By Alex Novak
It appears that Photography has a bit more resilience than most of the art world--perhaps because it was not so overpriced to begin with. The recent AIPAD Photography Show New York seemed outright buoyant most of the time with huge crowds and--even more pleasantly surprising--buyers who pulled out their checkbooks, wallets and credit cards. While the audience numbers held steady on its record attendance from last year at 8,000 visitors, the show frankly seemed more packed then ever, especially on the weekend.
As the ever quotable Peter Fetterman, Santa Monica, CA, told me: "Of course all of the dealers entered into this show with an air of trepidation given the "challenging" economic environment. But I must say I was pleasantly surprised and excited. It was almost a Proustian moment: 'Remembrance of Things Past'. The good times had come back! The show had enormous energy and "buzz" so crucial to success. People seemed genuinely happy to be there and were actually buying. This was my fifth art fair in six weeks and the only one to generate extraordinary results."
Collectors from around the world, leading museum directors and curators, art dealers, artists and photographers, leaders from the worlds of business, entertainment and fashion, as well as celebrities and the media, attended the fair. Notable names included Jeremy Irons, Ralph Fiennes, Peter Riegert, Richard Prince, Bob Colacello, Paolo Ventura, Sylvia Plachy, Lillian Bassman, Jerry Uelsmann, Maggie Taylor, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Christina Kruse, Albert Maysles, Bruce Davidson, Paul Solberg and Christopher Makos, Karin Apollonia Muller, Glenn Lowry, Peter Galassi, Alexis Stewart, Albert Watson, Elliot Erwitt, Martin Schoeller, Tina Barney, David A. Dechman, Edgar and Sue Wachenheim, Grant Romer, Stephen Stein, Sandra Phillips, Anne E. Havinga, Charlotte Cotton, Tony Bannon, Dan and Mary Solomon, Weston Naef, Michael Mattis, Arthur Tress, James Hyman, Keith Davis and Nancy L. Lane--and that is by no means an exhaustive list.
For me one of the big surprises was the increased presence and activity of the institutional players, who looked like they showed up in bigger numbers this year than previously. While there have certainly been cutbacks, the museums are still apparently on the lookout for photography additions to their collections, often with the help of key donors.
In addition to the Museum of Modern Art, New York, many other major institutions were represented, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; Peabody Museum; Art Institute of Chicago; George Eastman House, Rochester, NY; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Cleveland Museum of Art; Detroit Institute of Arts; Milwaukee Art Museum; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Harn Museum of Art; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, and many others.
Seventy-three of the world's leading fine art photography galleries and bookstores presented a wide range of museum-quality work including contemporary, modern, and 19th-century photographs, as well as photo-based art, video, books and new media. The 29th edition of the AIPAD Photography Show New York opened with a well-attended Gala Preview on March 25 to benefit the John Szarkowski Fund, an endowment for photography acquisitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
Private tours led by major museum directors and curators, brought in major collectors including: Richard and Ronay Menschel, Gary and Sarah Walkowitz, Fred and Stephanie Shuman, Christian Keesee, and Arthur Fleischer.
"I think the show exceeded people's expectations," noted Stephen Bulger, the new president of AIPAD, and president, Stephen Bulger Gallery, Toronto. "Collectors and museum professionals depend on AIPAD for the most important work on the market today in fine art photography. We were extremely pleased to work with the terrific people at AXA Art Insurance (the show's Premier Corporate Sponsor) for the first time, and look forward to continued success."
THE EXHIBITORS' PERSPECTIVE
By the end of the first day, Serge Plantureux, Paris, and an I Photo Central member, had sold 25 works adding up to $105,000 and the numbers increased to 61 works and over $200,000, as the show closed on Sunday with prices ranging from $200 to $20,000. "We did not do too badly", was the way Plantureux put it so understatedly. While the gallerist had thought that unconventional things might sell best, it was the more conventional pieces that did well in this environment.
Winter Works on Paper, Brooklyn--one of my neighbors at the show--sold 80 works ranging from $100 to $8,000, and six curators were among the buyers. I was also one of David Winter's buyers, purchasing five modernist 1930s prints by an unknown, but highly skilled Leipzig photographer. Winter told me that he did "much better than last year", and felt that he benefited from "being at the lower end of the price range."
Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York, found the show strong and sold a number of photographs by Stephen Shore in the $24,000 range.
Maggie Weston, of Weston Galleries, Carmel, CA, reportedly sold an oversize Ansel Adams' Aspens for six figures the first night.
Robert Morat of Robert Morat Galerie, Hamburg, a guest exhibitor, commented that "the show looked great," and was impressed by "a very good crowd that is interested and knowledgeable." The gallery sold ten works with many more pending and Morat said they were pleased with the considerable number of sales, adding "but even if we hadn't sold a single piece, it would have been still worth it to be here with the great crowds and important encounters."
"The turnout for the show was incredible and good material was presented," noted Missy Finger of PDNB Gallery, Dallas, which sold 13 works including Bill Owen's "Reagan on TV" from 1971. "Overall I feel this was a good fair for many dealers and collectors," she added.
It's a "very good looking show that gets better ever year," was the report from Deborah Bell of Deborah Bell Photography, New York City, which sold work from Marcia Resnick, Louis Faurer and Susan Paulsen.
