meet him.
On to Yancey Richardson to see Saran Core’s photographs of painterly still lifes. One photograph was especially alluring & I was inspired to do a new series of my own.
Stopped by Eyebeam where technology meets art. The works were astoundingly imaginative & creative, I’d love to be able to to do work like that. It was like seeing the future which has all ready arrived.
Went to see “Shame” the movie. The acting was terrific, especially Michael Fassbender, but while it was disturbing, it didn’t affect me emotionally at all. Then there is David Fincher’s ”Girl With The Dragon Tatoo.” Fincher is a fantastic director, the editing was tight, the pace fast, and the performances were dynamic, especially Rooney Mara. However, while it was enjoyable I preferred the Swedish version more.
Hoping the best for everyone in 2012, we’ll catch up in the new year!
Day at the Museum (with out Ben Stiller)
OMG, this past Monday I had the good fortune to meet Arnold Lehman, Director of The Brooklyn Museum. Ellen Schweber, the Editorial Director of Musée Magazine, & myself went to the museum with the intention of asking Arnold to be in Musée Magazine’s Issue No.2 and he said YES! Arnold is “the peoples Museum Director,” he courts controversy through his risk taking decisions, has his pulse on the Brooklyn community which he nurtures & views as his extended family, is funny, speaks his truth candidly with a deep knowledge of his subject and with integrity. I like him a lot & am looking forward to the interview.
The museum was closed; we were given a private tour by one of the Museums curators & saw 2 exhibits; Hide/Seek; The Difference & Desire in American portraiture which focuses on themes of gender & sexuality in modern portraiture. This is a major exhibition profound & timely with many great works & surprises. The other being Sanford Bigger: Sweet Funk-An Introspective & boy is it ever. This NY based artist challenges & reinterprets symbols & legacies which inform contemporary America & the black experience. There is a tree log hung across the walls with dangling ropes.
A small cut out in the log is fit with a small video screen. The video entices the viewer to come & look & to put the rope around ones neck, in other words to lynch oneself. The curator pointed out that whites are the majority of attendees. This piece is terrifying, with a visceral punch & an emotional wallop that overwhelms.
Seeing art when the museum is closed is a trans-formative experience; space & time allows for a concentration unattainable in crowded circumstances.
On another subject, Musée Magazine has been receiving terrific submissions for our fear themed issue. Due to the holiday we’ve extended the deadline to Jan. 15th.
We also posted some new photos in our Art Out section; Book signing with Patrick Demarchelier at Dior & The Launch of The Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum.
Good news for you future event photographers, Musée is now accepting photographs of NY art openings & events. Only quality images will be accepted with subject names & location, in return for on page credit.
Musée has some exciting news coming soon, so keep checking in www.museemagazine.com.
From an upcoming exhibition of Andrea Blanch’s Portrait of America, the great Joan Buck as The Judge!
MIAMI BASEL (THE BLUR)
November 29th 9:30am I boarded a Jet Blue Flight to Fort Lauderdale en route to Miami Basel.
On December 2nd 8:30pm my flight from Fort Lauderdale left for New York, I was so happy!
Four days and three nights filled with art, people, art, parties, art, celebrites & tycoons, art, gossip, art, buying & selling, fashion & fun.
As Anthony Haden Guest said “they should forget about the art, it’s a distraction.”
$$$$$ we’re talking $, Occupy Wall Street where are they when you need them.
Highlight; luxurious extravagance the Van Cleef & Arpels party given at the Opa-Locke airport hanger transformed into an enchanted forest, complete with performances by Nick Cave & Vanessa Beecroft, a magical evening had by all.
I got a call from my friend Gaby Tana last week inviting me to a screening of “Coriolanus” which Gaby co-produced along with Ralph Fiennes who directed and starred in the film. We didn’t make the screening but we were able to watch the Q & A afterwards with Ralph and a film professor from Columbia University, Annette Insdorf. We met Ralph at the theatre and were escorted to the green room (yes, it is actually green) before the Q & A started. The audience loved the film! Afterwards, Gaby, Ralph, and myself went to a late dinner at The Waverly Inn. Ralph is lovely; intellegent, sensitive and enjoys his life. A fun evening.
My last class for the fall session at ICP was this past Monday. Dean Rodgers, head of Next Models new talent board, spoke along with Theo Wenner, a young photographer who just shot the cover of Style.com’s new print magazine and twenty five pages of Lindsey Wixson, a dream assignment and the results are wonderful. I liked his work it looked fresh and spontaneous, he mostly uses film and 35mm. His message to the students, “keep it personal”, you life is unique. He was terrific! Dean educated the students all about dealing with modeling agencies what they expect form new photographers, how to deal with new models, the kind of girls they are looking for now, how to make them feel comfortable on set, etc. It is always good to see how receptive Dean is to new talent, be it models or photographers; someone worth listening to! Since the last time I saw him I noticed he has been working out and he looks great!
This session was a particularly good one. All of the guest speakers were fantastic and helped guide the students to reach their potential and goals. Special thanks to Masdek Rassi, Sebastian Kim, Martyn Thompson, Jennifer Pastore, Emmanuel Tanner, Carlos Souza, Dean Rodgers, and Theo Wenner.
On November 8th, Ellen Schweber, Editorial Director of Musée , held her birthday lunch at The Wright Restaurant at the Guggenheim Museum. But before lunch we were treated to a private, curated tour of the Maurizio Cattelan: All exhibition. I felt like it was the eighth wonder of the world, it was thrilling, inventive, funny, and stimulating. Highly recommended!
Tweeking Tweeking Tweeking… MUSÉE magazine Just want to thank everyone for their patience. Enjoy!
First, I would like to thank everyone who joined Issuu. An unfinished version of Musée was released in error, hopefully everyone’s interest is peaked. The content will be different when officially launched and we will contact you when it is.
Jennifer Pastore, photo editor of Teen Vogue and Emmanuel Tanner, photo representative for Marek and Associates, spoke at my class last week. Both of them were brilliant, even I learned new things about the industry. They wowed the students with their comprehensive presentations and talk giving the class the information needed when out in the real world.
Went to see three art exhibitions Friday night with a friend; Marilyn Minter at Salon 94 Bowery, Nan Goldin at Matthew Marks Gallery, and Yoko Ono at Galerie LeLong. Her comments were “Marilyn Minter was great…”Nan Goldins opening had alot of energy,” and “Poor Yoko…” I loved Minter’s painting of her grandchild. Nan Goldin I felt was very bold but it didn’t serve her well. As for Yoko Ono, my friend and I looked at each other and said “I think we should see the press release.”
I was fortunate to meet Kate Fowle, the head of the organization Independent Curators International. When I told her about Musée she offered to put me in touch with her international curators so they can inform us about what is happening around the globe. This is a great coup for Musée, very exciting!
This past saturday, I went to see a Man and Boy, starring Frank Langella who is superb. The story is about a master of the universe type, high finance and low morals.
Then Tuesday night I saw Other Desert Cities. The cast was especially good but I loved Stockard Channing. “Emmy winner, Stockard Channing and golden globe winner, Stacy Keach play the Wyeths, an old-hollywood couple retired from their days of galavanting in Reagan’s inner circle. When their children come home to visit, their daughter Brookes impending memoir opens a closet full of skeletons.”
Monday night was my class with Martyn Thompson as my guest speaker. Martyn has spoken at every class I’ve had and the students always love him, as do I. He is an artist and a fantastic photographer.
My meeting with Suzanne Nicholas, Associate Director of Education from ICP, went well. ICP has agreed to support Musée to get the word out by informing students and grad students alike about the magazine. I am happy to say they are on board!
Went to see Nancy Donaldson at the Times building. Nancy was my fantastic video teacher at ICP this summer. We spoke about including video in Musée’s format.The times building is unique , before you go into the elevator you press your floor on the outside wall ( this was a first ). They served freshly made seared tuna sushi in the light- filled open space cafeteria, We had a good visit. Right next to the Times building, Muji Muji has a store, of course I went in to browse and found the best luggage. The design is like Rowena but the material is different still light, practical and looks good.
My dear friend Vincent Wolf called to ask if I wanted his ticket to the God’s Love We Deliver 25 year fund raiser last night, on which he serves on the advisory board. This charity is terrific, which delivers 4000 meals to people everyday in New York City. Which began as a charity for aids is now one for all people in need, so of course, I said yes. Carolina Herrera and Uma Thurman were honored for their volunteering efforts, Calvin Klein, Anna Wintour, Linda Fargo, John Dempsey and many others were there to support Gods Love. They raised a lot of money, served a delicious dinner, Margaret Russell (Editor in Chief) of Architectural Digest was on my right and Sue Chalom was to my left. It was satisfying night.
Porto Santo Stefano: A Fresh Perspective
As we raced up the narrowest road I have ever seen, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Where the !@*# are we going?!” We peeled around corner after corner for 15 minutes, honking maniacally to ensure we didn’t collide with an oncoming vehicle. My body flooded with relief when we reached our destination–a minimalist paradise perched above the Mediterranean, nothing for miles but sea, tree, friends, and me.
I soon realized this wasn’t the rural Italy of photographic renown. No picturesque villages or agricultural cornucopia here, at least not within walking distance. Instead, a stark seascape stretched before me, and a luxuriant forest lay behind. What was a portrait photographer to do?
In the past, I avoided still life and nature photography. I am inherently social, and it’s difficult to converse with a vase of flowers. (Believe me; I’ve tried!) I would also grow frustrated trying to evoke personality from an item that doesn’t express emotion.
In Porto Santo Stefano, I didn’t have much choice. I was forced to branch out. I recalled a recent conversation with fellow photographer Katy Grannan about curtailing our focus on human subjects. I resolved to do just that.
I captured light dancing on the ocean, thick shadows cast by olive trees, and the oscillating motion of waves. I recognized that nature indeed has moods; conveying them became my raison d’etre.
A storm rolled through the area, providing an opportune challenge. I experienced my own Impressionist awakening, as I photographed the same scenery in contrasting conditions–brooding and tempestuous one day, dazzling and luminous the next.
I also shot still life tableaus, a novel occurrence in my career. I found it serene and freeing; inanimate objects provide an element of control absent from my usual work.
Don’t dismay when you find yourself in your own Porto Santo Stefano—thrust into unfamiliar territory. An unexpected change can prompt a fresh perspective. You may find yourself reinvigorated, as I did.
Mary Stuart: Outside the Box
For a queen to stand, a queen must fall—a clever tagline for a clever presentation of Friedrich Schiller’s Mary Stuart. I recently watched Peter Oswald’s Tony award-winning adaptation of the 16th century power struggle between half-sisters (Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots) for the British crown.
A minimal production budget led to striking staging. Only the women are clad in period attire; the men are clothed in modern garb. This juxtaposition, created out of financial necessity, provides a powerful reminder of the story’s modern-day relevance, while Elizabeth and Mary’s elaborate gowns impart historical context.
The set design is equally brilliant, proving—as we all have learned in this economy—you can do a lot with little. On my own shoots, I use several compositional elements to suggest a story, rather than creating an elaborate set. Best to let the imagination work!
The relationship between Elizabeth and Mary presents a fascinating contrast. On the one hand, Mary fulfills traditional gender roles. She is beautiful, impetuous, and driven by pleasure—“feminine”, according to the dictates of society. Elizabeth, on the other hand, is controlled, tenacious, and cunning—inherently more “masculine”.
Not only did brains prevail over beauty, an all-too-rare occurrence in an appearance driven world, but also—and more importantly–it was she who dared step outside societal norms who succeeded.
Remember the lessons of Elizabeth and Mary in your own battles. Elizabeth vanquished Mary just as David defeated Goliath, by thinking outside the proverbial box. Don’t be afraid to upset the traditional hierarchy. You too will triumph.
Blanch in Action
by guest blogger Elizabeth Kellogg
If you’re a mere mortal like me, you’ve never set foot inside a fashion photo shoot. You may have drooled over the flashy ads and glamorous spreads in Vogue, but never gave much thought to how they were created. That’s how it was for me, until I had the pleasure of observing Andrea Blanch in action.
Enter the luxury apartment where Blanch has her next photo shoot, on the famed Upper East Side of Manhattan, and you enter another world. No screaming pedestrians or honking taxicabs here. Instead, the chirping of birds is the only sound heard through the floor-to-ceiling French doors. Treetops, a rare sight in Manhattan, are visible through the enormous bay window. It’s an oasis in the urban desert, and an ideal place to bring the magic of fashion to life.
There’s excitement in the air from the moment I arrive. Stylists are buzzing, prepping hair and makeup. I’ve never seen so many beauty products in one place! Nor did I realize how long the preparation would take. Tresses are styled and restyled. Wardrobe, courtesy of Michael Kors, is adjusted and readjusted. Makeup is…. Well, you get the idea.
Hours pass. Finally the models are ready for Blanch. As Megan strikes a pose, light streams through the window and highlights her golden hair. She is delicate and ideally proportioned. If fairytale princesses exist, they must look like Megan.
Megan lounges luxuriously on the sleek, contemporary furnishings. Her brilliant yellow accessories stand in sharp contrast to her jet black swimsuit. Blanch furiously clicks away, while others scramble to hold lighting and a reflector in the right places.
Later, Lauren lies topless on crisp white sheets, caressing a feather pillow. Her smoky eyes and pouty lips give new meaning to the phrase “making love to the camera”. Blanch grooves to Coldplay as a fan blows Lauren’s hair into flawless wisps.
Blanch instinctively knows what’s working and what isn’t, changing tactics midstream. Her process is fluid and fascinating to watch. Like Blanch herself, her method of encouraging the models is unique: “Be quirky but natural,” she instructs. And as Lauren cradles a beach bag, Blanch tells her to “pretend that it’s your boyfriend’shirt”. I can’t help but smile. Who knew fashion was this entertaining?!
Kors and Kamali: Similar Goals, Different Avenues
New York is abustle in a flurry of fashion. It’s that time of year again–a week where, though fall is upon us, we peer ahead to see what we’ll be wearing next spring. Despite a jam-packed schedule, I managed to see the collections of two designers I’ve admired over the years—Michael Kors and Norma Kamali.
Michael presented in the tents at Bryant Park, with his usual vivre and glamour. Anna Wintour and Michael Douglas appeared in the first row, and each guest received a bottle of Kor’s new perfume. His new garments feature fun and sexy cutouts in atypical patterns, while Lucite accessories lend an edgy quality to classic pieces.
I was delighted to see a plethora of female photographers at the show. Such diversity was unusual in the 1980s, when I appeared with Michael in Harper’s Bazaar as his modern muse—probably because I was one of a few women behind the lens. Kors will undoubtedly steal the spotlight in forthcoming industry press.
Norma Kamali, on the other hand, presented her new line for eBay outside the Apple Store in SoHo. Norma hasn’t participated in the traditional framework of fashion for some time. She’s stepped outside the brick and mortar model, using technology to reinvent herself and reinvigorate her business.
Norma’s collection is available exclusively online, promoted via an iPhone application and a game on roiworld.com. (You know you want to dress your avatar in her garb!) Her website offers free consultations with personal shoppers via Skype, and a Try Before You Buy option—eliminating a significant barrier to online sales. She manufactures solely in the USA, resulting in more rapid turnaround and superior quality control.
Of course, Norma always was unconventional. When I photographed Renee Toft Simonsen in a Kamali design for the December 1982 issue of Vogue, I received a thank you note written on plain white paper with blue magic marker–a refreshing, unpretentious gesture in an otherwise pretentious time! A designer had never thanked me, nor has one since.
Kors and Kamali furnish a compelling contrast. Both offer clothing for the everyday woman, but reach her through different channels. I laud Kamali’s attempts to move fashion forward through technology, providing increased transparency and accessibility. Should other designers follow suit, we may experience a consumer revolution within the fashion world.
New Photography 2009: A Bold and Innovative Future
If you haven’t viewed the New Photography 2009 exhibit recently opened at The Museum of Modern Art, rush to Midtown West for a visit. Since 1985, MoMA sets an annual display of cutting-edge photographers—70 artists from 15 countries thus far.
This year, the chosen six are all American—albeit from vastly different backgrounds. Upbringing plays a key role in their visual aesthetic. Leslie Hewitt, for instance, highlights her African-American heritage in the series, Untitled (Epiphany of Circumstances).
Hewitt negates traditional perspective by hanging scenery upside down; in three panels, only an old family photograph is right-side-up and distinguishable to the eye. In the final two panels, the addition of a mirror and a photo on its side leave the viewer disoriented and intrigued.
Daniel Gordon’s style is even more unusual. His montages are both grotesque and alluring; they simultaneously compel and repel the spectator. Gordon combines paper and online photos into body images that challenge conventional standards of beauty.
Gordon’s techniques are definitely new! He photographs his initial collage, rearranges the pieces, and re-photographs. His methodology and the discomfort it elicits are reminiscent of performance art. Gordon’s creations resonate with a powerful message.
I am equally moved by Sarah VanDerBeek’s pictures of “temporary sculptures”. Composition for Detroit salutes a disappearing manufacturing economy, and incorporates photos from the 1967 riots. That which is old is new again. Her moody style and use of space are evocative of Robert Rauschenberg and Hans Hoffman.
Sterling Ruby, Carter Mull, Walead Beshty examine photography in the digital age. Ruby starts with graffiti snapshots, and manipulates the defacement into biting social commentary.
Mull begins with a page of the Los Angeles Times. He alters and re-photographs layer upon layer, until the sheet is unrecognizable. Mull questions whether photography, like print, will be obliterated by technology.
Beshty goes further, suggesting that conventional photography is already obsolete. Beshty works in total darkness, exposing photography paper to different color light, thereby creating random patterns. Is this the only remaining use for standard chemical processes?
These artists awaken my own creativity, as I ponder how to move my process forward—into photography’s bold and innovative future!
Robert Frank: Looking In
“I am always…trying to look inside, trying to say something that is true. But maybe nothing is really true, except what’s out there. And what’s out there is constantly changing.”
Thus begins “Looking In: Robert Frank’s The Americans” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, an exhibit honoring the 40th anniversary of Frank’s initial publication.
Most see Frank as a modern photographic icon. Few know of the initial disappointments in his career. After emigrating from Zurich in 1947, Frank served as a fashion photographer for Harper’s Bazaar. He found it hollow, lacking the self-expression he craved.
Frank circled the globe, but failed to attract a publisher for the results. Life magazine too rejected his submissions as too somber and gritty, though this acerbic realism would ultimately bring unbridled success.
The Americans showcases Frank’s intensely personal and spontaneous approach. He appears to point and shoot; the deceptively simples images are askew, with edges cut off. This style would be deemed “the snapshot aesthetic”, and Frank its creator.
Frank’s book is a photographic chronicle of his 1950s road trips across the US. He peers behind-the-scenes of a prosperous, post-War nation to reveal tensions within.
His criticisms are evident in the initial image, “Parade—Hoboken, New Jersey”, which displays two women with blurry faces, one hidden behind the American flag. A bold picture of proud, white men entitled “City Fathers”, also in Hoboken, immediately follows. The contrast is clear.
