Archives

September 2009

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Sep 30

You might never have heard of the Sigur Ros effect. I’m not talking about what that music does to you but rather to something else: When Sigur Ros’ first album came out I couldn’t get enough of it (I’m exaggerating slightly, but I did listen to it for a while). It was quite different, it was inventive, it was fresh, and it had an appeal not easily found somewhere else. But then they had their second album out, which sounded just like the first. And the third (ditto). I started wondering why I should even bother listening to the new stuff when, in fact, it sounded just like the old one. It was more or less the same music - that I actually liked - over and over again, and I just grew tired of it. So I was a bit disappointed when I walked into the Silverstein Gallery to see Todd Hido’s A Road Divided (on view until October 24, 2009), only to get a bit of that Sigur Ros effect.
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Sep 30

For those interested in conceptual portraiture (if we want to call it that), there is Natalia Pokrovskaya’s Control: Portraits of people while they’re listening to music (compare this with Bettina von Zwehl’s work btw).
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Sep 29

Sometimes, you ask some questions, and then some time later something is happening: POC now has an American branch. Having known about what the previously European-only POCers do, I’m very glad to see this. And hopefully, it will not only create a lot of new opportunities for the photographers involved, but maybe also inspire others to set up their own, new networks.
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Sep 29

The press release of Juergen Teller’s current show at Lehmann Maupin states that the artist “removes the artifice between photographer and subject, leaving only the purity of each image, and unlike the sculptures in the museum’s [Musee du Louvre de Paris] collection, his photographs do not present a standard of beauty but are more akin to a tribute to women and the human form.” For those who haven’t seen the show, this “tribute to women”, which is not supposed to be presenting “a standard of beauty”, is achieved by having a model, Raquel Zimmermann, and an actress, Charlotte Rampling, walk around naked inside the Louvre (after hours) so that the photographer can take photographs of the women standing next to statues and paintings. Where to begin?
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Sep 29

I like Birthe Piontek’s portraiture when it’s contained in a series with other images - such as in The Idea of North. On its own, it often looks too posed for me.
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Sep 28

Note to self: I shouldn’t read galleries’ press releases. I know, they’re written for a purpose, and that purpose is not to entice this blogger to come and visit the show, but still… I almost didn’t go to see Simen Johan’s Until the Kingdom Comes at Yossi Milo Gallery (on view until October 31, 2009). That would have been a tremendous shame since it turned out to be the benchmark contemporary photography show for this new season. Granted, I had a pretty bad cold the week I was in New York, and I thus had to reduce my schedule quite a bit, missing quite a few shows and openings (plus forgetting about installation shots - sorry!) - but regardless, this is the show that others will have to top right now.
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Sep 28

This is “Miss Toe Tease” from Kate Peters’ Yes, Mistress (probably nsfw), which, however, has nothing to do with the meaning of the word “mistress” so well known from recent US politics (for nitpickers: granted, it could, but that’s not what the project is about).
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Sep 27

The re-design of the blog has been taking a while, so I updated the links on the side a little bit. I have been unhappy with that list for a while - it’s basically unusable, unless you’re the kind of person who really loves to look through lists of things. I’m hoping to replace the list with something more advanced, which will include categories, the blogs’ status (dormant, active, etc.) and also some recommendations. In the meantime, there are some new, very worthwhile blogs; plus there are quite a few dormant ones…
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Sep 20

I’ll be on vacation for a week - regular posting will resume on 28 September.
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Sep 20

Srinivas Kuruganti’s Industrial Pollution, India “looks at the effect of industrial pollution on the health of local communities in the Patancheru district of Andhra Pradesh and Ankleshwar, Gujarat where over 3000 chemical, pharmaceutical and dye factories release an alarming level of toxic waste into air, ground water and agricultural land.”
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Sep 19

Toby Coulson’s “Allaleigh” very nicely mixes portraits with landscapes and still lifes. I just wish I knew a little bit more about the work…
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Sep 18

Painting and photography exist in a very weird relationship; and I’m increasingly becoming convinced that it is photography - and not painting - which has the real trouble figuring out what to do, how to deal with what the other can do. Maybe this is because photography has become complacent: Still the new kid on the art block - easy if all the other art forms are hundreds of years old (or older) - photographers rarely, if ever, venture beyond their narrow confines. These days, for many photographers large prints seem like the most important essence of painting to adopt; and even over that photography critics are throwing hissy fits.
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Sep 17

There is no information about the series eo ipso on Lia Darjes’ website - so it’s up to us to make something of it.
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Sep 16

Sebastian Sabal-Bruce’s 4:48 was “inspired by the play 4:48 Psychosis by Sara Kane. A play of agony. A thread. A play to think about Killing yourself.”
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Sep 15

“The high school students of inner city Rochester, New York resemble the race and background that I am stereotypically linked to as a Mexican-African American, however, in my adolescence I never experienced our perceived culture.” - Hannah Price
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Sep 14

