Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Betty Blythe (image source unknown) - about here.

A Very Happy New Year - and happy new decade - to one and all!
(Just another 10 years to the roaring 20s - let's hope!)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

God Jul, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays

Photographs by me.

Today the Nordic countries celebrate Christmas, so wishing you all God Jul! A Very Merry Christmas for tomorrow and Happy Holidays to all!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Walking Through the World.

Walking Through the World. Photographs by Sandi Haber Fifield. Text by Arthur Ollman, Tom O'Connor. Charta, 2009. 96 pp., 188 color illustrations, 12x9½".

" 'Walking through the World' includes Sandi Haber Fifield’s photographs from 2003 to the present.

Her grids, diptychs, and installations stretch the boundaries of the traditional frame to mirror the ways in which we gather information visually. The work is born of collisions and alignments that are made as she navigates the world and reinterprets what is in front of her lens.

The textured layering of images is suggestive, not definitive, and the work encourages the viewer to examine connections between images as well as the empty spaces linking them.

As Richard Klein of The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum has said, 'Sandi Haber Fifield’s haunting and quietly beautiful work with multiple images is extremely pertinent to this moment in photography’s continuing evolution. Her approach forces the viewer to slow down and consider the relationship between images. Never bombastic or sensational, the artist’s work is both a corollary to our current visual environment as well as its antidote.'

'In Walking through the World Sandi Haber Fifield addresses aspects of human vision that few have explored with such dedication. She seems to be floating through a world that is familiar to us and yet we have never seen it this way before . . . Like memories, these images drift in and out of focus, messages from the edges of her vision, woven together with eloquent threads. They wander elusively in the mind, dissolving one into the others, identifying her surroundings and her experience. Here is the artist’s realization of everything coming together.'
- Arthur Ollman, Founding Director, The Museum of Photographic Arts. "

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bauhaus 1919-1933. Workshops for Modernity.

Bauhaus 1919-1933. Workshops for Modernity. By Barry Bergdoll and Leah Dickerman. 2009. 328pp., 475 illustrations, 12x9.5".

" 'Bauhaus 1919–1933: Workshops for Modernity', published to accompany a major multimedia exhibition, is The Museum of Modern Art’s first comprehensive treatment of the subject since its famous Bauhaus exhibition of 1938.

It offers a new generational perspective on the twentieth century’s most influential experiment in artistic education, and examines the extraordinarily broad spectrum of the school’s products.

Many of the objects discussed and illustrated here have rarely if ever been seen outside of Germany.

Featuring approximately 400 full-color plates richly complemented by a range of documentary images, Bauhaus 1919–1933 includes two overarching essays by the exhibition’s curators, Barry Bergdoll and Leah Dickerman; shorter object-specific essays by more than twenty leading scholars; and an illustrated, narrative chronology that provides a dynamic glimpse of the Bauhaus’s lived history."

The MoMA exhibition Bauhaus 1919–1933: Workshops for Modernity is on until January 25, 2010.

PS. Another laps in postings - apologies, will do better!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

New Topographics.

New Topographics. Text by Britt Salvesen, Alison Nordström. Steidl & Partners, 2009. 256 pp., Illustrated throughout, 11¾x9½".

" 'The New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape' was one of those rare exhibitions that permanently alters how an art form is perceived.

Held at the International Museum of Photography in Rochester, New York, in January 1975, it was curated by William Jenkins, who brought together ten contemporary photographers: Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, Bernd and Hilla Becher, Joe Deal, Frank Gohlke, Nicholas Nixon, John Schott, Stephen Shore and HenryWessel, Jr.

Signaling the emergence of a new approach to landscape, the show effectively gave a name to a movement or style, although even today, the term 'New Topographics' - more a conceptual gist than a precise adjective - is used to characterize the work of artists not yet born when the exhibition was held.

Although the exhibit’s ambitions were hardly so grand, New Topographics has since come to be understood as marking a paradigm shift, for the show occurred just as photography ceased to be an isolated, self-defined practice and took its place within the contemporary art world.

Arguably the last traditionally photographic style, New Topographics was also the first Photoconceptual style. In different ways, the artists thoughtfully engaged with their medium and its history, while simultaneously absorbing such issues as environmentalism, capitalism and national identity.

In this vital reassessment of the genre, essays by Britt Salvesen and Alison Nordström accompany illustrations of selected works from the 1975 exhibition, with installation views and contextual comparisons, to demonstrate both the historical significance of New Topographics and its continued relevance today.