As an American outsider and a Jewish survivor of WWII, Frank dislikes the marginalization of all minorities—not just women. He presents a segregated “Trolley—New Orleans”, pictured after an all-Caucasian celebration of “4th of July—Jay, New York”—reminding viewers that independence is not available to all.
The Americans is not solely judgmental; it’s also playful. Frank pairs photos that showcase twinkling stars with one of a Hollywood starlet. His humor is subtle, moving from the Metropolitan Life Building in New York to a Jehovah’s Witness in Los Angeles (different types of insurance!), and from a car with evangelical bumper stickers to couples necking in a park.
Frank’s solemnity prevails. He questions the futility of the journey. The Americans‘ final photo displays Frank’s wife and son, disheveled and exhausted, driving a seemingly endless road. The snapshot recalls earlier pictures–a chilling car accident coupled with an infinite route 285, stretching to the horizon.
I salute Frank’s penetrating commentary, as relevant today as it was 40 years ago. We must highlight our mistakes, lest we repeat them. But we mustn’t forget the extraordinary progress we’ve made as a nation since the ’50s. And the journey is worthwhile.
Art: Accessible to AllI recently had the opportunity to gorge on art, both visual and performance, for an entire weekend. Not only was I in my glory, but I also made some interesting observations along the way.
I caught Gerhard Richter’s show at the Marian Goodman Gallery in midtown Manhattan. Richter is a master of the abstract. Large-scale canvases showcase his impeccable palette knife work.
I was particularly impressed by a piece entitled Sinbad (2008), an entire room of colorful lacquer pieces pressed between panes of glass. There are 90 segments, each with a price tag of $1000. Sounds reasonable, until I read that one buyer must purchase the entire collection–for a total of $900,000!
This price seemed steep, until I attended contemporary fine art auctions at Sotheby’s and Christie’s. With works by modern masters such as Robert Rauschenberg, Jeff Koons, and Joan Mitchell, Richter’s Sinbad was a relative bargain!
The 2009 Editions Artists’ Book Fair in Chelsea was a breath of fresh air. Publishers and dealers displayed a variety of prints, some from recently published volumes and others from up-and-coming artists.
The show served as a poignant reminder that some artists make their living entirely from reproductions. This is not necessarily negative. Everyone should be able to own a piece of artwork, should they so desire.
My final venture was Robert Wilson’s Quartett at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Wilson is known for his avant-garde staging, and this production is no exception.
The set is stark and austere; the pulsing lights and repetitive sounds are jarring yet appropriate to the themes of infidelity and betrayal. The play is a remake of Heiner Muller’s script; itself based on the novel Dangerous Liaisons.
Isabelle Huppert, best known for her role in I Heart Huckabees, delivers a brilliant performance. I was deeply moved. And tickets prices are reasonable.
I was pleased to note that affordable visual and performance art does exist in New York City. More expensive art is not necessarily better art. While galleries and auctions have their place, let us not forget that art is and should be accessible to all.
Carlos Souza Interview
I love portraits and I love interviewing, so I recently decided to start on a series of video portraits. This first video is a conversation with Carlos Souza, who, now again at the helm Valentino PR, also recently debuted his own jewelry line, Most Wanted Design. We talked about how the fashion business has changed over the years. You can also view the photographs in this video on my Facebook Fan page
Lauren Beatty Photo Assignment
My start in photography as assistant to Richard Avedon is admittingly a very magical beginning that not all aspiring photographers are lucky enough to have. I started teaching at New York’s International Center of Photography to teach and mentor emerging photographers. Lauren Beatty was a student in my Fashion Vision & Practice course at ICP this Fall semester. This photo is an outtake from one of her assignments that I liked so much and wanted to share with you here. I’m very happy to announce I will be teaching at ICP again this Spring!
Miroslav Tichy at the ICP
Last week I attended a preview at the ICP and found myself deeply drawn to the work of Miroslav Tichy. Through the dizzying blur of the digital era, Tichy’s work stands refreshingly authentic. His distorted studies of women and landscapes capture a quiet repose and humanity that is often lost amongst our digital swirl. His attention to form, to light, to subtly have an evocative rhythm of their own.
Adding to the mystic of his art is the fact that his images are born out of self-made cameras inventively cobbled-together from found materials. Tichy is a man unafraid to highlight the flaws of life: “…the mistake is a part of it, it is poetry…and for that you need a bad camera.” -Miroslav Tichy
I was so inspired by Tichy’s work that I wanted to explore the introduction of purposefully blurred and distorted focus in my next shoot. However, I found that “tricking” my high-end digital camera into creating the desired effect was far harder than I imagined. The camera was always attempting to correct my purposeful incorrectness.
If you have any thoughts on Tichy’s work, or the use of digital equipment in a non-digital manner, please share them with us here. I am very curious to know how other people are responding to his work, and evolving their own in turn.
The ICP exhibit offers a glimpse into the mind, life, and work of this recluse Czech artist. Some 100 of his works will be on display through May 9th. A must see.
Blurring the Lines of “Fashion”
I recently had the pleasure of attending the shows of Alex Prager and Erwin Olaf.
Alex Prager’s work is set in her hometown of Los Angeles. The artist has described the city as “a strange picture of perfection… with a sense of unease under the surface of all this beauty and promise.” Her photographs mirror this tension magnificently. Her uniquely cinematic style, hyper-saturated color, use of negative space, and one-person narrative reveal her astute view of modern women.
Erwin Olaf’s dedication to his craft, his passion, and his genuine engagement with his subjects are clearly visible in the imaginative refinement of the final photographs. Never one to shy away from controversial topics, his approach is one that that mixes the studied nature of still life and provocative boundry-pushing elements of studio photography.
I left these shows inspired, but importantly pondering the blurring lines between photographic silos. Where does fashion end and fine art begin?
Alexandra Penney at Haas & Fuchs
This past weekend Hass & Fuchs hosted the opening of new work by a good friend of mine Alexandra Penney.
Her series of plastic blow-up dolls push us into a plane of discomfort. Evocative, disturbing, and absolutely fabulous. The photographs force the viewer to reexamine the very nature of beauty.
“My artwork comments on the insatiable consumerism, greed, dishonesty, and the deformed and warped values of our time. The dolls, with their gaping mouths, are symbols or ciphers that provide a visual scaffolding for social observation. Nothing in the pictures is genuine—unless you consider plastic ‘genuine.’”
You can view the series here. Or, read about the artists harrowing reinvention after loosing her life savings in the Madoff scandal in her new book, The Bag Lady Papers: The Priceless Experience of Losing it All.
The Imagist – Celebrating the Visual Orgasm
The Imagist is a 2-year-old blog from author Wayne, a self-proclaimed visual omnivore and dictator of taste. The Imagist offers a cross media exploration of art and culture with pithy commentary that reaffirm Wayne’s unique point of view. It has become a source of inspiration for me and I encourage everyone to check it out.
Naked I Stand – A Reveling Day with Andres Serrano
Andres Serrano is a legend: immensely talented and infinitely provocative. His oversize prints are designed to emulate the grandeur of museum-scale sculptures and paintings. He shoots a vast array of subject matter, masterfully examining the balance between vulgar and beautiful. Andres cares solely about the image, never allowing himself to get lost amongst the particulars of printing and post-production. When Andres asks you to sit for him, you do not say no. Even if by fulfilling this request it means that you must pose nude.
My trepidation was high as the day of the shoot approached. Could I feel comfortable and confident bearing it all? As a young woman I was quite the exhibitionist. Over the years, I found this part of my personality fading. Not by any purposeful intent, rather, I suppose, as a byproduct of aging. This past Saturday, I forced my past and present into one.
The shoot was scheduled to take place at Andres home – a fittingly church like atmosphere given the religious undertones of his work. An unexpectedly gracious and handsome man greeted me at the door and took me in to meet the artist. Andres’ soft-spoken ways and kind nature instantly put me at ease. My hesitations melted, and for the hour-long shoot, time and place suspended as I strutted my stuff in front of the camera. I left feeling transformed. Invigorated. Reborn.
Keep an eye out for the upcoming series by Andres.
This weekend was a flurry of activity. Rather than focus on any one artist or exhibition, I thought it best to share some of the highlights:
Film and Theater
Karsh is History
How did Karsh become one of the 20th centuries foremost photographers? This is the question explored by the new film “Karsh is History.” Rather than the life of Karsh, I found myself pondering the extraordinary parallels between Karsh and Richard Avendon: Their fame was built on the same premise – photographs of powerful people. Commercially they set out to achieve the same goal, yet their approach differers in one distinct and critical way. When making portraits, Karsh was driven to show the ideal of the individual and the archetype of their public figure. Avendon wanted to capture a moment, a never before seen glimpse of the individual. Some might consider this a subtle shift, but I was struck by how deeply it impacted their individual bodies of work.
The Ghost Writer
I am increasingly drawn to films by european directors. In The Ghost Writer, Roman Polanski weaves his magic to create a captivating thriller that kept me engaged until the closing credits.
Mr. and Mrs. Fitch
Urbane, smart, witty, and stylish. Enough said.
The White Ribbon
This film explores the origin of terror through the distant memories of a man living on the brink of WWI. Dark, powerful, and moving, it left me with an unshakable sense of disquite.Exhibitions
Olafur Eliason at Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
This show caused great debate amongst myself and another artist friend. She felt that Eliason was overtly similar to that of a 30 year predecessor James Turrell, yet lacked the sense of poetry and refinement that Turrell possessed. To her, the fact that Eliason hires a staff of architects to help manufacture his work is a discredit to his talent. Personally, I liked his work and felt that her opinion was just that – opinion. We ended the discussion agreeing that only time will tell. This show raised the recent Roberta Smith article and the responsibility of the galleries and museums to put the best art in front of the public. I would love to hear the thoughts of others on both the show, and the article.
Jacco Olivier at Marianne Boesky Gallery
Creative and vibrantly visual, Jacco combines film and painting into layered montages of movement. While his work requires time to digest, it is worth the investment.
Wolfgang Tilman at Andrea Rosen Gallery
This show epitomizes a new trend in gallery display. A trend that I have noticed across the New York art scene with increasing frequency. In one show, Tilman exhibits a vast array of subject matter and themes. To some, they find this approach slightly manic and unnerving. Personally, I find it a refreshing break from the traditional.
Baron Adolph de Meyer at Robert Miller Gallery
Baron Adolph de Meyer is an Icon of elegant, early 20th century photography. Yet this exhibition captures little of his genius. His best work was suspiciously absent from the show making the collection at best banal and at worst silly.
Robert Adams at Mathew Marks Gallery
There is something wonderfully casual about Adams work. In an age of hyper-processed and excessively calculated imagery, his work is a tribute to the uncontrived.The small-scale photographs of night scenes harken back to a bygone era of simplistic authenticity.
Maialino at Ian Schragers Gramercy Park
The fried artichokes with a luscious anchovy-rich sauce are absolutely delicious.
Bar Pleiades at The Surrey
Thank Chef Boulud for divine canapes.
Sant Ambroeus and Bottino
I just can’t say enough good things about both of these places.Final Thoughts
Since the death of my cat Sheva, I’ve had a recent surge of desire to be out and about. Indulging my inner social butterfly has been invigorating, yet as an artist I need solitude to create. It is solitude that makes me hunger for social interaction, and social interaction that inspires me to find solitude. I’ve never found a balance. All I can do is hold on and hope to thrive.
Film and Play
The Art of the Steal
The Barne’s foundation was created as an antitheses to the hallowed halls of conventional museums. Since the 1990s it has been at the center of one of the greatest art scandals of our decade. The cast of villains and heros, of wills and trusts, of monetary gain an invaluable loss weave a defining tale of our times. This revealing documentary raises an interesting debate over preservation versus commercial exploitation. Where should the boundaries lie and at what cost?
Time Stands Still
Sarah Goodwin is a female photographer daring to document a controversial subject, she is also a strong-minded individual in the midst of an uneasy relationship. While the parallels between Sarah’s life and my own were uncanny, her contemplation on the role of the artist as witness is what caught my attention. It is a timeless quandary, yet one of profound significance: when horror is happening in front of the lens when should the photographer go from observer to participant?
Elisa Sighicelli at Gagosian Gallery
Elisa work is printed by hand on matt paper rather than on the customary transparent film, then mounted onto a Plexiglas structure using black-tape and florescence to manipulate light and shadow. Her work is a carefully crafted exploration of light.Damien Hirst – Gagosian Gallery
Hirst has always worked on the edge of contemporary art, and once again he delivers by boldly addressing the zeitgeist through large scale installations. Provocative, interesting, and worth viewing.
Richard Tuttle at Joni Mosiant Weyl
A departure from his typical material creations, these prints embody the same innate delicate nature of Tuttles other works. Intimate, subtle, and beautiful geometric forms that envelope the viewer in a sense of calm.
Whitney Biennial Preview
For me, the highlight of the Biennial was an instillation entitled “Hearse” from artist Bruce High. The windows of this iconic looking white hearse were replaced with large screens on which clips of american history were displayed. An electric and ironic view of the past century.
Malevich in Focus
Malechivich has many influences, but in this intimate exhibition of his work the development of his style unfolds in-front of the viewer. His distinct cubic masterpieces remain avant-garde to this day.Contemplating the Void A global representation from a broad-base of artistic disciplines, contemplating the void breathes fresh life into one of Frank-Lloyd Wrights most iconic structures. Each remarkable submission plays on different themes of space and vacuum.
These “constructed situations” engage the audience through the interplay of dance, of fleeting gestures, and social subtleties. It is impossible for the viewer to hold back from participating and becoming part of the art itself. Some have said that sehgal is attempting to exhibit the very joy of life. For me it was mesmerizing.
Eggleston, Shore, Myers
These three artist share a remarkable sense of bold, vivid, and vibrant color. It was Avendon who first recommended I study Eggleston’s approach to photography. To this day his works still capture my attention.
Ida Applebroog – Hauser & Wirth
A year long study of an oft ignored part of the female anatomy, Applebroog presents 160 drawings of her own vagina.These beautifully simple sketches lay dormant in storage for nearly 40 years. In 2009 the vault was opened and 100 new drawings were created using digital manipulation to enhance the original works. Displayed in a home-like wood construction symbolizing the the exterior and interior walls of her life. It was witty, focused, and poignant.
Lest I forget back to brunch at Minetta Tavern where the best bloody mary, the best hamburger in New York, and the company of a good friend awaits.
The New Museum Curated by Jeff Koons
I was of the opinion that the New Museum was supposed to be about emerging art. What happened? The Jeff Koons exhibition had my art friends in a fluster this weekend – twenty-five-year-old art from an established collector is hardly emerging. That aside what really aggravated my co-museum goers was the lack of cohesion in the exhibition. To them it felt sporadic. For me its organization was akin to the art fairs I was viewing this weekend. I embrace the randomness of selection and placement and feel that in some ways it enhances the discovery of viewing art.
The Hort Family Collection
The vibrant and eclectic aesthetic of Susan and Michael Hort was on display this weekend in their Tribeca home. It is fabulous to envision them living day-in and day-out with so much art adorning their walls. I appreciate their passion for emerging artists and their dedication to a continually rotating selection. Fifteen years ago they created a foundation in honor of Rema Hort Mann whose untimely death from stomach cancer at the age of 30 inspired them to become the advocates for emerging artist that they are today. To the support their efforts, please got to www.rhmfoundation.org
The Armory Show
Every March, artists, galleries, collectors, critics and curators from all over the world journey to New York for the Armory Show. This year was no different.
In general, I wasn’t overly impressed with the production of the exhibits, especially with PULSE. The show felt cramped, overcrowded, and left me gasping for air. At it’s best, was “Pier 94” which offered the occasional glimpse of avant-garde. There I enjoyed the work of Daniel Gordon. Gordon creates vibrant, tactile, and innovative photographic collages that boarder on the surreal and grotesque. The female figures he depicts are cobbled together concoctions of found images, reconstructed into three-dimensional tableau.
At the Armory Show on 67th and Park, there was one artist in particular who stood out – “The Horizon Line in 19th-Century Photographs.” Although, I am not typically a vintage photography enthusiast, I found these photographs exquisite.
What struck me the most was actually more the viewers than the objects being viewed. Many of today’s art enthusiast seem trapped by generational gaps: traditionalists unsure where and how to look in a contemporary world. The paradigm has shifted and many appear incapable of adapting.
Can I say I came away inspired? Not really. But I was uplifted and felt satisfied if not satiated by the occasional glimpse of good work I was able to catch.
Eldridge Synagogue – Kiki Smith Design Preview
The Kiki Smith stained-glass window is the final element of the synagogue’s 20 year $18.5 million restoration. A piece that is intended not to be a replica of the damaged window it replaces, but rather an interpretation that integrates into the Neo-Moorish interior without entirely mimicking its structure. The window is scheduled to be unveiled later this spring, but from the preliminary designs all I can say is “beautiful”!
Theater and Lectures
In the Words of Duras – La Vie Materielle
Included in the multi-venue tribute to Marguerite Duras by fi:af is the stage production entitled La View Materielle. Director Irina Brooks (daughter of the famed Peter Brooks) promised “extraordinary words whilst cooking, laughing, crying, singing and dancing together in an imaginary and theatrical kitchen.” And in my opinion, she delivered. The ensemble cast portrays vivid interpretations of daily life and intimate relationships with frank guile. Hats off to my dear friend Joan Juliet Buck for her splendid performance.
Panel Discussion: On Gluttony at Independent
When you gather an art historian, a gallery owner, an art advisor, a journalist and writer, and a handful of artists together on one stage it is inevitable that disparate opinions will emerge. Throw in a topic as polarizing as the systemic nature of gluttony in the art world, and you’re bound to witness a few flairs. In this panel of experts, the dialogue ebbed and followed over topics of our the insatiable appetite for “new,” the transformation of art access and digestion fueled by the ever-increasing pervasive nature of information, and the resulting pressure on galleries and artist to produce. Peppered in were excellent commentary and visual examples of greed versus gluttony by Anthony Haden Guest. But, what I found most resonant was a point raised by Linda Yabonsky on the topic of morality. Many artist, like co-panelist Jennifer Rubell, blatantly ignore the morality of their work. If morality were of paramount importance, could or would you be creating what you do? Utterly absorbed by this question, I approached Linda after the panel. Her response: “Well, we live in a hypocritical world.”
Lunch at Freeman’s
Bored and disgusted. Not by my company nor by the food, but by the topic of conversation. Here we were – three New York City Art Veterans – and all we could do was bitch. Worse yet, regurgitate the pre-voiced opinions of the many art-critics this city spawns. It’s maddening to hear the same thing again and again. We read the same blogs. We follow the same columnist. But come on New York is there really no original point of view left? It’s not that the critics lack opinion, it’s that we as viewers and artist have become lemmings to their thoughts.
The Great Debate
This weekend I had the pleasure of spending an evening with husband and wife photographers Nigal Perry and Melanie Dunea. Both accomplished and skilled artists.
Our conversation meandered through various ins-and-outs of the photographic industry, landing on one important debate: is the internet and the pervasiveness of camera phones lowering the standards and will this new breed of photo-makers erode or degrade the professional sphere?