Amber Shields’ project Johanne is an honest and beautiful portrait of an elderly woman.
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Sep 11

The history of Latin and South America is filled with episodes of the United States meddling in the affairs of other countries - and “meddling” here includes a vast range of activities, most notably invasions and putsches (for a sobering account of this history see the book Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq, written by a respected US mainstream journalist). There are a lot of very unfortunate consequences of this history, one of them being that in Latin and South American countries, somewhat shady politicians can always run on a strictly anti-US basis, dismissing all criticism by simply pointing out that the US has very little moral authority in that part of the world whatsoever. Of course, the reaction to shady politicians then immediately becomes polarized, and, ultimately, you’re either supposed to be a supporter or an opponent; but regardless of what you are, discussions always become ugly.
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Sep 10

This coming Monday (September 14th), I will be talking with Hellen van Meene about her new work at the SVA Theater in New York City (333 West 23rd Street; 7pm). It is going to be a great opportunity to hear her speak about her new work - and to buy a signed book! Click on the picture for a slightly larger version.
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Sep 10

I’m not sure I understand the text that accompanies Aaron McElroy’s Doll-Drums, but I like the images a lot.
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Sep 9

I won’t pretend I find the photography featured in this presentation very interesting, but I do like the combination of text plus images plus multimedia. This might be the future of magazines - where you “flip through” a magazine online, and if there’s anything that interests you, you can watch some movie or hear some audio file.
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Sep 9

Kenny Trice’s photography of roadside fireworks stands (and shops) in the South contains a lot of great images. Those who can’t get enough of photos that contain stuffed animals, make sure to check out “Living with Taxidermy”.
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Sep 8

Even if an edition of New Yorker magazine might contain nothing of real interest (which has been the case more often than not recently), I always make sure to read movie reviews by Anthony Lane, who even on a bad day will always outwit each and every one of the other authors. So I was thrilled to discover a piece by Mr Lane about Robert Frank’s “The Americans” in the recent edition of the magazine. Move over, Peter Schjeldahl!
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Sep 8

After having looked through 575 submissions, plus 25 ten-image portfolios for the second round, I managed to pick the three winners of this year’s (first) Conscientious Portfolio Competition. The second round was tough - I could have easily picked more winners; and I am very impressed by the amazing quality of the work that I received. I will introduce and interview the three winners in much more detail over the next weeks; here are their names (in alphabetical order) and the portfolios they submitted: Lydia Panas, “The Mark of Abel” Bradley Peters, “Home Theater” David Wright, “Alebtong, Uganda” Congratulations to the winners! I’m looking forward to very interesting conversations!
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Sep 8

PhotoQ managed to unearth the essay that AP forced the Noorderlicht Festival to remove - now you can see what the fuss was all about.
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Sep 7

Stefan Hobmaier’s Dorfjugend portrays the lives of young people in small villages.
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Sep 4

Beauty is most commonly associated with landscapes that have something obvious to offer: We want to be wowed. Everything else is “boring”. We don’t have time for that. Of course, whether we are doing ourselves a favour by constantly demanding to be entertained or at least tickled is not quite so clear: Aren’t we setting ourselves up like a bunch of junkies, always looking out for the next trip?
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Sep 3

I thought that this photo, from Benjamin Norman’s Wall Street project, was a telling sign of the times…
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Sep 2

I have been noticing that there are some pretty wild ideas about how much to charge for a photograph in the fine-art market out there. So I was pleasantly surprised to find an article entitled back to that discussion about pricing, written by photographer Chris Rauschenberg. Key quote: “The decisions that you make about price and edition size will determine how many of your prints are out in the world, being seen, thrilling people, and eventually flowing into museum collections.”
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Sep 2

David Campbell offers a smart take on AP’s censorship of part of the Noorderlicht Festival: “I think both [Noorderlich curator] Franklin and AP are naïve in their view that photographs themselves speak, as though they could construct a larger meaning without text or other related media that put them in context. However, in addition to their censorship of Franklin’s views, AP are especially naïve because the professional Palestinian photographs from within Gaza […] have already been widely circulated and read with a variety of texts creating various meanings. To suggest that these AP photographs should now be stripped of prior associations and rendered ‘apolitical’ is itself the most political stance one can take.”
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Sep 2

The theatricality of the imagery in Jesse Louttit’s Employees Only reminds me of some of PL diCorcia’s work.
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Sep 1

The submission deadline for the Conscientious Portfolio Competition has passed, and now it’s time for me to move on to the second stage. I did not anticipate the amount of interest in the competition - I received 575 submissions, and there is a lot of good work to choose from. Given the large number of submissions I decided to change the prize a little, so now there will be three winners (instead of one), and as I said before other work might also appear on the blog - there are many discoveries to be featured here later.
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