The book also includes an illustrated checklist of the 1975 exhibition and an extensive bibliography."

Friday, December 11, 2009

Certain Places.

Certain Places. Photographs and Introduction by William Clift. William Clift Editions, Santa Fe, 1987. 44 pp., twenty-two tritone illustrations, 12¼x11¼".

"At the age of fifteen, Boston-born William Clift took his first photography workshop with Paul Caponigro.

With Walter Chappell and Caponigro, Clift became a charter member of the Association of Heliographers, New York, which supported photographers concerned with expressing experience or ideas beyond the factual documentation of scenes and occurrences.

In 1970, Clift was commissioned by the Massachusettes Council on the Arts to photograph the vacant Boston City Hall, a project in which he strove to capture the latent presence of its former occupants.

His other projects included documenting the nation's courthouses, the New York State Capitol in Albany, and the Hudson River Valley. He also is known for his New Mexico landscapes and images of Mont Saint Michel."

Two William Clift books in a row, but I thought they were quite different, even though the quiet melodiousness is similar.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Hudson Landscape.

A Hudson Landscape. Photographs by William Clift. Text by Paul Kane. William Clift Editions, Santa Fe, 1993. 86 pp., five-impression, dry-trap reproductions, 11½x10¼".

"This book by William Clift is a visual journey which takes us north, up the Hudson River from just above New York.

A gorgeous edition, this self-published monograph includes a prose companion by Paul Kane.

Clift's photographs evoke the still vibrant and fecund natural landscape of the Hudson Valley at all times of day - the fog of morning, the gentle breeze of afternoon, the haze of evening."

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Beautiful Losers.

Beautiful Losers. Edited by Aaron Rose and Christian Strike. D.A.P. & Iconoclast, 2009. 288 pp., 220 color and 200 black & white illustrations, 8½x11".

"The greatest cultural accomplishments in history have never been the result of the brainstorms of marketing men, corporate focus groups or any homogenized methods; they have always happened organically. More often than not, these manifestations have been the result of a few like-minded people coming together to create something new and original for no other purpose than a common love of doing it.

In the 1990s, a loose-knit group of American artists and creators, many just out of their teens, began their careers in just such a way. Influenced by the popular underground youth subcultures of the day, such as skateboarding, graffiti, street fashion and independent music, artists like Shepard Fairey, Mark Gonzales, Spike Jonze, Margaret Kilgallen, Mike Mills, Barry McGee, Phil Frost, Chris Johanson, Harmony Korine and Ed Templeton began to create art that reflected the lifestyles they led.

Many had no formal training and almost no conception of the inner workings of the art world. They learned their crafts through practice, trial and error, and good old-fashioned innovation.
Not since the Beat Generation have we seen a group of creative individuals with such a unified aesthetic sense and varied cultural facets. The world of art has been greatly affected by their accomplishments as have the worlds of fashion, music, literature, film, and, ironically, athletics.

Beautiful Losers is a retrospective celebration of this spirit, with hundreds of artworks by over two dozen artists, from precursors like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring and Larry Clark, to more recent adherents Ryan McGinness, KAWS and Geoff McFetridge.

Work in all conceivable mediums is included, plus reproductions of reams of ephemera. The accompanying essays are contributed by a half-dozen writers who have championed these beautiful losers from the start.

This paperback reprint includes more pages, more images, an exhibition checklist, installation shots from a variety of exhibitions and an interview with Beautiful Losers advocate Agnes B."

(If you want to view the trailer and info for the film 'Beautiful Losers' you can do that here).

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Portraits of Silence.

Portraits of Silence. Photographs by Hisashi Shimizu. Kodansha, 2009. 114 pp., Color illustration throughout, 8¼x7¼".

From the artist statement:

"A mother sits at her garden table and silently talks to her son. Another wears her son’s dog tag, wishing for another hug. A father keeps his son’s bicycle in the garage. Another mother hears her son’s cheerful voice. Then she wakes; it was only a dream.

Since the Iraq War started in 2003, many soldiers have died. Every one of these soldiers was somebody’s child.

As I shot these images, I was touched by the parents’ love and by the family ties that still bind them to their children, who have passed on. While the soldiers themselves do not appear in the photographs, their presence has been captured.

I am hoping these photographs convey the profound desire of these parents to keep the memory of their children alive."

PS. Many apologies for the weeks of no posts!