You can’t walk the street of any major city without being overrun by trigger-happy snap-shooters. Their captions flood every corner of the internet and often emerge as stock. Newswires and editors lured in by nominal fees push their sup-par photographs before the eyes of the consuming public.
Is it eating away at professional assignments? Is it filling a gap in which professionals never really wanted to play? Or, worst of all, is it damaging the publics ability to distinguish good photographs from bad?
Throughout this debate I can’t hep but return to one important truth: like many industries, photography is fed by advertising. Advertising is aspirational. Period. Aspirational photography requires a level of skill and thought that will never be supplied by the snap-shooter. They may get lucky now and again, but in my opinion there will always be a market for someone with an exceptional mastery of their craft.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the state of the industry…(Check out the work of Nigal Perry and Melanie Dunea )
In that same evening I gave my dear friend Georgette Farkas a gift of a photograph I had recently made. Her rave review inspired me to share it with you here.
Ten years after his emergence as a known entity in the New York art world, Rothko had developed a tightly honed artistic vision. He sought to connect with the viewer on a level more powerful and unsettling than an “optical shudder” – to elevate his paintings to enablers of deep meditation. The commission presented by the sexy, new, state-of-the-art Four Seasons promised to be a long-sought-after temple to this desire; offering a hallowed space where his luminous panels could envelope the viewer. In reality, it reveled itself to be nothing more than glorified room decoration. A temple to champaign and foie gras where his art would be most viewed by the backs of diners. After much agony, Rothko opted to return the money and refuse the commission.
Although set in the late 1950s, the question of artistic integrity and seriousness of the art and artist is incredibly timely and appropriate. We live in an era where the lines between commercial and artistic endeavors are entirely blurred. A time where artists sell as brands and brands vie for an increasing mindshare of cultural arts. Is promotion seen as selling out?
Hackel Bury and the Starn Twins
Despite strong discouragement from their gallerist, when The World of Interiors came calling the Starn Twins agreed to the interview. The article caught the attention of the MET whom in-turn approached the twins about a multi-year commission of a lifetime. Once again I can’t help but feel that even when people have our best career interests at heart, it is the individual artist who has the greatest control over their success.
Ryan McGinley at Team
To say that McGinley received a rockstar welcome would be an understatement. It was astounding to witness the receptivity and admiration towards the young artist. Unlike Avedon who had no interest in photographing young people, I happen to be attracted to the naivety of youth. I found McGinley’s work refreshing – the compilation filled with strong shots and interesting angles. But it was overkill. He showed too much. For me, the abundance diminished the impact of the body of work.
Delighted by John
This weekend I attended the birthday party of John Demsey in his stunning east side townhouse. Demsey, among many other things is a great lover of photography and an ardent collector. I am honored to say that John has chosen to include the photograph I made of Andy Warhol for Vogue in his collection. Thank you for a wonderful time John, and for being a continued support of my work.
Art and Projects
Otto Dix – Neue Galerie
This iconic and infamous German artist showcases a varied range of technique and a diverse cast of characters. Setting his focus on the dark, intense, and wild underbelly he masterfully illustrates murderers, rapists, and prostitutes as vivid and vibrant portraits of 20th century German society. His superb use of color to define the character and personality of the sitter provides a deeper level of connection and dimension to his portrayals.
I am admittedly desensitized by modern life (and the constant stream of imagery that bombards my daily existence) but I still found his depictions of older women utterly disturbing and repulsive.
Otto Dix is fantastic, inspiring, and unique. It is astounding to me that this is the first ever North American exhibition of Dix. I hope to see a lot more of his work in the future.
Humane Society Auction
I have been asked to contribute the above image to the upcoming Humane Society Photography Auction on March 18th. It is a wonderful organization and an amazing cause. I encourage everyone to participate in whatever way possible: http://www.humanesocietyny.org/
A disturbing tale of Mussolini wrapped in a visual feast. The opening love scene is incredibly visceral and inclusive, and reminded me why I like Italian men so much.
A desire to refresh my make up, the absence of touch-up essentials, and an unconscious utterance of “I left my face at home.” It was an ordinary day, in front of an average mirror, but the particular kind of mundane experience that inspires me to start a new project.
Women go to great lengths to present their best face to the world. We hide our imperfections behind a mask of make-up. Without it are we faceless?
As spring takes hold of New York city dwellers eagerly emerge from their winter coops. For a few brief weeks the lingering scent of flowering trees dominate before the summer heat turns the air into a vile concoction of city scents. As the streets and parks flood with sun worshipers, the season for people watching hits its peak. Rev up your cameras and get out and enjoy the warm spring air. Here’s a shot I took this past weekend.
To walk the halls of Moma is to breath in the very essence of the New York art scene. But if you don’t plan your visit appropriately, the breadth and depth of the current exhibitions might leave you gasping for air. To avoid overwhelming your senses, I highly suggest absorbing only one artist per visit. The following, however, should not be missed:
His large scale charcoal drawings and animation offer a delightful and fascinating exploration of human emotions.
I am not sure if I loved or hated this. Her often sadistic and sometimes downright disturbing works left me wondering where the line lies between art and porn. When art is just as vulgar and all-bearing, what differentiates the two?
Impeccably curated, I couldn’t help but lament the ongoing demise of the photojournalistic field. Bresson’s mastery in capturing a moment and imbuing profound meaning into everyday life is always inspiring.
I relish the fact that Bresson was not a dark room maven. As a 25 year veteran, I am increasingly delegating the retouching of my work. Overseeing post production has granted me the freedom to focus on the moment of making the photograph without getting bogged down by photoshop.
James Welling at David Zwirner
Welling presents a vibrant and colorful interpretation of one of residential architectures greatest treasures. His playful use of filters, color negatives, and printing techniques give a distinct cross-medium feel to his creations.
Sculptographs at Andrea Rosen
Wiry sculptograph sit juxtaposed against the three-dimensional works of Elliott Hundley. A modern take on fashion against a mythical exploration of reason and ecstasy. Both offerings provoking a dialogue about space, shape, form, and perception.
Other galleries I visited this weekend and recommend:
Bruce Silverstein – For his guest curators
Hasted Hunt Kraeutler – for their extensive photography exhibition
Danziger Projects – For the fashion photographer who ventured to africa
Lauren Augistine – For an impressive carousel filled with sound and visual delights
The Art Auctions
Historically I have avoided attending the pre-shows preferring to participate in the actual events. This year was different. Acting as a consultant to a friend, I spent a portion of my weekend browsing through the Christies collection. It was a refreshing way to participate, and a wonderful chance to get up-close to the art.
Loretta Lux, Irving Pen, and surprisingly the Michael Crichton collection stood out. For very different reason.
For the most part, the Photography prices were reasonable.
A Question to The Photography Industry
Every image goes through post-production. In photography’s early days this happened in the darkroom, today it happens on the desk-top. My question is this: do photographers allow retouchers to show before and after of their work? In my opinion, there is a lot that goes into a final print and I feel bearing it all can be detrimental. Would to hear your thoughts.
In January of 2010 I completed a photo essay of New York Fire Fighters. This project was inspired by my presence at the seven-alarm fire that struck the Deutsche Bank in 2007, a fire that severely injured over 100 firefighters in a single night. As an artist I was drawn to their magnanimity and heroism. The limited edition series of photographs embody the vivid tones of their glow-in-the-dark world. The continued cutbacks threatening the New York firefighters make this work unquestionably timely and sure to unite viewers and buyers alike around a common cause. I would love any suggestions or connections you might be willing to share to help me get this work out there.
School’s in Session…
My ICP class started last night. It was sweet. Ray Brown, the super agent who also owns Hudson Studios, the best in NY, was generous enough to let me have the class there. Ray and Laura Beckwith spoke about the business side of photography, what a photographer needs to do to be competitive in todays market (which, my fellow shooters, is VIDEO VIDEO VIDEO!!!), how to get started, how to put a portfolio together, the different agency jobs and what they mean (art director, creative director, account executive, etc), the need to know your market and create a niche for yourself, and the agent-photographer relationship. Ray and Laura showed portfolios of their photographers’ source books (Le Book, Black Book, etc), and talked about fee and percentages. They provided the class with a wealth of knowledge. The students were so impressed and grateful and so was I. During the talk it was revealed that some photographers let their assistants take the picture, which, quite frankly, surprised me, since its something I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing. The reason being the photographers who practice this think of themselves as directors, and having done both film and still myself, in my opinion, still is about capturing a moment. Therefore its the person who’s clicking the shutter at the precise moment of the capture that determines that “shot”, that “single shot.” Film keeps rolling, so you can set up a shot, direct the actors, and let the film roll while being in front of the camera, to the side of the camera, or in the back of the camera, even on the floor. As long as you can see the action, it doesn’t matter where you’re viewing it from. No physical act is required. I’d like to know what your opinion is about this.
The week started with a visit to Ross Bleckner’s Studio, the most organized studio I’ve ever seen. The Steinhardt School @ NYU held a fundraiser there. They raise money that goes directly to the students so they don’t incur huge loans while in school. Bravo! Meanwhile, Ross’ paintings were displayed throughout his space, I told him he’s turned into a impressionist painter, and he said it was his “romantic side”.
Speaking of impressionism, I took a field trip with my friend Tony Baratta and Pilar Viladas to the Barnes Foundation, which has the largest group of impressionist paintings in the world. There were works of art I’ve never seen before and never even knew existed. Amongst the paintings, also hanging on the wall were exquisite metal door latches, and below the paintings were pieces of beautiful American furniture. The entire hanging was such an intimate and personal experience that I’m so grateful I got a chance to see the magnificent collection before it moves to Philadelphia, which in my opinion is so sad and ignorant.
Went to see Falcon Cocaine, a documentary film which showed at the Tribeca Film Festival. The movie begins with a man who’s passion for falcons takes him into a world of intrigue: terrorism, money laundering, and Osama Bin Laden. It’s a bold and important film and if you want to know why Bin Laden hasn’t been caught and could be, see this film. I walked away even more disgusted and pessimistic about the state of the world today, politics, and the US government, and I’m a patriot.
One last thing, last night I went to the 30th anniversary of St. Ann’s Warehouse, which has become one of New York City’s most important and compelling live performance destinations. Last night featured the music of Fela Kuti, and the Band from Fela on Broadway. Everyone got up from their seats and was moving to the joyous music from the beginning to the end of the performance. The New York Times got it right, “where new ideas are born” & “an oxygen tank for New York theater”. That’s St. Ann’s. Artistic Director Susan Feldman has created something special, I wish her continued success for the next 30 years. And my friend Stanley Cohen, lawyer extraordinare, thank you for such a delightful and unexpected invite.
A Bright Future
Well the week was challenging. Interns leaving and new ones arriving, scheduling one shoot where the agency sent the model somewhere else and re-scheduling with a new girl who got sick and didn’t bother to call. Hair and make up and photographer ready to go and girl. There should be a law…
However my good friend Tony Baratta and his partner Bill Desmond (of Desmond and Baratta) received the HUE award given by Benjamin Moore for their use of color. This was the first time interior designers were chosen for this award. The prize was $5,000, which Tony and Bill donated to an HIV-AIDS charity (The Center for Special Studies at New York Presbyterian Hospital) and the wonderful people at Benjamin Moore donated another $5,000 to the same charity.
If you’d like to be inspired, get to the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum and see their latest exhibition, the National Design Triennial. It brings together experimental designs and ideas in animation, new media, fashion, etc, and about people thinking outside of the box. You leave feeling there’s hope for mankind!
Went to the NY Photo exhibition in DUMBO. As always, there was a lot to see and many wonderful photographers. As a curatorial effort I preferred Vince Aletti the best. The exhibition was an homage to Irving Penn, so all the images were still life. Sharon Core, Bill Jacobson, Laura Letinsky and Andrea Modica were just a few of many who’s working was moving and thought provoking. The diversity and quality of the images clicked with me.
The last class of my Fashion Photography course, Vision and Practice at ICP, was held last night at the Staley Wise Gallery. Etheleen Staley (the co-owner) and Carlos Souza (PR for Valentino) were the guest speakers. Etheleen was so kind to lend her gallery and also tell the students the ins and outs of art galleries and how she started her gallery and why. Along with Taki Wise, they began the first Fashion Photography gallery in New York. True pioneers, they’re vision never wavered, and the gallery is still focused on fashion photography after all these years.
Then of course my dear friend for over 20 years, the dashing, debonair, and worldly Carlos Souza spoke. He was brilliant. Informing the students on how to get the best out of models, clients, etc, most importantly, telling the student the importance of being generous to everyone: to share information, be open and giving. And I might add, he is the personification of all these things like few people that I know, I adore him. This session at ICP was spectacular. The students were very talented, and the speakers as well: Ray Brown (photo agent), Dean Rodgers (model agent of the Marilyn Agency), Jamie Pallot (editorial director of Condé Nast Digital), Steven Torres (photo editor at style.com), Susan White (photo director at Vanity Fair), Andrew Egan (owner of CoolGraySeven Advertising Agency), Sasha Charnin (fashion director at US Weekly), Etheleen Staley (co-owner of Staley Wise Gallery), and Carlos Souza (Vice Presdient of PR at Valentino). My heartfelt appreciation and gratitude for their participation, and for making the classes as stimulating and informative as they were.
Every week I gave the students 2 assignments, one of which was to create a controversial ad. Included is one which, in my opinion, is amongst the best.
Work by Florenica Ventura
Wanted to pass along some advice gathered from industry pros. This is from Jamie Pallot, the Editorial Director of Condé Nast Digital. The question I asked him was how does one become a successful photographer today:
- Find your niche – How am I different?
- Don’t drown in technical options – stick to your vision: What do I want to say?
- Think beyond the picture – How do I present/communicate my work, brand myself, etc .
- Read! Keep up with current developments, read the key blogs and magazines.
- Collectivize – form, or join, a group or collective to pool resources, provide mutual support.
Ever been fearful of taking your shot, starting your own business, making that important phone call? Well, Jim Miotke, the creator of BetterPhoto.com, has come up wth a method to help all fellow photographers get over their fear and fully realize their goal. Let me share with you what Jim shared with me:
- Resistance is the enemy within
- Commit with Certainty
- Clarity causes confidence
- “When your vision is clear, discipline is a non-issue.” – Jim Collins, Author “Good to Great”
- Photo Technique
- Create “WOW!” images
- Learn the ingredients of a GREAT photo
- Get tips for trying “off-the-wall” stuff
- “Be bold and great forces will come to your aid.” - Goethe
© Andrea Blanch Photography
I, like so many of us, am sickened and disgusted by the oil spill in the gulf. Caring passionately about wild life and nature, I cannot stop thinking about the catastrophic effects this disaster is having on our ecosystem. Disheartened by the images of the helpless fish, birds, turtles, and marshes, I felt the need to express my sorrow. Alternative sustainable energy; let us as a collective have the wisdom to move forward and stop being slaves to oil. Amen.
My Soul’s Urge
It was a gallery-hopping weekend. Only the closing of the Monet would prompt me to leave my A.C. and see what was a wonderful exhibition.
Is someone considered a fine art photographer because they take their camera and point it at clouds, birds, ice, et cetera, and then click? Unless there is artistry brought to the photo by it’s composition, digital manipulation, concept or the presentation itself, in my opinion it’s documentary photograph.
With the latter thought in mind, the Yossi Milo Gallery is presenting “Retratos Pintados,” hand-painted photographic portraits collected from Brazil by Titus Reidl, a European historian. The painted vernaculars were popular from the late 19th to early 20th century in family homes in northeastern Brazil; this was before the introduction of color photography.
At first it struck me as odd that a collector was showing work not created by him at a gallery. I realized that the organization of the pieces was a main component in the artistry and aesthetics of the exhibition; the photos were framed and hung in clusters, reflecting the style in which they would have been traditionally presented in suburban Brazilian family homes.
As a fan of Anna Gaskell, I made sure to visit her exhibition this weekend at Yvon Lambert. The exhibition, “Turns Gravity,” featured various new photographs by Gaskell. I enjoyed the sense of mystery that Gaskell embeds in her photographs; they are intriguing and always keep the viewer wanting more.
Being a painter myself, Ragnar Kjartansson’s exhibition at Luhring Augustine was one I found truly compelling. Through the years, his technique and subject never change, which interests me.
Trine Sendergaard’s “Strude,” at the Bruce Silverstein gallery offered some captivating images. The Danish artist displayed a collection of photographs that displayed woman wearing traditional Danish mask-like garments, called strude (which is the inspiration for exhibition’s title), that were worn to cover their faces from the wind, sun and sand.
At the Casey Kaplan Gallery, Trisha Donnelly exhibited about 20 different sculptures. Donnelly is known for her usage of various mediums, which was evident in the abstract sculptures she displayed that ranged from wood, limestone, and photography. I was fascinated by the piece below, not only by its abstractive aesthetic, but its unique presentation as Donnelly displayed it with sound.
German native photographer, Julian Faulhaber, displayed various photographs at the Hasted Hunt Gallery titled LOWDESITYPOLYETHYLENE II. His photographs depicted various newly constructed sites with bright artificial lighting. The long exposure time resulted in images that appeared abstract and unreal. Additionally, I think that the composition of his photograph had a very architectural resonance.
The Andrea Rosen Gallery exhibited works of two very talented contemporary young artists, Nate Lowman, and Karla Black. Lowan’s and Black’s disparate forms of expression presented a contrasting yet harmonic dialogue between their works, essentially accentuating their common use of repetition to generate meanings of culture and language through art.
The Roy Lichtenstein exhibition, one of Pop Art’s most influential artists included some ofLichtenstein most prominent themes; fruits, vases, and flowers. On display also were some of his wonderful sculptures, an excellent reflection of his painting in a 3D form.
I find it fascinating that, even decades after his death, Lichtenstein’s work still looks fresh. Which brings to mind David Salle’s exhibition at the Marry Boone Gallery. It is evident that even the works that Salle did in the 80’s still looks recent and one can see his influence on the work of emerging artists.
Happy 4th of July everyone!
Above all nations, humanity.
Hope that everyone had a memorable 4th of July. These people have said it better than I could.
“Freedom is never at any price. It is the breath of life. What would a man not pay for living?”
I have always been among those who believed that the greatest freedom of speech was the greatest safety, because if a man is a fool, the best thing to do is to encourage him to advertise the fact by speaking.
Woodrow T. Wilson
Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.
George Bernard Shaw
“Better to starve free than to be a fat slave.”
Patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels.
A Photographer’s Dilemma
What do you do when you share the same idea with another artist but they get to showcase it first?
I recently took a photo of Merilin, a model from the Marilyn Agency and sent it to Dean, her booker. We asked Dean what he thought of the finished photo (below) where we placed butterflies around Merilin’s hair. He responded, “Love it, did you see the new Jill Stuart ad, Satoshi Saikusa shot Lindsey Wixson and used butterflies.” Damn, they got it out there first with broader exposure. The question was, should I use the photo or not? My decision was yes. I like the photo very much. I stand by my ideas, and as the saying goes, “great minds think a like.” What would you do?
To Test or Not to Test
Money or honor, they don’t have to be mutually exclusive, or do they? I’ve been testing a lot lately updating my beauty portfolio. It’s a difficult thing getting 3-5 people together on the same day and time when all are working for no pay. This morning, after the shoot was confirmed we got a message from the make-up artist saying that she got a paying job and because we didn’t confirm she took it. First let me say that I would never expect someone to turn down a money job. We do tests to do picture that will help us get work. However, there is a protocol, which in my opinion should be followed: such as letting people know ASAP that you are canceling, not waiting an hour after the decision has been made so that the rest of the crew comes to the shoot only to find that it’s not happening.
Saying that you did not receive a confirmation when the e-mail trail shows you did demonstrates a lack of integrity and sense of honor. Although no one wants to be the bearer of bad news, sometimes texting and e-mails aren’t received in time and a good old fashion phone call is the best way for immediate results, or at least all three ways of communication to ensure your massage gets through.
What happens when your photographic ideas remain just that- ideas? What happens if your photographic ideas are not realized as photographs, but rather as installations, conceptual projects, public-sited works, websites, videos, slideshows, or artist books? To find out, I took a workshop at ICP this past weekend, and for me, it opened new worlds of opportunities and possibilities for my works. In contemporary art, photographic processes are starting points that expand the notion of the standard on the wall. The technologies and ideas of photography were mined as a starting point for projects in expanded media. The course described various strategies and showed applicable work related to these concepts.
In the first class, we discussed the practices of participation and collaboration. Good examples of these concepts can be seen at:
- ·Zach Feuer Gallery, Michael Auder- Keeping Busy: An Inaccurate Survey
530 West 24th Street
- ·Eyebeam, Re:Group: Beyond Models of Consensus
540 W. 21st Street, (between 10th and 11th Avenue)
- ·The Kitchen, The Absolutely Other
512 West 19th Street (Between 10th and 11th Avenue, south side of the street)
I worked on a project that was in my files dormant, the results of which you’ll see very soon.
For me the class was fantastic, ready, progressive, stimulation, inspiring, and exhilarating.
It has been a very stressful couple of weeks.
One evening after work, I went to my computer and a website popped up with one of my interns portrait on it. I scrolled down to look at his work only to find five photos of mine which he renamed and claimed as his own. The next morning, I opened up the site again to show a friend and not only had he added five more photos of mine but put his copyright on all ten of those he had stolen. When I asked him why this happened, he calmly started double-talking. When I pointed out the discrepancies in his story, he only continued. When I asked him to take them down, he said in one week.”Not in one week,” I said, but “NOW.” He took them down quickly and I kindly gave him a second chance.
The following week, after finishing a shoot, he was working feverishly to finish retouching a photo I had taken that day. The following day, after he had left, I opened up his website and to my amazement and disbelief, he posted my photo under his authorship once more. I wrote him an e-mail, telling him not to come back and explained if he ever used any of my photos without my permission again, I would hire legal counsel. I was disappointed, felt betrayed and angry all at once. All I could think of was his arrogance, brazenness and psychopathic behavior. There was a THIEF among us and he had to go. Was his whole life a lie? Were any of the photos he claimed to have taken actually his? He is just starting out in this business, as an agent said to me, and it will be very difficult for him to work for anybody decent if they know he steals.
It’s been a stressful two weeks and my question to for you is: Do any of you know about a legal document that can protect photographers from employees from stealing files?
This past weekend, along with editing some recent photos, I went to see An Unfinished Film. I have seen many films dealing with the holocaust and Nazi concentration camps, but this film was so brutal and raw that it gave new meaning to the word SURVIVOR. It’s an important film for anyone who denies the existence of the holocaust and for the rest of us to remember and truly see the evil which only man can do.
On a lighter note, I also went to see Mike and Doug Starn’s Bamboo Garden on the Metropolitan museums roof. It was like an adult jungle gym; an elaborate, intricate, and wondrous structure that was truly amazing and great fun. Originally, The World of Interiors magazine approached the Starn brothers London gallerist to see if they would be interested in making this bamboo garden to be photographed by the magazine. The gallerist, thinking it wasn’t prestigious enough, told the brothers to turn it down. Against his advice, they went ahead with the project and upon seeing it, The Met commissioned the Starn’s to create it again for the rooftop of the Museum. A lesson to all you artists out there; FOLLOW YOUR GUT.
Another new find – my dear friend Georgette Farka’s does PR for Daniel’s Restaurant Group and suggested we try the Food Hall at the Plaza Hotel. It was casual, counter eating with wine service and a variety of different foods (fish, meats, pasta etc.) all at different counters. Convenient, tasty and fun – try it!
In regards to my recent post entitled “Beware!,” I’ve had this agreement written to protect my work from being claimed by any future interns or employees as their own. I would like to share this document with all of you so you can avoid any similar problems that I’ve come across.
WORK MADE FOR HIRE AGREEMENT
The undersigned agrees that in consideration for my retention as an [independent contractor] [intern] by __________________ (“_______”) tand for good and valuable consideration, the receipt of which is expressly acknowledged, that all the products and results of the services to be rendered by me hereunder (the “Work”) to be a work made for hire as that term is defined in the United States Copyright Act and other applicable laws. I acknowledge and agree that the Work (and all rights therein, including, without limitation, copyright) belongs to and shall be the sole and exclusive property of __________________.
If for any reason the Work would not be considered a work made for hire under applicable law, I do hereby sell, assign, and transfer to ________________, her successors and assigns, the entire right, title and interest in and to the copyright in the Work and any registrations and copyright applications relating thereto and any renewals and extensions thereof, and in and to all works based upon, derived from, or incorporating the Work, and in and to all income, royalties, damages, claims and payments now or hereafter due or payable with respect thereto, and in and to all causes of action, either in law or in equity for past, present, or future infringement based on the copyrights, and in and to all rights corresponding to the foregoing throughout the world.
I expressly declare that I will make no claims to ownership or ownership of derivative works concerning the Work.
If the Work is one to which the provisions of 17 U.S.C. 106A apply, I hereby waive and appoint ___________ to assert on my behalf any moral rights or any equivalent rights regarding the form or extent of any alteration to the Work (including, without limitation, removal or destruction) or the making of any derivative works based on the Work, including, without limitation, photographs, drawings or other visual reproductions or the Work, in any medium. To the extent any of the foregoing is ineffective under applicable law, I hereby provide any and all ratifications and consents necessary to accomplish the purposes of the foregoing to the extent possible. I will confirm any such ratifications and consents from time to time as requested by ________.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned has duly executed this agreement as of the date below.
Name: ____________________________ Date:___________________
The Dumped Project
Have you ever been dumped and left feeling like you had more to say? Send me a video! The Dumped Project is a community platform for everyone who has ever felt angry, upset, hurt or happy about their break ups! The Dumped Project was created with the intent of defining a space for anyone to speak freely without the fear of judgment – we’ve all been there.
I would love for every one of you to join in and make of video of your own, detailing anything you wanted to say but couldn’t! Take some time, vent and tell the world about your experience!
A New Start
I’m so happy to report everything is moving forward again! The blog is back up (virus free!) with a newly designed logo, TheDumpedProject.com launched and my class at ICP begins in only ten days. The name of the course has changed to The Art of Fashion Photography: Vision and Practice, I have a wonderful line up of guest speakers and am just now finalizing the syllabus! On top of that, my beauty portfolio is near completion (printing while I type) and I saw some exciting shows over the weekend! All in all, this has been the busiest week of the summer by far.
The Steven Kasher gallery has a historical show with photos from Max’s Kansas City. It was so great to see Deborah Harry in her twenties – so beautiful and glam – with all the other characters who frequented Max’s. This exhibition I hold close to my heart because I was a waitress there for eight months when I was younger. (I quit just after I managed to carry eight plates up my arm and across the room. I wasn’t intending to make a career out of it.) The atmosphere was electric, buzzing and full of creative people who were responsible for New York night life at the time. I have many secrets and stories to tell, but I’ll save them for another time and venue!
I also went to see a young artist named Rachel Owens at the Zieher Smith Gallery. The current exhibit is Owens’ fourth solo show and will incorporate a dialogical theater project to her more traditional sculptural practices. These two elements together manifest her interest in issues of social and political subjugation.
I then moved on to Bortolami and saw their group exhibition of all the artists they’ve exhibited through the years. Included in the show are Terrence Koh, Rashid Johnson, David Salle and Jack Pierson to name a few.
By the way, my good friend Belle McIntyre is having a photo exhibit at Tucker Robbins Gallery. Her work is totally otherworldly and highly recommended!
Which is Better?
Old friends vs. new friends?
No art vs. bad art?
Marcos Lopez designed a couple of comp cards to leave with clients after they see my portfolio. What’s your opinion? Which is your favorite?
I went to see some galleries on the Lower East Side this weekend with my friend from college, Terri Katz Kasimov, that I hadn’t seen since I graduated. I had such a good time. Terri is an artist that does absolutely amazing paintings and collages. We spent three hours catching up at Minetta Tavern which, in my opinion, has the best Bloody Marys in New York. Being with her felt like putting on an old glove – familiar, comfortable and loving. It started making me think about old friends versus new friends.
Then we moved onto the galleries! I liked Sue Scotts show by Kirsi Mikkola. It seems like collage is the medium of the moment. The Dodge Gallery is a great space which is hosting a group show at the moment and on October 2nd where David Cole is opening – looks like it will be a winner. Thierry Goldberg Projects is showing Claudia Joskowicz which is very provocative. I like the fact that the lower east side is open on Sundays but the art is different from Chelsea. From what I’ve seen, it’s not as polished but can still be as good and fresh. Although, I must confess, I didn’t see any work I fell in love with and actually was a bit disappointed. Hmm.. started thinking is it better to see bad art or no art at all?
Old friend vs. new friends?
No art vs. bad art?
What do you think??
It’s that time of year again – Breast Cancer Awareness Week – something I care deeply about. In 2006, I had a sold out exhibition at the Staley-Wise Gallery and half of the proceeds went to the Breast Cancer Foundation. This photo, entitled Clooney, was included in the exhibition along with fifteen others. If anyone is interested in seeing more photos to purchase prints please contact me. Half of the proceeds will be donated to the Breast Cancer Foundation just as they were originally.
I am so excited and pleased that my beauty portfolio is finished! With a group of many talented people who worked with me, I am very happy with the result and many months of work and collaboration. A big thanks and heartfelt gratitude to all the makeup artists and hair stylists who worked with me on this effort.
Sarah Jane Sheehy
And the model agencies and bookers who were also so helpful getting me the wonderful girls to work with.
Trump Models – Duane
Click Modeling Agency – Jules and Paul
Marilyn Agency – Dean
Ford Models – Mallory
Red Model Management – Kristin
Major Model Managment – Christine
Next Models – Tammy
Women Direct – Jenny
APM Model Management – Shawn
Special thanks to Ray Brown, owner of Hudson Studios where some of the shooting took place.
Here and Now
Saw Hereafter by Clint Eastwood last night. The story, structure, acting and cinematography were all wonderful and you leave feeling light and touched. I highly recommend it. I don’t know if I believe in the hereafter but I do about this film.
Made a composite of all the girls I worked with on my beauty portfolio. Thinking of using it on the last page. Let me know what you think?
Any ideas for getting my Dumped project to a wider audience, love to know.
Oh what a night!!!
This is my third session teaching at ICP and the class I have now is so talented and stimulating. Last week when I looked at their assignments I was blown away by their originality and creativity. The first and second image were the result of the assignment I gave to create a controversial ad. The assignment for the third and fourth image was to pick a theme and then photograph it as a snapshot and a staged photoshoot.. here they are, what do you think?
Art – it’s my fix, need it at least once every week. Here we go -
At MoMA, there is an exhibit called New Photography 2010, which includes work from four different photographers; Roe Ethridge, Elad Lassry, Alex Prager, and Amanda Ross-Ho. Although they are four different distinct artists, they all reference print media, film, and commercial.
Went to see the Al Taylor exhibit presented by the David Zwirner Gallery, which had two series: Rim Jobs, and Sideffects. In the Rim Jobs series, he mixes both 3 dimensional works as well as drawings that accompany those pieces. Sideffects is an installation of 34 pieces hung on a double-sided wall. He put pole-like objects onto the wall, protuding outwards in an irregular manner, making the viewer think that they come through the other side. His approach was to make the viewer “see more” and explore the relationships between subject matter and space.
At the Murray Guy Gallery, saw a solo photography exhibit by An-My Le, which showcases her most recent work from her trip with the United States armed forces. From intimate to grand, she mixes portraits with scenes of war landscape. Love this one.
Elizabeth Dee presents an exhibit from Adrian Piper, a solo historical exhibition…includes large scale installations, sculptures, videos…deliberately confrontational and powerful.
Saw the Alex Hubbard exhibit at The Kitchen Gallery, called Death Never Sleeps. Includes new videos and paintings, the videos are more chaotic and random, showing distinctive places shot on location in Oregon, and the paintings are layers of different materials from fiberglass to canvas.
Tribble & Mancenido had an exhibit called Hurry Up & Wait at the Sasha Wolf Gallery. They got their Commercial Driver’s Licenses and went on a truck driving trip. Keeping road photography in mind, they went out to explore the society of truckers who keep our economy moving. Due to the photographs that were taken and shown, it was very unusual because there weren’t a lot.
Also worth a mention, the D’Amelio Terras Gallery presented Polly Apfelbaum, featuring solo exhibit of her floor-based fabric installation.
Last night at class I had three speakers join us. They were James Danziger from Danziger Projects, Dean Rogers from Marilyn Gauthier, and Mazdack Rassi from Milk Studios. It was one of my best classes ever and the students loved it.
Here is another student photo from the assignment I gave to create a controversial ad.
Another great session at ICP ended last night. It was my best class ever and I’d like to thank my guest speakers for making the classes so rewarding. Thank you to Susan White, Carlos Souza, Jaime Pallot, Geordie Wood, Dean Rodgers, Mazdack Rassi, James Danziger, Martha North, Martyn Thompson and Amy Gustantino.
Here is another photo by one of my students, Chris Santos. The assignment was to create a controversial ad.
I will be posting more of the students’ work very soon.
Last week I attended the Impressionist And Modern Art auction at Christie’s and was there during the bidding for the Matisse sculpture which, I believe, Larry Gagosian won for a record breaking $48,802,500. It was exciting and surreal all at once and I couldn’t help thinking how else that money could be spent.
I highly recommend Vik Muniz’s ‘Wasteland’. Not a boring moment during the film, it was emotionally and politically charged. Vik’s a humanitarian, no doubt, and he’s already seen results of his efforts. A great project and a must see.
I went to Francesco Clemente’s opening at Mary Boone’s gallery. I love his work. Some terrific pieces were in the show and as always, a stellar crowd.
Also recommended is Vincente Wolf’s photographic collection of Frida Kahlo’s personal photography, which he made into a book published by Pointed Leaf Press named ‘Photographs Of Myself And Others’. Great art direction by Sam Shahid, by the way.
I also attended the NY Art Book Fair at the Museum of Modern Art over the weekend. I found a particularly interesting item, an international photography magazine named ‘Foam’. I recommend taking a look.
My new schedule for blog posts will be Monday or Tuesday.
Eastern Standard Time, Uck!!
It’s the time to get cozy with animals.
Below are more photos from a few students that were in my class.
One assignment was to choose a theme and shoot from up-close then far away. One student, Ester, chose wine as her theme.
Another assignment was to create a fashion story. Here are some of Victor’s photos.
Went to the Brooklyn Museum and saw Fred Tomaselli’s show. Reminds me of being on psychedelic drugs. His technique in which he covers his canvases in resin has been influenced by his surfing days and the resin that is used for surfboards. Nature and collage have also played a big part in his work and, for me, was reminiscent of Damien Hirst’s butterfly paintings but the comparison stops there. The result is wildly imaginative, colorful, and detailed. In his new work he cuts out a photo from the front page of The New York Times. Then he paints on it, photographs it, then scans and prints the image.
Then onto “Suductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists, 1958-1968″. Women were doing such incredible work at that time and most people have never heard of them.
There were paintings, sculpture, and mixed media. I especially like Marjorie Strider, a painter who made her paintings sculptural by inserting wooden elements and forms which seemingly become one with the painting.
Also not to be missed is Sam Taylor-Wood’s landscape photographs of the Yorkshire Moors in the exibhition ‘Ghosts’. The concept was to follow the footpath of the Bronte sisters in Wuthering Heights up to Top Withens. On a typically English bad-weather day, she set out and followed the path that led from their home. I like the idea a lot. The photos were captivating and a successful departure for Ms. Wood.
Getting ready for Thanksgiving. Going to deliver meals for God’s Love We Deliver, love this holiday!
Had such a good time at the Bergdorf party for the celebration of Linda Fargo and Bob Hoey’s book ‘Windows’. Great crowd, music, and Linda looked amazing.
It was an Art Friday- saw 35 exhibitions in Chelsea; lots of great art being shown. Can’t wait for Miami Basel.
Hiroshi Sugimoto: The Day After – Pace Gallery
Thomas Nozkowski: Recent Work – Pace Gallery
Lucas Samaras: Poses/Born Actors – Pace Gallery
Brice Marden: Letters – Matthew Marks Gallery
Roxy Paine: Distillation – James Cohan Gallery
Robert Rauschenberg – Gagosian Gallery
Anselm Kiefer: Next Year in Jerusalem – Gagosian Gallery
Here are some more recommended gallery shows I attended last weekend.
Collier Schorr, ‘Journals & Notebooks’ at the 303 Gallery
Friedrich Kunath, ‘Tropical Depression’ at the Andrea Rosen Gallery
Ugo Rondinone, ‘Nude’ ath the Gladstone Gallery
Michael Wolf, ‘iseeyou’ at the Bruce Silverstein Gallery
Rachel Perry Welty: ‘Lost in My Life’ ath the Yancey Richardson Gallery
Jorge Queiroz at Sikkema Jenkins & Co.
Ilene Seganove, ‘The Dissatisfactions Of Ilene Segalove’ at the Andrea Rosen Gallery
Luc Tuymans, ‘Corporate’ at the David Zwirner Gallery
Hans Hartung, ‘The Last Paintings’ at Cheim & Reid
Maria Lassnig at The Friedrich Petzel Gallery
Elad Lassry at Luhring Augustine
Nothing new to comment on since I’ve been sick in bed all week!
Off to Miami Basel.
See you at the next post.
Just returned rom Miami and Art Basel. The weather was terrific, the scene extremely social and surprisingly friendly and relaxed. It seems a lot of the people who were there have been before, know the drill, made their choices of what shows to see or not and thoroughly enjoyed the week. I’ll keep going and recommend it to anyone who has an interest. The highlight of my week was a party I went to at Arnold Lehman’s apartment, who is the head of the Brooklyn Museum. Artists Kehinde Wiley, Hank Willis Thomas, and Mickalene Thomas were all present. It was wonderful meeting thses artists and engaging them in conversation; all of them had a lot to say. Here are some examples of their work:
One trend I observed are works which are extremely complicated and take an extraordinarily long time to make. when it pays off it’s mind blowing. On the other hand, I can’t help but think true genius takes one stroke or simply minutes.
Can’t say anymore that hasn’t already been written about the fair so i’ll show some photos of works I liked:
I went to see Peter Greenaway’s installation at the Park Avenue Armory this past weekend. While a lot of people I spoke with didn’t like it, I couldn’t help but marvel at the technology behind it and how beautiful the installation is. More importantly, I learned and saw things about the painting I didn’t know before. Go and see it and let me know what you think. The Last Supper is a visual delight.
This will be the last post until the first week of the new year. A Healthy & Happy New Year to all of you who follow this post and for all of us Peace & Prosperity.
A New Discovery
This is my first blog of the New Year, unfortunately for most of the holiday I was sick with a terrible cold-flu that seemed to infect most of New York or at least many of my friends. As soon as I felt better and went out I relapsed which happened three times which brings us to today. As you can imagine nothing much happened during this time. I did manage however to take a course on Collage and Montage from Sean Justice at ICP for 5 consecutive days, 6-10 at night, It was a great class, very intense. Sean is a wonderful teacher. I’ll post the work in the coming weeks.
The sweetest surprise happened one day at my studio. Being curious, I asked one of my interns if his girlfriend was pretty, Mitch said yes and I then asked if he had any pictures of her. He showed me a couple of photos, I was wowed. I asked him if Claudia (that’s her name) ever thought of modeling. Claudia was coming to New York to visit for the weekend, so I called up my friend Frances Grill, owner of Click Models, told her about Claudia and asked her if she wanted to see her on Sunday. Frances saw her Sunday, on Monday Click signed her. Tuesday I took test photos of Claudia some of which you see below. Claudia stands 5’11’’ in her bare feet with dark wavy hair and the most beautiful blue eyes, great line and the sweetest girl ever. This felt good, this felt right.
Claudia has moved from Rhode Island to New York and is starting her career with Click as a New York model. Good luck Claudia, much love –
Last week, I received an e-mail from a fan of Gia’s who wanted to buy a photo of her taken in the 1980′s. During the negotiation I spoke with Frances Grill, owner of Click modeling agency, who advises me from time to time. Fran asked if I have this photo in my portfolio book; and when I said no, Fran suggested it should be. Since my current work revolves around beauty, I find it a bit inappropriate for my book, even though Fran thinks it is an important image which transcends fashion. Nevertheless, I adored Gia and wanted to share it, so Gia and the image wouldn’t be forgotten.
As a model and a person, Gia was special. Working with her was unpredictable, challenging, and dynamic — she was sensual, creative, smart, and gifted with a rare sensitivity. Gia was a gem in a business with many stones. I feel privileged and grateful to have collaborated with her so many times — she gave me so many wonderful shots. I truly miss her.
A Wild Ride
Hoo ha! Visited Dallas this past weekend to celebrate my dad’s birthday. Had a discussion about global warming with my brother; he sides with the notion and NASA scientists that the earth is in a cooling period for the next fifty years while I agree with Al Gore, it’s global warming baby all the way. This conversation is taking place as five inches of snow are falling on Dallas.
We eventually moved onto the rodeo over in Fort Worth. My sister-in-law, a New York transplant to Dallas, just loves the cowboys. And yes they are handsome, athletic and old fashioned manly (no metrosexuals here).
After all the athletes came into the ring the Star Spangled Banner is sung, fire works go off, followed by a prayer of thanks to God (where am I) and then the first act appears. The razzle dazzle and extraordinary athleticism by the performers and horses is fun to watch. Glad I was dragged along.
A New Beauty; Nyasha, Marilyn Agency
Every 3rd Wednesday of each month a group of photographers get together to watch four or five other photographers show approximately 40 images of there work. I was contacted and asked to show my work last night. Nature, commercial, “beauty, fashion”, fine art, and editorial photographers all showed. I did a quick review of my career starting at the beginning and ending with my latest efforts. I met Connie of Guzman and asked if she would speak at my next ICP class and also saw a beautiful lad and asked if he’d let me photograph him. It was interesting, fun, and inspiring to see and know, if you love shooting there is an infinite world of possibilities.
Went to 192 Book Store to listen to Tina Barney regarding her new book Players; it’s an amalgam of her fine art, fashion, and commissioned work. I always love hearing other photographers talk about their work, listening to stories about the shootings, their technique, and how they shoot, etc.
“Do you ever take photos without any people in them?”, I asked Tina. “No,” she said, “but I admire people who do.”
This past weekend, I also went to Chelsea and checked out a few shows.
First up: David Zwirner Gallery. I saw Christopher Williams’s show “For Example: Dix-Huit Lecons Sur La Societe Industrielle (Revision 12). This show wrapped earlier this month, but you can check it out online at David Zwirner Gallery.
“Williams prefers to distance himself from the gestures typically associated with professional photographers, re- locating his practice across a complex series of citations and diversions of modern photographic knowledge. Every camera predicts its user, who is already included in its program. So Williams goes to work on the program itself, confronting it with the potential of his own joblessness…” -John Kelsey, from David Zwirner press release
One of David Zwirner’s current exhibitions is “Eleven” by Philip-Lorca DiCorcia, which consists exclusively on his fashion work, from a series of 11 editorial projects for W magazine dated 1997 to 2008. The exhibition will be open until March 5th.
“Over the past decades, [DiCorcia] has been influential in rewriting the genre of street photography and the photographic notion of the ‘decisive moment’ popularized by Henri-Cartier Bresson in the early 20th century. Deploying characters in preconceived yet seemingly random poses and contexts, diCorcia’s photographs are far from candid snapshots, but rather explore the idea of the ‘indecisive moment’ and revolve around a tension between the casual and the posed, the accidental and the fated.”–from a press release by David Zwirner gallery
Next up: Francesco Vezzoli at Gagosian Gallery. He’s showing from his series Sacrilegio, which is his first solo show in New York City. It’s a fascinating mash-up of classical Renaissance images and contemporary celebrity iconography.
“As the title of the exhibition suggests, Vezzoli has pushed his ideas regarding the sanctification of secular and materialistic obsessions to their ultimate hyperbole. Transforming Gagosian’s vast gallery into a Renaissance-style chapel he has installed enlarged reinterpretations of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Madonna-and-child paintings, [...] but instead of beatific Madonnas that grace each of the historical precedents, Vezzoli’s women are contemporary supermodels. In conflating supermodels with historical religious icons, Vezzoli points to the societal worship of figures from the fashion and celebrity industries.” –From Gagosian Gallery‘s press release
I also checked out Naomi Leshem’s new show, Between Zones, which contains selections from two recent bodies of work. It recently wrapped at Andrea Meislin Gallery, you can see it here.
“The exhibition includes two distinct but complementary bodies of work. Runways shows images of young women standing on all nine of Israel’s active military service runways and Sleepers captures adolescent boys and girls at their most vulnerable: asleep at night in their beds. Both series speak of a momentary limbo between states, between consciousness and between the milestones of young life.”–from the press release at Andrea Meislin Gallery
Also went to L & M Arts to see David Hammons. According to Howard Halle for Time Out New York magazine, “His current exhibition is [...] the best solo show so far this year. The objects work their way into your mind with multiple layers of meaning; if you give them enough time, they will whup you upside the head.”
What John Galliano said was disgusting and the consequences of his words were just. But it’s a tragedy for us as well as for him when someone with such an enormous talent will never shine again. I’m Jewish and have been subjected to anti-Semitic remarks many times in my life, still, I’ll miss his soaring imagination and showmanship. Goodbye John!
Last night I went to a fashion and beauty summit at the Chelsea Pearl. Speakers included David Yurman, William Lauder, and Efraim Grinberg. When asked what their thoughts were regarding Galliano, there was at first a bit of hesitation, the William Lauder lead by saying the LVMH acted swiftly and correctly. He added that whatever Galliano’s personal feelings are, they should not have been stated publicly. All the others agreed.
What are your thoughts?
Went to some galleries last weekend. Here are some of my picks and recommendations!
I checked out Berlinde deBruyckere at Hauser and Wirth. The show was a collection of sculpture and sketches depicting distorted forms of the human body. Overall, it really reminded me of Fraces Bacon’s work–you get the same feeling from deBruyckere’s work as you get from a Bacon painting. Totally provocative and highly recommended. See it until April 23rd.
Fashioned from wax, the gray flesh of De Bruyckere’s subjects achieves an eerie realism and paleness [...] here suggestive of terror and pain but also a sophisticated sensuality. [...] Each resulting wax body appears frozen in the middle of an exaggerated dance that evokes mortification, struggle, passion, and pathos. In one sculpture, De Bruyckere has locked the torsos and limbs of two figures in such a way that it is impossible to determine whether they are struggling to break apart or clinging to one another’s life force in a last effort against an inevitable and all too mortal future.”
I also checked out Evan Penny’s work at Sperone Westwater. He creates extremely lifelike sculptures, but distorts the figures. Another highly recommended show!
“For this exhibition of five new works, Penny continues to create altered renderings of the human figure made of silicone, pigment, hair, fabric and aluminum. Penny pushes the limits of figural representation through distortions of stretching, skewing, exaggerated scale and the effect of time on self-perception. These new works further the boundary between the real and the unreal, truth and imagination, and photography and sculpture.”
Laurie Simmons is showing a new body of work at Salon 94, consisting of portraits of highly realistic, customized “love dolls” from Japan.
“Simmons [...] transformed [her home] into an artfully staged, color-coordinated, oversized dollhouse. The Love Doll series is not only a reminder of Simmon’s past examinations of the dollhouse, but also engages with adult fantasies and fetishes, infused with an even more potent sense of desire and regret.”
At Lehmann Maupin, I checked out Angel Otero’s paintings, which is an interesting mix of color and texture.
Otero interweaves traditional Spanish Baroque imagery with personal subject matter, employing unconventional techniques to create large-scale, dynamic expressionistic abstractions [...] Through his innovative process of oil paint scraping, Otero venerates historical oil painting while confronting it head on. Materials such as canvas, desks, dining tables, and frames are treated as sculptural, three-dimensional surfaces utilizing two-dimensional techniques. [...] With his creations Otero says he wishes to “give a sense of abundance, unbalance, ambition, courage, and persistence within form, color and texture in every painting.”
Next up: another painter. Jonas Wood is showing at Anton Wood Gallery until the end of the month. This body of work mostly depicts interior spaces and the people who inhabit them. An interesting mix of portraiture and still life/interior, overall.
“A painting such as ‘The Hypnotist’ [pictured] exemplifies Wood’s narrative potential most clearly. It not only confronts the viewer with a complexity constructed, disorienting space inhabited by two figures, the faith healer and the artist, but it turns the entire scene into a creepy psycho thriller with the healer’s stare violently pushing the artist against the margin of the painting, while they hypnotist’s framed posters and memorbilia pop out at the viewer like an out-of-body super-sonic film strip.”
Finally, over at Yancey Richardson Gallery, Richard Misrach just closed a show on Greece on Feb. 19th, taken from a series dated 1979-1981. He photographed iconic ruins in twilight, which was a fresh and new perspective on these over-photographed sites.
“The works in the exhibition represent a turning point in the artist’s oeuvre, marking the end of his nighttime studies and the beginning of his color photography [...] the immediacy and tactility in these early dye transfer works have directly influenced Misrach’s practices from the 1980′s to the present day.”
Photos, photos, and more photos.
Been putting together the curriculum for my class at ICP, “The Art of
Fashion Photography: Vision and Practice”. So far guest speakers
include Scott Shulman, Jaime Pallot, Martyn Thompson, Guzman, Walker
Waugh the director from the Yancey Richardson Gallery, and Carlos Souza.
Still need an photo editor & art director: does anyone have any suggestions
When I showed my work at The Photographer’s Salon at the Soho Photo
Gallery there was this beautiful boy, Jackson Gallagher, who
accompanied Jay Meisel, he caught my eye. I asked if I could
photograph him & one of the many images is below. Jackson is
a star, what do you think?
Last weekend, I attended the APAD Show. What struck me was how much
vintage photography was shown and how many contemporary photographers
are using old printing techniques to affect results.An example of this
is Beth Moon at the Vision Neil Folberg Gallery in Jerusalem, Israel,
Alex Soth’s latest work Broken Manuel at the Weinstien Gallery in Minneapolis
Minnesota is epic. His photos are mystifying, some chilling, but always with a wit
& humanity; I loved it!
Yancey Richardson and M & B Galleries has a good representation of Alex
Prager and Yossi Miller had some fantastic images from Peter Hugo,
Loretta Lux, and Simon Jahan, etc.
I also visited “reGeneration Sqaured, Tomorrow’s Photographers Today”
at the Aperture Foundation. Many photographers were presented and I am
pleased to say the future looks bright!
Went to the Architectural Digest Show and saw Dining by Design for
Diffa. Margaret Russell won an award for her contribution and work with
Diffa, the foundation that she started for the design community to fight
AIDS 20 years ago. Brava, Margaret! Congratulations!
Blanch V. Koons
Over the last couple of weeks, there has been an unusual amount of buzz about the landmark appropriation case that I was involved in a few years ago with Jeff Koons. It was the main subject of discussion in my assistant’s class last week, and this week a law student mentioned it. My assistant and collaborator, Corey Scott Arter, thought it would be great to get my side of the story…
COREY: We live in an age where appropriation has become very mainstream. It’s something that every contemporary artist must face one way or another – and having come face to face with this yourself, how do you sum up your experience?
ANDREA: I lost.
C: Very succinct. Okay, so what are your thoughts on appropriation today?
A: Well, I think it’s all right – I didn’t think it was okay before my case, because I never did it. I always tried to be original, but times have changed; and it’s not about being original anymore. I feel that it can be a useful tool, but I think if you’re going to do it, out of respect for the person you’re appropriating from, you should ask permission. And [Koons] did not ask my permission.
C: How did you discover the appropriation?
A: I went to the Guggenheim…and right before I left, I saw that Koons was having an exhibition there. I wasn’t exactly a fan of his work, but I figured, I’m here, I should have a look. So, I had a look, and when I got to the last piece I stopped; and it hit me, that’s my picture!
C: And what was the first thought that came to you when you realized he had used your photograph?
A: I was flattered – I went home and called all of my friends. Every one of my friends said the same thing: “Did he ask your permission? Is your name up there? You should sue him.” The thought of suing never crossed my mind. I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt, but then something happened a couple of weeks later. A friend of mine went to a party and saw [Koons] there. She told him “my friend Andrea Blanch is so excited, she saw her photograph in one of your paintings”. And then he turned gray. He knew that he’d done it, and he didn’t bother to ask permission. I thought, “Yeah, I’m suing”. That’s how it happened.
C: Throughout the case, Koons defended the work on the grounds that it was a cultural criticism. What are your thoughts on this?
A: I don’t see him as somebody who is a sociologist or an anthropologist in any way. And quite frankly, I don’t understand all of his work. I just know that he appropriated my image, and he should have asked for permission to use it. As for his justification, I’m not in the man’s head, and he has a history of appropriating work.
C: In 2007, one of Koons’ pieces, The Hanging Heart, sold at Sotheby’s for $23.6 million, making it one of the most expensive pieces to auction by a living artist. What do you make of that?
A: Good for him.
C: When you compare yourself to your contemporaries, do you include Koons in that bracket of artists – or do you view him as more of a commercial art entity?
A: I have to say that since the whole case happened, I’ve spent more time looking at his work; and I’ve gained an appreciation for it. It’s conceptual – so either you like the concept or not. Some of the things I like, and others are kind of silly. But nonetheless, I guess enough people like it.
C: Do you ever appropriate work yourself?
A: Other people inspire me, but directly appropriating the way he did – no, I don’t think so.
C: As appropriating becomes a larger movement, do you think there’s enough legal protection for originators?
A: I think there should be more consideration for the original artist and the art that is appropriated. It’s very possible that Koons’ honest intention was to make a cultural statement, but I still believe that it’s not good enough. If I were dead, fine. But I’m a living person, and he should have asked my permission. Bottom line.
AIPAD Show at the Armory 3/17–3/20
Joan Buck invited me to the opening night of Martha Graham’s 85th season on March 15th. Robert Wilson choreographed and did the sets for “Snow on the Mesa”, the first part of the program, which is a portrait of Martha Graham’s life. Joan delivered a brief introduction for Robert Wilson, speaking elegantly and poignantly before presenting him to the audience. It was fantastic!
The second part of the program featured “Maple Leaf Rag”, which is the last dance Martha Graham choreographed before she died. It was playful and witty, a parody of movement. Surprisingly, 5 philanthropic socialites (Muffie Potter Aston, Grace Hightower deNiro, Somers Farkas, Cornelia Guest and Karen LeFrack) were asked to perform and share the spotlight with the troupe’s dancers.
I also got the chance to see “Arcadia” by Tom Stoppard on Broadway, directed by David Leveaux. I really enjoyed the show, it’s such a terrific story, and David Leveaux’s direction was wonderful. I loved the staging. (By the way, Billy Crudup is a fantastic actor and great to look at!)
Now onto my gallery tours! First stop this weekend was the latest show from Lombard-Freid Projects, “Minor Cropping May Occur”, a group show of international photographers who share a diaristic style in their approach to their subjects and images. The work spans from 1962-2011, and the photographers are from all over the world. Although from diverse regions and eras, the unity of the images is truly fascinating. I loved this show–the spontaneity of the photos looked so fresh after seeing so many staged photographs over the years.
“Most [photographers] operate in the gap between tradtional street photography and postmodern set-up photography. Their subjects are drawn from real life, and most are captured on the fly, yet with a degree of intimacy–and occasionally staging–that creates its own intense artifice.”–from the New York Times, “Art in Review”
Next up was Sascha Wolf Gallery, which is showing David Nadel’s series “Burns”. I really loved the beauty of these photographs depicting the Northwestern Montana woods, which Nadel shot over a period of four years.
“David Nadal has spent much of the last four years photographing the remains of burned down forests in Northwest Montana from the Swan to the Apgar and Whitefish ranges. While hiking up mountains and wandering through trail-less terrain, with his large format camera in tow, Nade has created a lonely and haunting body of work.” (from gallery press release. Photo by Motoyuki Daifu)
I spoke to Sascha and she told me that she just took on Elinor Carucci. While her show won’t be up until the fall, one can start seeing her work as soon as next week.
A sample of Carucci’s intensely personal work, “After the Argument” from 2003.
I then checked out Paul Kasmin gallery, which was showing two distinctive bodies of work, “Drawing with Light: Paper Negative, 1842-1864″ and an installation from the Chilean artist Ivan Navarro, called “Heaven or Las Vegas”. I especially enjoyed “Drawing with Light”, which presented old paper negatives mounted on lightboxes. I was overwhelmed by the beauty and how exquisite they are.
“Including works by pioneering photographers William Henry Fox Talbot, Charles Negre, Dr John Murray, Frederick Flacheron nd Louis-Remy Robert, the exhibition provides a rare glimpse into the early history of photography.” (from gallery press release)
“For Heaven or Las Vegas, the artist has created a series of fluorescent light wall sculptures based on the floor plans of twelve of the world’s most well known skyscrapers, including the Flatiron Building in New York, the Jumeirah Emirates Towers in Dubai and The Center in Hong Kong. Through a positioned play of mirrors and lights, viewers have the experience of looking up into the interior elevation of each building, many of which tower more than 1,000 feet high in actuality. Within each work, Navarro has incorporated significant words or phrases like SURRENDER, RESIST, and YOU SAY YES, which echo like suggestions or commands through each structure’s illusory depth. ” (from gallery press release)
Went to a birthday party and brunch at the James Solomon Gallery for artist Meghan Boody, whose show “Psyche and Smut” has just wrapped. Meghan’s imagination, industriousness, and technical ability are astounding. Just like Meghan herself, her work is eccentric, friendly, and very complicated. Can’t wait to photograph her!
Then, onto Tara Donovan at Pace Gallery… I love her. The installation is absolutely, amazingly beautiful!
“In Donovan’s new installation, sheets of Mylar grow into towering organic structures of varying heights rising up to approximately 11 feet tall. As with the artist’s pin drawings [...], light plays a pivotal role in the work as it catches the folds of the Mylar and radiates off its undulating metallic surfaces. ‘Tara Donovan: Untitled (Mylar), 2011′ marks the first major solo exhibition devoted to Donovan’s large-scale installation or sculptural work in New York City since ‘Donovan at the Met’ was extended for nearly a full year by popular demand.”
Victoria Sambunaris’s “The Border” at Yancey Richardson was interesting, but I have to say I was more impressed by her ambition and passion for the project than the results.
Also checked out Stan Douglas at David Zwirner, which is showing his collection “Midcentury Studio”. I liked the work, but I wanted to ask what motivated Stan to make this work and what he wanted the viewer to understand.
“Douglas’s films, which are often randomly looped and may take days to unfold, defy straightforward expectations of narrative and authorship, while his photographs–sometimes heavily retouched–deliberately eschew a linear reading. Examining the contrasts between personal, subjective impressions of a given place or past event and the prevailing, ‘official’ representation of the same location or occurence, Douglas rethinks linguistic and aesthetic structures while at the same time grounding his works in specific material or political circumstances.”
I loved the Tribeca Ball! It was the first time I’d gone. I enjoyed meeting with the artists and the opportunity to see their studios. I found a couple whose work I’d love to own: sculptor John O’Reilly and painter Maya Brodsky. Am looking forward to next year.
John O’Reilly, Sculptor. Website.
Maya Brodsky, Painter. Website.
Frances McDormand is wonderful in “Good People”, as is the whole cast. The subject matter is timely and universal.
“Hanna” is a new movie directed by Joe Wright and starring Cate Blanchett and Eric Banna. It is terrific, fast-paced and grabs your attention from beginning to end.
One last thought without being redundant: My friend Steve Miller wrote me on Facebook regarding “Blanch v. Koons”, copyright infringement being familiar to him since he sued Chanel for copying one of his images and taking it as their own. I’d like to share his thoughts with you since I agree wholeheartedly.
“Crazy busy but good to hear from you. I read every word of the Prince depositions, motions and court ruling. Very weird decision on the judges part. She argues that Jeff won against you because he was articulate about the use of your work as commentary on consumerism but Cariou (in the same position as you) won because Richard could not come up with a good enough justification for commentary or transformation (in the judge’s opinion.) Really strange because in some instances the amount of imagery from Cariou was merely background and percentage wise not evident as the work of Cariou (just general landscape background) yet the judge gave Cariou a win while your work was more present in Jeff’s painting but you lost. It really shows that the judgment is completely arbitrary. If Cariou won than you should have won as the same rules apply. That the defendant is articulate or not in their defense is a funny call. Richard’s testimony on cultural commentary is just as valid as Jeff’s so by those standards Richard should have won. In the case of Ann Leibowitz, someone got away with using her images because the judge considered it parody. Richard’s work certainly qualifies by those standards. I’m sure you don’t want to hear about this but you needed the judge that Cariou received even though this judge cites your case as evidence against Richard. Wow, crazy illogical shit.”–Steve Miller
Saw Bill Cunningham’s movie last Sunday at 11AM — what a great way to start a day. I’ve met him many times, but we’ve never actually had a conversation. As a man, he is unique — he’s an anachronism, living like a monk in a world gone mad with excessive self-promotion, greed, and hype.
Bill stands alone: incorruptible, gentle, polite, and frugal — with an infectious enthusiasm. His points of view on fashion don’t follow in the trails of trends — they START trends. Moreover, he doesn’t photograph only stylish people; rather, he makes fashion stories. Bill is Bill is Bill. There was no one like him before, and no one like him has followed.
That aside, I had my first class at ICP this last Tuesday. I have 18 students; and I’m excited to see what my young pupils will produce. Jamie Pallot, Editorial Director at Conde Nast, Scott Schulman the Sartorialist, and Matthew Carasella were my three key speakers. The students made for a captivating audience. They learned that with a lot of hard work and imagination anything is possible.
Moving on, I went to an Authors In Kind Literary Luncheon for the charity God’s Love We Devliver at the Pierre Hotel. Margaret Russel, Editor-in-Chief of Architectural Digest was hosting — the Master of Ceremonies was Linda Farstein. Lee Child, Ruth Reichl, and Dan Savage were the guest speakers. I so admire the work this charity has done over the last 25 years. The many lives they’ve nourished and saved. Bravo!
As for my work, I’ve been working on a few projects — more beauty photos and I’ve become a contributor to Jean-Jacques Naudet’s fabulous newsletter La Lettre de La Photographie. I strongly recommend you all take a look. Also, I strongly recommend Le Quattro Volte, a film by Michelangelo Frammartino. It’s visually stunning and beautifully meditative.
Spring is finally here — taste it! Xoxoxo
New Girl In Town!
At the Dash Gallery there is an exhibition of photographer Erica Simone that I went to see last Thursday night. The show was packed! Everyone was trying to get a peek at the photographs of Erica nude all around New York City in different situations. She is wildly attractive with a sensational body that I imagine is the reason she was never arrested while shooting this project.
The show is fun, bold, and conceptual, the concept being an exploration of self-expression without clothing or fashion to define us. As written on Artslant.com: “From the streets to the subway, and from Bowery to the Bronx, Simone publicly bares all, raising the philosophy behind ‘just being,’ as well as playing with the idea of ‘counter-fashion’ – that without clothing, people could not possibly socially interpret each other.” Not too sure about all of that, but I left her show feeling like I wanted to be naked all the time–if only I had her physical charms!
My last class at ICP was terrific. Emmanuel Tanner from Marek & Associates spoke about being a photographer’s agent. The students learned a lot and realize that as Emmanuel said, it’s not just talent and hard work that gets you to the top but being nice to people; it’s all about relationships. He should know: Marek represents photographers such as Miles Aldrige, Melvin Sokolsky, Deborah Tuberville , and of course, my other guest for the night, Martyn Thompson.
My dear friend and colleague Martyn Thompson also spoke and showed his GORGEOUS work. The students love listening to other photographers talk about their work, experiences, techniques and what to expect in the real world. All in all, another great night!
“Broadway State of Mind”
I recently saw the Broadway show “Jerusalem” at The Music Box theatre, and was blown away by Mark Rylance’s seismic performance as its main character, Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron. The show is loosely based on William Blake’s 1804 hymn “Jerusalem”; a celebration of English pastoral living at a time when much of the country was consumed by the Industrial Revolution. But for me, Mark’s performance is what the play was all about.
“A three-hour epic, “Jerusalem” begins with a fairy singing the lovely poem set to music by Sir Hubert Parry, which is shattered by rock music blaring from the speakers atop Rooster’s home. From there we’re off on a harrowing but frequently hilarious ride, staged with compulsive energy by Ian Rickson in a setting by Ultz that combines nature in bloom and humanity in wreckage, lit with dappling realism by Mimi Jordan Sherin. We know it will not end well. It’s to Butterworth’s credit that we are left so conflicted by this meeting with a force of nature, in the best play of the season.”–from the Bloomberg.com review of “Jerusalem”.
I also had the chance to see the show “Born Yesterday”, a show I wasn’t too excited about before accepting the invite to attend. Before the show began, I reluctantly asked the man sitting next to me if he knew about the actress Nina Arianda, who plays the lead, Billy Dawn. He said he saw her in ‘Venus in Furs’ and that she will be a big star. After seeing her in ‘Born Yesterday’ — wow! — she is incredible! Nina inhabits the character, and I agree that she’ll make it big.
“With her luscious pout and sweep of peroxide curls Ms. Arianda banishes Holliday’s pop-eyed, chirpy naïveté to evoke the surly molls of 1930s gangster flicks. Her Billie Dawn, streetwise and complacent in her illiteracy, is like a cross between Jean Harlow at her tough-blondest and the pop singer Cyndi Lauper, with her Queens-bred rasp.”– on Nina Arianda, from the New York Times review of “Born Yesterday”.
I went to the last performance of “High” to see Kathleen Turner. Seeing Ms. Turner as a reformed alcoholic nun was familiar enough; but looking at Evan Jonigkeit naked — for me, that was the high point of the play! I think that says it all.
“And when it is channeled through Ms. Turner’s sandpapery basso, sarcasm has a ferocious comic bite that makes the early innings of Mr. Lombardo’s improbable drama about faith, recovery and redemption crackle with lively humor. Biting into Sister Jamie’s mordant verbal assaults on a recalcitrant drug addict, all but smacking her lips like a gourmet savoring al dente pasta, Ms. Turner makes a feast of largely unexceptional dialogue.”-from the New York Times review
Last Thursday was the first time I saw the legendary Joey Arias’s cabaret performance at Town Hall. An Italian friend introduced us about a year ago, and she went on about his artistry. He is mesmerizing — not just as a jazz singer in drag — but as a musician and performer whose intensity transcends and crosses overall boundaries and limitations. Joey, you have another fan! I loved him!
“A fixture of New York City’s vibrant downtown performance scene for 30-plus years, Joey Arias is a bona fide NYC icon. From his early days at Fiorrucci and performing with his close friend Klaus Nomi, Arias has been an enigmatic figure. From outrageous performances at Club 57, Jackie 60 and Squeezebox to the now-legendary nights at Bar d’O where he held court with Raven-O and Sherry Vine, Arias distinguished himself with scandalous wit, sleek style and an extraordinary voice evocative of Lady Day yet uniquely his own. This debut at the famed venue will surely be an unforgettable evening of music, humor and a little bit of scandal – just what audiences have come to expect from the unique experience of an Arias’ performance.”–from Best Gay New York‘s review of Joey’s show
The photographer Katy Grannan’s work is appearing at Salon 94. I love Katy’s previous work, and her new exhibit doesn’t disappoint. But take a happy pill before you go — this show is raw, filled with people ravaged physically, emotionally and psychologically; their dreams left unfulfilled. But it’s an important show, so go see it. This exhibit brings it home.
“Salon 94 is pleased to present The Happy Ever After, a two-part solo exhibition of new work by Katy Grannan. The Believers, Grannan’s first video work, features women whom Grannan has photographed and filmed for several years. Her subjects are street performers, celebrity impersonators, and mercurial pretenders who occupy the dreamscape of the American West: Hollywood, San Francisco, and Las Vegas. [...] Boulevard is a collection of color photographs made while Grannan roamed the streets of Los Angeles and San Francisco between 2008 and 2010. Grannan’s subjects are most often people whom others pass by without notice, anonymous yet extraordinary individuals who are transformed by photography’s peculiar magic. The series is her version of street photography, a kind of public theater enacted on the sidewalks of West Hollywood and San Francisco. [...] Together, The Believers and Boulevard present new Western mythologies inhabited by people who celebrate delusion as a means of self-preservation, contradiction as truth, and glitter and sweat as residue of optimism and perseverance.”–from Salon 94′s press release
Kara Walker’s “Fall Frum Grace” at the Lehmann Maupin Gallery on Chrystie Street is poignant and violent — and hits you in your gut. I watched it twice.
“Fall Frum Grace, Miss Pipi’s Blue Tale is a shadow puppet narrative, which follows the travails of the heroine, Miss Pipi, intercut with shadow puppet “abstracts” of a surreal and violent nature. The subtext of the video is the mythology surrounding white Southern womanhood, historically cited time and time again as an entity to be protected from sexuality, in particular from the presumed hyper-sexuality of black men. Although fiction, this was the excuse for the murder of countless black men and boys in Jim Crow America. Miss Pipi’s Blue Tale is meant to be as deeply contradictory a visual tale as the Blues is in music. Delta Blues often merges broad comedy with despair, sensuality with loss and do-it-yourself urgency with structured improvisation.”–from Lehmann Mauphin’s press release
Next stop was the Hendershot Gallery to see “Keep Out You Thieving Bastards”. The concept was interesting, though the show was uneven. I liked Alec Soth, and Chris Larson’s series “Deep North”.
“Keep Out You Thieving Bastards, an exhibition inspired by a Minnesota artist and gallery owner during our interminable Minnesota-style winter, brings together a whole range of artists who were born, bred, or spent significant time in the heartland [...]. Their works and media expose a connection to Minnesota’s sadly beautiful landscape, the underbelly of “Minnesota Nice” , life in the margins, coming of age with punk music, and reflections on what many have come to believe to be the most abnormally normal place on Earth.”–from Hendershot Gallery’s press release.
In other photo news, La Lettre de la Photographie is a new newsletter started by my friend Jean-Jacque Naudet, formerly with Philippe Hachett. If you want to know everything going on in the photography world, this newsletter will keep you informed. P.S: I will be a contributor!
“Broadway State of Mind – Part 2″
This week I had the chance to see two different shows – one on Broadway, and one on Brooklyn’s “Broadway” — The Brooklyn Academy of Music.
‘Bengal Tiger At The Baghdad Zoo‘ was absolutely amazing. Robin Williams‘ performance as its main character – a caged Bengal Tiger – was spectacular. He was a healthy of mix of hysterical and sentimental, and the play’s script brought up some ‘big’ life questions – one of the many reasons why it was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize last year. The story follows the ramblings of Williams as the caged tiger in the Baghdad Zoo, while America is invading the city to topple Saddam Hussein in 2003. I think the New York Times review of the show said it best about Williams’ performance:
Mr. Williams, the kinetic comic who has sometimes revealed a marshmallowy streak in movies, never indulges the audience’s hunger for displays of humorous invention or pinpricks of poignancy. He gives a performance of focused intelligence and integrity, embodying the animal who becomes the play’s questioning conscience with a savage bite that never loosens its grip.
I also saw BAM’s production of Shakespeare’s ‘King Lear’, one of the many spectacular shows the Academy has in their line-up for this spring and summer. The show stars Derek Jacobi, who does a fantastic job playing Lear, the tragic lead, and the rest of the cast playing his daughters does a fine job showing a family torn apart by the treachery they displayed towards one another. A depressing show, but a good one!
Aside from seeing shows, I’ve been teaching my class, ‘The Art of Fashion Photography” at the International Center For Photography. Walker Waugh, the Director of the Yancey Richardson Gallery in Chelsea spoke at my class the other night. Articulate, erudite and serious-minded, he spoke of the fine art photographers are doing in fashion. A good example being Alex Prager who has worked for Bottega Veneta, the New York Times and W doing fashion. Her work is beyond spectacular.
Relish the Unexpected
Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to use fun props in my photos. This is from my shoot with Theresa last month — we had had a great time with this cool set of balloons. It brings a nice vibrancy to the shot — a lot of funk and flavor that comes from adding a component that’s unexpected.
Relishing in the unexpected is something that I’ve been thinking about this past week, especially with the wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William. As expected, the affair came with its usual pomp and circumstance; similar to Charles’s and Diana’s. But one thing I thought that was amazingly fun was Kate’s dress, which was both youthful and tasteful for such a traditional occasion.
The dress was designed by Sarah Burton, the creative director for the legendary and recently deceased Alexander McQueen (who, incidentally, is being showcased in a current exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art). I loved the slimming effect of the dress, and its long sleeves. It did Kate well.
But the royal wedding premiered something else unexpected: Kate’s younger sister, Pippa Middleton.
Many are saying Pippa ‘stole the show‘ of the wedding. While I think this may be an exaggeration, the occasion certainly gave Kate’s Maid of Honor her time in the spotlight. Known for wearing too much self-tanner and partying in night clubs, Pippa, who also wore a Sarah Burton dress to the ceremony, changed into this emerald green evening dress by Alice Temperley for the reception afterwards at Buckingham Palace.
In all, a good show, and I give the best of wishes for the new happy couple!
Last night was a rough one…
I was incredibly excited to come back to my class at ICP after a week of being away — that’s because I was looking forward to seeing the six-page fashion spreads I assigned them a couple of weeks ago. They’ve done fashion spreads before, but this time, I made it more challenging. I wanted them to work as a team with another photographer — and create an exciting vision that showed both of the photographer’s strengths and interests.
Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way. While some of the spreads were visually exciting, most didn’t have any consistency from shot to shot. They didn’t tell a story, and didn’t show a theme. It was as if the teams split up, the photographers shot their own images, and then tried to stick their different photos into a series. It just didn’t work.
It’s unfortunate how photography can be so ego-driven. But people need to realize they can learn from one another — where through collaboration, it’s possible to create a better product at the end of the day.
But thankfully, there were some students that produced some really outstanding work. Here’s a shot by Diego Ferreira Mello for his assignment on creating a ‘controversial ad’ for the web. I love it!
The high point of the evening last night was having Carlos Souza come visit my class. Carlos gave a charismatic and enlightening talk (he’s amazing!) about his work at Valentino, and the qualities of a successful fashion photographer. He talked about everything from his work with celebrities (always say ‘yes’) to his perspective on retouching photos (we have the technology, why not use it?). Perhaps the best takeaway was a conversation about the importance of a photographer being personable — and how the fashion greats, from Mario Testino to Steven Meisel, easily communicate with models and make them feel comfortable. He also spoke of the power of collaboration — and the importance of being flexible and accommodating with your team — as a way to ultimately produce an amazing product.
Thank you, Carlos, for your time and enthusiasm! It was much appreciated!
Calling Young Photographers!
To celebrate fresh new talent in photography, in the coming weeks, I am starting up my very own online photo magazine to showcase the work of some of the industry’s rising stars.
The magazine is still very much in development (I still have yet to choose a name!), but I plan on showcasing the work of photographers dedicated to producing art, fashion and beauty stills.
By “young photographer”, you can be of any age, but must be just starting out — from no previous experience to about five years working professionally in the industry.
If you’re interested in joining the inaugural issue of my magazine, please submit:
1. Five still shots of your best work. This is meant to be a fashion/art magazine, so we’re looking for photos in that genre.
2. A brief (paragraph) description of yourself. Where you’re from, what your background is, and for how long and in what capacity are you doing photography.
Please send all submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, due to the volume of submissions I plan on receiving, I may not get back to everyone in a timely fashion. But don’t worry — I’m looking at everyone’s work, and will get in contact with potential candidates with next steps.
I look forward to seeing your work!
A Day at the Galleries
Last Saturday, I toured the amazing exhibits of the New York Photo Festival, and was completely floored by some of the incredible work photographers are doing around the world. While some exhibits were stronger than others, many were absolutely astounding.
One of the most profound I saw was the Festival’s ‘Subjective / Objective’ exhibition, curated by the New Yorker‘s Elizabeth Biondi. Elizabeth brought together documentary photographers from all walks of life, covering everything from uprisings in Middle East to the lives of women in Argentina. I went into the exhibit armed with my iPhone, and shot a few photos of pieces I really liked.
Interesting, Balazs Gardi, a photographer who shot in Afghanistan, used ‘iPhoneography‘ — taking amazing photos with his iPhone. Using the ‘Hipstamatic’ app, he produced some shots with a really nice vibrant color.
Congratulations Elizabeth on a wonderful exhibit!
Another exhibit, ‘Life Science’ by Dr. Eran Gilat was absolutely fascinating. The photos were of scientific lab methods, and the photographer, a scientist himself, explored the aesthetic of research methodology. It’s a topic that people wouldn’t usually think of exploring through photography — something that I would always thought was sterile, not visual and just not ‘art’. This work was absolutely beautiful, though some images were somewhat troubling and made me uneasy. There’s some things that happen in laboratories that shouldn’t be shown to the public! The photo below makes me never want to be near meat again.
There were so many great collections, and I’m sad I wasn’t able to see them all. Overall, it was a great experience, and I can’t wait to see next year’s festival!
Last night was my final class at ICP, and it was absolutely fantastic! I was lucky enough to bring in some amazing speakers, and everyone presented their final projects… which came out great! I was so proud.
The photographers from Guzman came to speak — one of the first collaborative teams in the business. I met Connie Guzman awhile ago at a photography salon, and it wasn’t until then that I realized ‘Guzman’ wasn’t one photographer but two — and the other ‘person’ of Guzman was Connie’s husband Russell. They gave some great insight about working with another person on photo concepts, and spoke about how they divvied up responsibilities. Connie does most of the shooting, and Russell does the post-production.
They also spoke about how the business has changed since they first started out. The digital era has made the demand for photo projects much faster and on a tighter budget. It’s just one of the many challenges facing our industry.
Beatrice Dupire also came to speak, which was a great treat given her amazing connections in the commercial and art world. She’s acting as an international consultant to artists, and is the publisher of ‘Th(e) Influencer‘, a platform for alternative forms of advertising. She’s currently working on some really cool projects, including a 3-D commercial for Donna Karan’s ‘Be Delicious’ fragrance. Beatrice showed us a rough cut of the piece that’ll be used in television and web campaigns. It makes every commercial I’ve ever seen look boring!
And of course, last night was when my students presented their final projects. They were assigned to do a series of six images, showing ‘their greatest fear’. The projects turned out incredible, and really ended the course on a high note. I’m so proud of them — congratulations! When I have the chance, I’ll post some of my favorites here on my blog.
Day at the Musée
Even though this week was a total washout with the weather, I had a spectacular weekend indoors at the New York Public Library. I had RSVPed to attend a workshop put on by The Believer magazine on ‘The Art of the Interview‘. It was a panel of distinguished writers and actors who were able to explain what’s a ‘good’ question when interviewing someone, and what made a ‘good’ response to interview questions. There was a star-studded group on the panel: author and television host Dick Cavett, New York Times writer Claudia Dreifus, author Kenneth Goldsmith and Lorin Stein, editor at The Paris Review.
The panel discussed their own experiences with interviewing, gave out some good interview questions we could use in our own work and even gave us a chance to interview each other in the audience. But perhaps the best part was the performance by Saturday Night Live‘s Paulo Costanzo, who interviewed himself! The script was written by SNL writer Simon Rich. It was fantastic and hysterical!
But one of the biggest surprises of the day was discovering a gem of an exhibition in the Library’s main hall. It was a set of photographs that were printed in an incredibly interesting way — all of which are recent acquisitions of the Library’s Miriam and Ira D Wallach’s Division of Art, Prints and Photographs. The photos were of a huge range of subject — from buildings to people — and were from all over the world and from photographers of different nationalities. But what was fascinating about these photos were the printing techniques these photographers used — many of them that were used decades ago using Lumen negatives and different types of tissue filters.
This one is from Vera Lutter of the Corte Barozzi in Venice. Stunning! It’s so amazing how photographers today are re-using older techniques to create something exciting and mysterious. Other photographers shown in the exhibit included Huma Bhabha, Stefan Kürten, Beatriz Milhazes, Lothar Osterburg and Darren Almond. Go see it! I was so impressed with it!
In other news, I have decided on a name of our new online magazine! Musée will be coming out this Fall! We’ve received so many amazing contributions from emerging photographers, and we’re currently in the process of going through all of them. But we’re still accepting submissions for the next week or so, so keep them coming!
If you would still like to contribute, but haven’t so yet, send your best five fashion or art shots to email@example.com for consideration.
Some Rest and Relaxation
Over the Memorial Day weekend I had a great time getting some rest and relaxation! I spent Saturday and Sunday at a friend’s house in Montauk. It’s a beautiful place on the ‘Golden Coast’ of Long Island — a cliff that overlooks the ocean. The views are absolutely spectacular. On Saturday morning, there was a thick fog under the cliff. It made for a great photo!
Unfortunately, my friend’s cat got sick on Sunday, so I was back in the city on Monday for some cultural sight seeing. I made a stop over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to take a look (for a third time!) of the Alexander McQueen “Savage Beauty” exhibition. There aren’t enough adjectives to describe what a genius that man was — he knew so much about history and science and incorporated all of his knowledge into his work. I believe the MET did a spectacular job exhibiting McQueens’s art — by using his quotes and clips from his fashion shows to really do the man justice.
I stopped by the Mario Testino affair last Thursday (the one I was supposed to photograph), but unfortunately there was a snafu and I was stuck in the paparazzi pen along the red carpet. I was dressed in my cocktail wear, while everyone else looked like they’ve been on the job all day long! Oh well, tis the life of a photographer!
We’re Extending Our Deadline!
We are extending our deadline for submissions to my new online magazine, Musée, after hearing from some potential contributors that they wanted more time to compile their best work. And we’re happy to oblige — we want the best photos possible!
Our new deadline is June 30th. Selected contributors will be announced by July 15th.
Please refer to our submission guidelines below. We look forward to seeing your work!
Musée Magazine — First Issue call for submissions
Publication date: September 2011.
Musée Magazine is an online publication that showcases the work of emergent art, fashion and beauty photographers. You can be of any age, but must be just starting out — from no previous experience to about two years working professionally in the industry.
If you’re interested in joining the inaugural issue of my magazine, please submit:
1. Five still shots of your best work. This is meant to be a fashion/art magazine, so we’re looking for photos in that genre.
2. A brief (paragraph) description of yourself. Where you’re from, what your background is, and for how long and in what capacity are you doing photography.
Please send all submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some Art and Culture
Last Thursday, I saw one of the most spectacular shows I’ve ever seen on Broadway — The Book of Mormon!
I heard all the hype around the show, and I just hoped it would live up to it. It completely exceeded my expectations, and was one of the satisfying shows I’ve ever seen, next to King Lear at BAM earlier this summer. The show follows two Mormon missionaries in an African village — it was hysterically funny, smart and sensitive and touched on so many issues. I encourage everyone I know to go and see it! It was such an incredible time!
I also saw quite a few photo exhibits… some were good, others proved to be not as inspiring as I hoped they would be. Maria Antonietta Mameli’s exhibit ‘Long Takes’ at the Bruce Silverstein Gallery was conceptually very interesting. She photographed passersby on the Manhattan Bridge, but completely eliminated their surroundings. You can see people go about their daily lives — carrying balloons or moving a mattress — but they are frozen on a white background. It was really beautiful!
I also visited the Gladstone Gallery to see Jack Smith’s exhibit “Thanks For Explaining Me” that used film, photography and collage to depict an avant-garde look at his life living in downtown New York. To me, the whole thing was just confusing and overwhelming. There was everything from photos of drug use to pornographic videos playing — it was a lot to take in. It’s something that you need half a day to spend looking through everything — because it takes awhile to make sense of all of it.
I was surprised by Laurel Nakadate’s “365 Days: A Catalogue of Tears”, where Nakadate spent everyday for a year looking sad or crying in the camera. The whole thing came off as rather banal — which was disappointing because I’ve been such a big fan of her work since her exhibit last summer at P.S. 1.
In visiting a lot of these galleries, I was concerned to hear a lot of them are tying up their final exhibits in June, and not opening back up until September. I like to get out of the city on weekends, but on the random weekends I am here, I’m hoping there will still be some new shows to see! Let’s hope there’s some places that will be showing some good artists throughout the summer!
Another exciting thing that did happen this weekend — my friend and I were supposed to see a show at Lincoln Square Cinema, but they were all sold out that evening. We decided to skip it and head up to the Red Rooster Restaurant in Harlem. My friend is a big walker, and suggested that we walk the 6 miles up to 125th and Lenox from Lincoln Plaza. I was against it at first, but it turned out to be a fun trek! It helped that our destination had great food! Here’s to a summer of good health!
Looking for the Dumped!
I’m re-visiting an old project of mine, and need some help with it!
A year ago, I began ‘The Dumped Project’, a video series featuring people who were recently dumped by their significant other. In the clips, people had the chance to say what they never got to say to their ex — and tell their side of the story.
I’m looking for more people to take part in the project! If you or anyone you know would like to be a part in this exciting new piece, send me an email at email@example.com.
Looking forward to hearing from you!
A Film To See…
The other night, I saw Terrence Malick‘s new film, The Tree of Life, and thought it was incredibly beautiful! The story follows the O’Briens, and the lasting effect the death of a child has on the entire family. The story is non-linear, and changes directions and time frames. But if you’re able to keep up, it makes the film more meditative, and provides some interesting takes on how a family handles and deals with life and grief.
Visually, I thought the movie was exquisite. I thought the camera movements and shot compositions were some of the film’s most interesting aspects. Also, the story relies on a lot of narration, which made it interesting, though at times I wished there would be more dialogue between characters.
The friend who I went with said she believed the whole story felt contrived… but I don’t know if I agree. My only criticism is that the film is lengthy, and there were moments when I wasn’t certain whether I was looking at an art film, a National Geographic documentary or a feature film for theatrical release.
But I did think the actors (Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain) were really great in their roles. Jessica was really incredible — she has such a compelling face — and I would love to photograph her! She is a future star.
Also, a note to all readers: I heard that Chelsea Clearview Cinemas has bedbugs as of last weekend! I’m not one to spread rumors, but I want to make sure all of my friends stay safe!
Love this girl!
She’s Russian, 15 years old, and reminds me of the fabulous Veruschka! (If you don’t know Veruschka, Google her!)
Earlier this week I was pleasantly surprised when a former intern told me that a photograph of mine is being exhibited at the Bel Art Gallery in Paris. The exhibition, entitled Bel Ephémère, will display works from celebrated artists of the 70’s and 80’s, including Andy Warhol, Paul Morrissey, Claude Guillaumin, and contemporary photographers Emma Barthere and Juliette Butle.
Despite the awful weather last weekend, I visited a few of my favorite galleries and saw some wonderful work.
Argentinean photographer Alejandro Chaskielberg had his work displayed at the Yossi Milo Gallery at an exhibition entitled, The High Tide. His photographs displayed the relationship between people and their environment, capturing the daily work of local islanders -farmers and fishermen- which he observed during his recent visits to his native land.
The Yancey Richardson Gallery showcased two new artists: Field Recordings by photographer Bryan Graf, marking this artist’s first solo exhibition, and Sleeping Beauties, a project of photographic works by Melanie Willhide. In his photographs, “Graf used unexposed color film to record the direct contact of ambient light flooding onto the film without the use of a lens.” In addition, Graf used the exposed color film as a composite layer in the darkroom. As for Willhide, this is the artist’s first exhibition at the gallery, and her works on display appear to be old, found snapshots with personal messages scrawled on their backside. The “front side” image reminded me of Egon Von Schiele’s erotic nudes lying down. These works took four years to complete, the results are seemingly personal, intimate, and feminine.
The Steven Kasher Gallery displayed a wonderful collection of photographs that appeared in the New Yorker accompanying the magazine’s fiction pieces. The photographs, selected by the magazine’s visual editor, Elisabeth Biondi, and Steven Kasher, were take from issues published between 1998 and 2011. I was amazed by the great photographs Biondi displayed in the magazine throughout the years.
My coverage of the new opening at the Steven Kasher Gallery last Thursday went very well. So well in fact that La Lettre de la Photographie newsletter announced, “fashion photographer, Andrea Blanch, will now be covering the New York openings. I’m very excited about this new adventure.
Finally, last night I was delighted to visit the Big Eye Gallery where photos of Elizabeth Taylor were being exhibited and sold. I quote Ms. Taylor when I say, “I adore wearing gems, but not because they are mine. You can’t possess radiance, you can only admire it.”
It was a weekend of culture and parties, and I had a great time soaking it all in!
Before heading out to Montauk for the weekend, I stopped into the David LaChapelle’s exhibit ‘From Darkness to Light‘ at the Lever House on Park Avenue. It was an interesting change from his other work — which was a different take on his usual depictions of naked bodies. One piece had translucent stickers of bodies swimming in circles on a window, and another used collage to make large portraits of different bodies together. But one really interesting piece was a series of paper chains (like the kind you make in elementary school) with each chain a cut-out image of a naked body.
I thought his presentation was very inspiring, and it seemed a lot more subtle than his other work. I think he achieved his goal with this exhibit — to produce fine art.
For the rest of the weekend, I went out to my friend Vincent’s house in Montauk, where we attended God’s Love We Deliver’s Midsummer Night Drinks fundraiser. It was a great event to attend — it’s just amazing that this organization feeds a million people a day, and I was happy to hear all of the money raised goes directly to helping them continue to do so.
The event was hosted by Jeff Pfeifle (former President of J.Crew) at his home in Water Mill. While his home was beautiful, the grounds around his home (where the benefit was held) were absolutely spectacular! They seemed to go on for days and days!
The rest of the weekend was spent enjoying the great weather, and enjoying the company of good friends. It was really nice to receive some support from Vincent about my upcoming photo magazine, Musée, and get his feedback on where he thinks this project can go in the future.
Vincent also had over a great houseguest the same weekend. She’s been pursuing her dream of traveling around the world with her husband of 15 years. They’ve been around Europe and Asia for the past nine months — and plan on heading to South America next! It’s so inspiring hearing about people’s dreams — and seeing them make it happen!
And here’s a photo of Vincent battling some wisteria vines in his trellis… did you know that some of the best gardens in the country are found in the Hamptons? I had no idea!
Last Chance to Submit!
Still want to submit to Musée Magazine, but still haven’t yet?
Our deadline is on June 30th!
Musée Magazine publication date: September 2011.
Musée Magazine is an online publication that showcases the work of emergent art, fashion and beauty photographers. You can be of any age, but must be just starting out — from no previous experience to about two years working professionally in the industry.
If you’re interested in joining the inaugural issue of my magazine, please submit:
1. Five still shots of your best work. This is meant to be a fashion/art magazine, so we’re looking for photos in that genre.
2. A brief (paragraph) description of yourself. Where you’re from, what your background is, and for how long and in what capacity are you doing photography.
Please send all submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I stopped by the Marlborough Gallery in Chelsea last week to see the inspiring exhibit, ‘Intersections: Photography / Painting / Document’. The show brought together sixteen artists who created hybrid images that had been manipulated through stitching together multiple photos, scraping and painting over images and creating collages of photos with newspaper clippings or images from the Internet.
Ultimately, I thought the exhibit was a fresh and exciting example of photography being used to create fine art. The pieces were visually compelling, and much of the exhibit was composed of composite images with political or emotional messages that gave a deeper feel to the work.
I also stopped by the opening reception of ‘Interventions In the Landscape’ at Galerie Lelong. The exhibit took a fresh take on landscape photography, with the photographer shooting subjects engaging with and altering the world around them. In some cases, the environment appears to dominate the subject — showing the dynamic relationship people have with the world around them. Overall, I felt the exhibit was conceptually very stimulating — and took a new look at how we photograph landscapes. Like the Marlborough exhibit, the pieces had a deeper meaning with political and social messages for the viewer.
Embracing new techniques and concepts in photography is Les Rencontres d’Arles in France, a festival that has begun exhibiting new types of digital photography and video. Much of the work shown is documentary, but many of the pieces are also works of fine art. The festival starts on July 4th and runs through September 18th. I hope to attend this year!
How Green Was My Valley
For the Fourth of July weekend, I went upstate to stay with a friend who lives in Earlton — a charming town in the Hudson Valley. I’m very much a city person, but this was the first time that I enjoyed myself as much as I did being in the green. I stayed longer on this trip than I usually spend out in Montauk — because I could.
My friend is a movie producer who originally lived in the city, but now lives upstate full-time when she’s not traveling. She really pampered me while I was there! A yoga instructor came to the house everyday, and even one morning a masseuse came to give us massages! It felt like our own private spa!
Having spent most of the weekend indulging myself, I walked through Hudson’s main street (Warren Street) in search for a manicure. Inside up front, it looked like an old apothocary. But once they took me into the back of the salon where the beauty services actually happen, I really saw the place for what it was — a huge mess! There was paper strewn everywhere, and the stylists stood around having these inane conversations — one of which was about how chewing gum always gets stuck to the roofs of their mouths! It was definitely a case for Bravo’s ‘Tabatha’s Salon Makeover‘!
I was also shocked when my nail stylist said it was against New York State law to have my cuticles cut. I’ve never heard such a thing. I looked it up, and it’s true… but why am I able to have them cut in the city? It doesn’t make sense!
A very chic looking woman was sitting in the salon getting her nails done near me. She must of heard my disbelief over the cuticle situation, because she smiled right at me. I knew right away she was from the city!
That evening, my friend took me to a wonderful dinner party at the home of two ‘ex-pat’ city dwellers — one of which is a photographer. They’re a couple who after moving out of the city now own “the” wine shop in Hudson. They live in a modern house that was originally built by someone who used to work for Calvin Klein, and its exterior is covered in aluminum sheet metal, and the house has huge wooden barn doors. It was really spectacular looking. Inside, the layout of the house was very modern and simple.
At the party was a very familiar looking woman — the woman from the salon! It turns out she’s an art consultant who lives in the city (I was right!). What a coincidence!
The dinner was fantastic — and aside from the fish we ate, the entire meal was grown in their garden. I found it amazing that the dinner’s salads, string beans, radishes, arugala and onions were completely home-grown. Now they’re considering taking up bee-keeping next!
I didn’t end up coming back to the city until Tuesday, and overall I had a magnificent time eating, drinking, reading, relaxing and taking photos. The whole town seemed like a very nice community, and I really see why my girlfriend loves living there so much. People seem much more low-key upstate than they do in the Hamptons, and I’m genuinely happy over the life my friend made for herself there!
Below are some of the photos I took:
Since I’ve been back in the city, I’ve seen ‘A Better Life‘ about an immigrant family struggling to live in East Los Angeles. I also saw ‘Passione‘, which is a musical celebration of Naples and stars John Turturro. It was so fabulous, and I recommend everyone to go see it!
I’ve also started perusing the website Paddle8. It’s a forum for artists to sell their work, and they have a new ‘guest curator’ every month who puts on an exhibition. Check it out!
Now I’m off to ready myself for a class I’m taking on watercoloring! This summer is a summer of learning… and finishing projects… and launching my magazine!
PS: I’m also looking for new ways to engage more readers in dialogue on my blog. Any ideas are appreciated!
Rah! Rah! Rah!
Last Thursday night, I started a watercoloring class at the New York Academy of Art in Tribeca — thinking that it would be useful to employ this technique on future projects I’m working on. However, I discovered that not only do I not need to take this course to use watercolor technique, but it’s extremely difficult and a pain in the ass! Therefore, I won’t be attending any more classes! The difficulty lays in placing the color on the page and not having it run all over the paper. While I took it in college, my strokes then were much broader, so it didn’t make a difference. But in this class it did. So much for patience!
So, giving school another go, I took the intrepid step to take another course — this one at ICP. It’s a multimedia course that uses video, photography and sound… and it’s much more to my liking. But, with an upside comes a downside. And that is learning Final Cut Pro. Since patience is not my best friend, I can see the process becoming a difficult one. But I am determined to follow through with it!
The course is taught by Nancy Donaldson from the New York Times, who produces the project ‘One In Eight Million’; an ongoing multimedia project on the Times’ website. The project highlights the lives of different New Yorkers in short video clips, and often tell poignant or funny stories about life in this city.
The pieces in the project are incredible — and for being such short videos, they’re incredibly moving and touching. They’re an inspiration to incorporate multimedia into my own work, and it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I’ve learned (especially in creating my book) it’s all about the art of the interview to create powerful stories. And since I’m a nosy person, I’m well suited for it!
The most exciting thing I did this weekend — and will probably be a new activity — was going to a Baptist Church on 115th Street in Harlem with a few of my friends. I felt like I was at a rock concert, only better! We watched a gospel choir perform, and the music was so moving, and the congregation was so raucous, that I was yelling “Hallelujah” for the whole hour they were singing. If my religion had services like this every week, I would be a regular church-goer! Music is very contagious.
I also made a new purchase! I bought this piece at an art auction. Loving the yellow!
Now I’m off to go work on my tons of projects… and getting a bit overwhelmed! Maybe I should have just gone on vacation this summer like everyone else!
A Steamy Weekend in New York
This past Saturday (which was very hot!), a friend of mine asked if I wanted to join her on a sojourn to Governors Island. One of the women of the group going (an artist), works at Maritime Pier in Chelsea, where she set us up on a Fire Department boat that was supposed to receive a ‘blessing’ from the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. Unfortunately, the ‘blessing’ never occurred because of a snafu, but off we went to to Governors Island.
The Island wasn’t what I expected — it was so crowded, there were so many tourists, and all of the buildings have Federal Architecture. The place looked like a penal colony — everything was in brown and yellow! Even the grass was burnt yellow because of the heat — it wasn’t a pretty sight. A saving grace of the trip was seeing Mark di Suvero‘s sculptures on the Island grounds, even though I wasn’t impressed with the Island itself. While I think there is a lot of potential to turn it into an artist’s community — I think a lot of renewel has to go into it first!
On the Island, we did see a good exhibition by Finnish artists at Building 110. Called ‘Bodies, Borders, Crossings’, it conceptualizes human bodies in different ways and surrounds images with different ‘borders’ to show how these individuals are ‘controlled’ by their environment. Here are a few of my favorites:
After Governors Island, I was completely wiped out by the heat, and stayed in for most of Sunday! I did end up making it out to my multimedia class at ICP on Monday night, which I continue to love! The work is so interesting, and the people in the class are fantastic. I just have so much to do in the studio that it’s hard to concentrate on Final Cut Pro right now!
I also stopped in this weekend to the No.10 Gallery on Leonard Street in Tribeca — a cool spot that provides a platform for artists in the fashion and photography industry to show their work. The space is dedicated to ‘emerging’ artists — much like the contributors of my new magazine Museé. I’m excited to see more of their future exhibitions!
Last week’s shooting was conceived around these quirky hats I found at Worth & Worth, this fantastic hat store at 45 W. 57th Street. One model, Lauren from the Click Agency, has been working with me every summer for three years — and she’s one of the most beautiful girls I’ve worked with for many years. Another model, Molly (also from Click) is 15 years old and from Kentucky. Even though she’s 15, she responds to the camera like she’s been modeling for five years or more! I haven’t done a thorough edit of the shoot yet, but photos are coming very soon!
Also, now that August is around the corner, this is one of our last blog posts until September! So stay tuned for this summer’s final posting!
To more bad weather, Fashion Night Out, Fashion Week, gallery and museum openings, and the omnipresent 9/11. Let me start wishing you all a new beginning and a less stressful time.
Labor Day weekend I found myself once again as a guest, at my friend Gaby’s Magnolia Mae Farm. Saturday, Gaby gave a book party for Vicky Tiel; who had a huge article in the New York Times, talking about her saucy book “It’s All About the Dress: What I Learned in Forty Years About Men, Women, Sex, and Fashion” and important alliances, incredible adventures, and good advice. I liked Vicky a lot; who turns out is smart and wickedly funny. With so many stories, Vicky mesmerizes you with her humor and wisdom. The book, “It’s All About the Dress: What I Learned in Forty Years About Men, Women, Sex, and Fashion” is a fast, fun, and juicy read.
Then it started raining, Gaby recommended we watch a Danish T.V. series called “The Killing.” If you like thrillers and crime stories, this is the best T.V. I’ve seen in a very long time. So, for approximately 18 hours (a bender) we watched this compelling drama, which keeps you guessing till the very end, the perfect thing to do on two consecutively rainy days.
Taking an extra day off, Sunday night, we went to a birthday party of Gaby’s business partner, Caroline Marks Blackwood’s boyfriend Greg. Greg started a company called Currant C, which is a healthy and great tasting drink that can be bought on the Internet. The dinner with Caroline and Greg’s friends was in Rhinebeck at a restaurant called GiGi’s. The food was delicious, some of the best in the area!
A parting shot from one of the last shootings of the summer.
RUN BLANCH RUN
Started the week going to a few of the many gallery openings. Hellen Van Meene & Amy Elkins at Yancey Richardson, Vik Muniz at Sikema Jenkins, Nick Cave at Mary Boone, Luis Gispert also at Mary Boone, Do Ho Suh at Lehman Maupin, Leandro Erlich at Sean Kelly, Sarah Rafferty at Rachel Uffner Gallery, Anthony Goicolea at Postmasters, Social History: The Jet Set at Staley Wise ,and of course Remembering 9/11, Harper’s Bazaar: A Decade of Style, Signs of Life: Photographs by Peter Sekaer at ICP and these are the ones I really liked. Below are images from some of the shows:
Fashion Night Out was a no show for me, but while walking the Highline, going home, I took this magical image below ( hey, thank god for accidents ).
Of course I walked down 14th street in the midst of the crowds of people coming & going into the shops, dancing on the streets, shopping, drinking, having fun…. it was a spectacle of human flesh & I was glad to be on my way home. Over the weekend I went to Chelsea, once again, & to The Museum of Art & Design. There I saw an exhibition called “Otherworldly: Optical Delusions and Small Realities,” which consists of magnificent dioramas & miniatures; they were incredible. The detail, craft, inventiveness, & originality is not only inspiring but it overwhelms one sense of possibilities. I loved it! Once there, I discovered Simon Doonan, brand ambassador for Barneys, was curating a fashion & film weekend hosted by Vanity Fair & sponsored by the likes of L’oreal, BMW, etc. Saturday night I saw The Umbrellas of Cherbourg ( I cried listening to the beautiful soundtrack ) & that time when life was simple & sweet. The following day I went to a panel of fashion pundits & experts which included, Simon Doonan who was the moderator of the discussion panel, Freddie Lieber: Fashion Sage, Matt Tyrnauer: Director of “Valentino The Last Emperor”, the fashion designers Costello Tagliapietra & Valerie Steele: Director and Chief Curator of The Museum at F.I.T. The group discussed the influence of film on fashion & vice a versa. Afterwards, there was another party, upstairs on the seventh floor of the museum with champagne, wine, and great food; all catered by Roberts the restaurant located on the ninth floor of the Museum of Art and Design. I went home happy, satiated, and went to bed.
Last night I was transported back to the 18th century. Sam Waksal (ex-chairman for the New York Council for the Humanities) had a cocktail, dinner, and salon with Andre Aciman (writer extraordinaire of ”Out of Egypt,” “Call Me By Your Name,” “8 Nights,” “False Papers,” and editor of the Proust Project, etc.) Several years ago I met Andre at one of Sam’s other salons. He complimented me on my scent (perfume) which he said was his favorite and that few women wear it. So we bonded instantly. Unfortunately, I forgot to wear it last night ( I was in the mood for a change). Andre took a whiff and disappointment washed over his face; “you’re wearing nothing,” he said. “Not true,” I responded, “just something else.” Feeling terrible his olfactory sense was not stimulated and that I let him down, I promised I would be wearing it the next time we met. Andre, of course, spoke about his writing, his process, the hows and the whys of his craft. Andre says he writes about paradoxes. Sam commented that true neuroses is called “oughtness,” I ought to be there not here, I ought to have done this and not that. To Which Andre added that he thinks most people are “messed up,” and so on. It was a stimulating evening and hope there will be more soon.
Met my friend and went to see the Willem de Kooning exhibit at the MOMA. I read that Anna Wintour doesn’t like adjectives, but I do and de Kooning’s show is not only overwhelming but bursting with exuberance, enthusiasm, and monumental talent. Willem de Kooning was prolific spending all of his time painting. You would think he would be veracious sexually but one wonders, with his tremendous productivity, where he had the time. Willem de Kooning said, “the reason for paint is skin,” and this is shown over and over and over again; one never tires of de Kooning’s skin.
Just when I thought I was over fashion, I saw Daphne Guinness’ exhibit of her clothes at F.I.T. But first, before entering there was a brief film and interview on her. Waiting for a friend I viewed it four times and could have watched this mesmerizing creature even more. What is amazing to see is Daphne’s transformation from a wealthy bourgeoisie housewife to an artist and muse. While there are many who imitate her, Daphne’s extraordinary beauty and creativity is unique to her and everyone else seems to pale in comparison. The exhibit itself is well done, to see how someone who is fortunate enough to have the means to buy anything and is exposed to everything (high and low), makes the choices she makes with such cohesiveness and focus, clarity of vision, and such exquisite taste, is a delight. Thank you Daphne.
On to Mary Boone to see Luis Gispert’s “deception.” Love when the concept of an exhibition encompasses social commentary with high art and humor. This exhibition has it all. I loved it!!
Thought I forgot a lot of my art history until I saw the “El Greco” exhibit at the MET (I love this museum). Viewing just a few paintings of his work I realized how far ahead he was compared to the other artists of his day. Precursor to impressionism, in fact, looking at one painting, I was reminded of Picasso, so I read the description which said when Picasso painted “The Young Ladies of Avignon,” he was influenced by El Greco’s work.
I read this morning how Richard Avedon’s portfolios went for the most money at Phillips Photography Auction last night. And to think many of my interns and students don’t know who he is, shocking!
It has been a hectic two weeks. Every time we thought Musee was almost completed another wonderful surprise occurred. Musee is expanding before the first issue is launched and it is very exciting. Main Content: guest artists, interviews, and emerging writers. I am very excited. Musee will be launched very soon.
The first class at ICP was a great success. The photographer, Sebastian Kim and Mazdeck Rassi, owner of Milk Studios were the speakers. Rassi came early while Sebastian was speaking and sat down and listened to him. After Sebastian finished he stayed to hear Rassi talk. The students were so impressed with Sebastian’s work and listened intently to his advice on how to start and maintain a career in photography. Rassi spoke about the new media, how the business has changed and what a young photographer must do to be current. The students were inspired. Rassi and Sebastian leaving together made me feel good seeing the camaraderie they have. After all, its all about relationships you make, build, and keep!
Recommend: Jenny Saville at Gagosian Gallery. Always loved her work and technique. This show is outstanding. I love women artists when their work has to do with women’s issues and it works. They express themselves and their point of view better than any man ever could.
The Mill and the Cross:
“Casts a transfixing spell…(with) ambitions as sweeping as the vast canvas that Bruegel fills. In this lush and hypnotic examination ?of a painter’s work and the times in which he lived, Mr. Majewski presents an extended contemplation of the creative process itself.?It isn’t the artist, it’s the art that’s the star here, and (the filmmaker) lavishes sophisticated, enchanting detail on its re-creation. He’s painting cinematically… ?an inspiring, alluring meditation about imagery and storytelling, the common coin of history, religion and art.?– Daniel M. Gold, The New York Times
A slow paced movie without much dialog, interesting conceit and a visual feast for your eyes worth sitting through.
Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life:
Comic book artist Joann Sfar interprets the life of ’60s pop star Serge Gainsbourg (née Lucien Ginsburg to Russian-Jewish parents),1921–1991, beginning with his childhood years in Nazi-occupied Paris, through his early years as a painter and jazz musician (brushing shoulders with Boris Vian), to his life as a wildly popular singer-songwriter, notorious bon vivant, and lover of some of the world’s most glamorous women. Gainsbourg’s two-sided personality (narcissistic and self-loathing) and his over-the-top antics with Brigitte Bardot (Laetitia Casta), Jane Birkin (Lucy Gordon), and beatnik icon Juliette Gréco (Anna Mouglalis) share the screen with a giant puppet alter-ego: a scary, libidinous bad-boy who personifies all of Gainsbourg’s worst proclivities. Featuring many of the musician’s greatest hits, with Eric Elmosnino as Gainsbourg and, in a cameo, Claude Chabrol as his record producer. Never have so many Gauloises been smoked to such great effect. – Film Forum
I photographed Jane Birkin, Gainsbourg’s second wife, and thought she was his only wife. I learned much more about this fascinating and uber talented individual. The movie uses a puppet as his alter ego. The idea was clever, amusing and it worked.
Bob Dylan: The Asia Series, worth seeing if only to see how prolific and multi- talented he is. Can’t say I was moved by all of the work, but the paintings do have a point of view and some draw you in.
Off to the Big D for the weekend- Have a good Columbus Day!
Ran across this somewhere online and thought it aptly described my reason for starting Musee Magazine.
“By and large talent is in such short supply, mediocrity can be taken for brilliance rather more than genius can go undiscovered. The great majority of artists around the world don’t have dealers to represent or show their work. It makes it pretty well impossible to get your efforts seen, with most dealers too busy or too lazy to visit studios- and who can blame them. They have probably become a bit disenchanted from seeing acres of slides and transparencies of tragic work foist upon them by desperate artist. In reality, most dealers find new artists to show through recommendations from their existing stable- artists often urge their dealers to look favorably upon the work of their friends; furthermore, dealers usually believe artists are good judges of other artist’s work. All in all then, if you’re not in the right artistic social circles, didn’t go to a hip art school, don’t quite fit in, it can be hell to extract much interest from dealers and collectors”, which is the reason for Musee.
I had the good fortune to interview an art collector with an encyclopedia of contemporary art starting in the early 80′s with minimalists like Carl Andrea, Kiki Smith, Hiroshi Sugimoto, stretching through, Andreas Gursky, Cindy Sherman, Bill Viola, Tony Oursler, through the art stars of now like Kehndi Wiley, John Currin, and Vik Muniz, etc. The way in which the art is hung is equally impressive, salon style. Every room has a different theme; fantasy, aggression, heads, etc. There is art everywhere; the floor, ceiling, walls, outside, inside, on the couch, a Cindy Sherman above the bed in the master bedroom.
Living with all of that art is an overwhelming experience for the senses almost an assault, one which I would love to have.
Then onto the galleries in Chelsea to see some work.
Impressive was Daniel Gordon at Wallspace which is the next show.
Lisa Yuskavage at David Zwirner
Lisa’s paintings are often considered soft porn. Her new works remind me of some of my photographs which many people also thought of as soft porn. I love this new exhibition.
“Yuskavage has developed her own genre of the female nude. They appear to occupy their own realm while narcissistically contemplating themselves and their bodies. Rich, atmospheric skies frequently augment the psychologically – charged mood, adding to the impression of theatricality and creative possibility. For this exhibition, Yuskavage takes her complex narrative to a larger scale, whose sheer vastness adds a cinematic component to the works. This new body of wok appears to merge the genres of landscape, still life and portrait painting.”
“The exhibition includes the three- part Triptych, the first time the artist has worked in this format. The triptych format adds an additional, unknown dimension to the narrative and the individual.”
Boundaries Obscured at Haunch of Venison
“The inaugural exhibition is a group show of artists we work with.” – Emilio Steinberger (International Director)
“Boundaries Obscured respond to the growing trend of globalization and the blurring of cultural and geographical boundaries as use of technology becomes more prevalent. These works highlight the overwhelming difficulties and/ or advantages of being an individual in a relentlessly encroaching mass of information and external pressure. The Balcony,(a video) by Eve Sussman and Simon Lee, takes as its point of departure the prefabricated ‘Khrushchyovka’ built in the 1960′s and common in ex-soviet cities. The geometric purity of the Brutalist buildings has been disrupted as residences blocked in the open spaces that were once balconies, creating an extra room with vernacular architecture that marks the prefabrication with personal expression.”
“Patricia Piccinini, examines humans’ complex relationships with technology and animals in this featured work specifically comments on human impact on other life forms. Artist Joana Vasconcelos, is best known for her readymade sculptures inspired by Nouveau- realism and focuses on identity politics pertaining to gender and nationality.”
Elger Esser at Sonnabend
“These photographs and heliogravures were made in Giverny, France at the gardens of the Fondation Claude Monet. Esser took the images at night- creating prints in color as well as in shades of gray that make use of the diffuse light to suggest a disordered and abandoned world that is devoid of human presence.”
He writes: “I work quite deliberately with blurred images using long exposure times. The mobile in the picture- the water, the trees, the clouds- do things with the film which i can only influence in part. For me, this use of technology is only a background aspect. I concentrate more strongly on the contents of the images. What does it mean to stand at the water’s edge? What happens if the elements in the picture- trees, sky, or water- interact with symmetreies and surfaces, with harmony and disharmony?”
“I am interested in capturing and preserving subjective memories, time and tranquility.”
Matthew Barney at Gladstone
“An exhibition of new sculpture. “Ancient Evenings” is a multi- part project structured as a site- specific opera in collaboration with Jonathan Bepler, loosely based in Norman Mailer’s 1983 novelof the same title. Barney enacts recurring cycles of reincarnation through the use of an automobile, creating a temporary allegory of death and rebirth with in the Americn industrial landscape. The sculptures on veiw are both formally and conceptually related to the 1967 Chrysler Crown Imperial from Cremaster 3.”
“Ancient Evenings” continues Barney’s program of the last twenty years, in which narrative sculpture is generated through a complex system of storytelling that intertwines personal, historical, and modern mythologies.
Barbara Probst at Murray Guy
Interesting conceptually, quiet and meditative.
And then I was invited for a night of wine and tango by my friend Alexandra Cicognani of A Cicognani Communications; promoting Argentina’s Malbec wine and tango. It was an unexpected evening of elegance romance and wine, which made me want to get on the next plane to Argentina.