Barry Singer of Barry Singer Gallery, Petaluma, CA, told me, "Although down from last year, we did very well. I felt the quality of the people was higher, asking intelligent questions and on the whole seeming intrigued by what they saw in our booth. I think for those who were successful it was partly due to the fact that the AIPAD show was before the auctions this year; and because the auctions had such limited offerings, those people with money chose to spend it with us."
"I had some outstanding Edmund Teske¹s that has taken me 15 years to get and most are new to the market. I sold four beautiful duotone solarizations, which included an image of Kenneth Anger, one of the earliest independent film makers. I also sold a $25,000 Margaret Bourke-White industrial picture and a group of W.E. Smith pictures. Other pictures that sold were Siskind, Siegel, Stoumen, Callahan, Evans, Kertesz, Bullock and a small Watkins of Yosemite. The good news that I take away from this show is that people are still buying photographs."
Charles Schwartz, New York City and an I Photo Central member, reported that "this year's AIPAD was a very good fair for me. I sold a number of W. Eugene Smith photographs and had a lot of interest in my Japanese material--both the 19th-century ambrotypes and 20th-century prints. The most interesting piece I had at the show was a vintage print of W. Eugene Smith's iconic "Walk to Paradise Garden" that was made from the original negative. This is a very rare print and the price is $45,000. The print is still available. I also had a lot of strong African-American material at the show, and was particularly surprised that I did not sell two vintage prints by Gordon Parks."
"From an aesthetic perspective, I thought that this was one of the best AIPADs. The booths were of high quality and the attendance at the show was very strong."
"AIPAD's best ever," noted Spencer Throckmorton of Throckmorton Fine Art, Inc., New York, which sold more than ten works including Manuel Alvarez Bravo's "Smoke Stacks", 1929, for over $50,000.
Daniel Blau of Daniel Blau Gallery, Munich, said, "AIPAD was three sales better than expected--one museum sale, one dealer sale and one collector sale. A good mix, but hardly a financial jackpot. We made some new museum contacts, which is why we come to the show in the first place. There are many curators interested in photography in the USA who can't travel to Europe for various reasons (lack of travel funds being the obvious one). I do like to come to AIPAD and especially the uptown armory location. The fair is getting better each time and with all the potential calculated in, the AIPAD show's future looks pretty pink! Next to Paris, it is simply the only other serious photo venue."
Gary Edwards Gallery, Washington, DC, sold 30 works between $1,000 and $5,000 and thought that attendance was excellent. "I am still working on a substantial number of follow-up sales from the show, mostly with clients with whom I interacted during the show, but also a few who have contacted me by email to inquire about material they had seen at the booth but didn't act on until after the show."
Edwards told me, "Sales were good. My sales ranged from 1840s-50s calotypes to 1940s-50s silver prints, such as a group of contact prints of Doisneau photos of Paris with provenance of one of Doisneau's publishers. I was fortunate to have a mention in the New York Times' review of AIPAD, which pointed to a group of anonymous 1910s-20s photographs of Russian avant-garde stage design. I sold most of these before the review came out, then there were other clients for what was left over. And as usual, I sold a good number of interesting mid-range ($1,000-3,000) 19th-century albumen prints of varying subject matter, including a largish group of hand-colored Japanese images."
"Among the unsold pieces are three intriguing photographs of women, which I hung as a group, by Man Ray, Alphonse Mucha and Francesca Woodman. The Man Ray and Woodman are priced in the 20s, the Mucha much less, although not less interesting."
"I thought the show looked great, and was well run. Attendance was excellent. The "Innovation" initiative was a good one. And my entry, a technical radar image of 1948, sold to a prestigious collection."
Marina Pellegrini of Galeria Vasari, Buenos Aires, thought it was a "very good show and very well attended by collectors. We did very well in the fair. People were interested in seeing new works by Latin-American photographers who were unknown for them. We sold two works by Annemarie Heinrich and have three sales pending. Our most interesting pieces at the show were: 'Caprichos', 'Torso' and nudes by Annemarie Heinrich (Caprichos was sold and Torso is on hold); the other works that attracted people's attention was the complete series of Sueños (or Dreams) by Grete Stern. Although everybody requested information about these signed prints, because they must sell as a group, they are still available."
Mack Lee of Lee Gallery, of Winchester, MA, told me that "the show went well. We found that interest and sales were stronger than we expected. We are very happy to be exhibiting at the Armory. The show looked great, was managed well and we were impressed by the quality and diversity of the photographs on display."
"We sold across the board: 19th- and 20th-century photographs, including images by Steichen, Weston, Minor White, Baldus, Negre, Hine and others. We did not notice a change of customer interest from year to year. Sales were considerably stronger than in January at Photo LA."
Payal S. Parekh, Director of Sales for SEPIA International and the Alkazi Collection of Photography of New York City, reported that "this was the first year SEPIA has participated in AIPAD. Overall sales were minimal, but the exposure was excellent. We mostly represent contemporary artists that are from or producing works out of Asia, with a concentration in India, Japan and Korea. Most of the audience at the fair seemed more interested in vintage material. There appeared to be an overall focus on 19th-century and 20th-century material and also on work that could be purchased at bargain-basement prices!"
"Collectors were interested in our booth and commented on the salon style hang, but also did not recognize the material as quickly as they could identify a Weston or Minor White. Again it was good to participate and important for SEPIA to begin a dialogue, so that every year, the gallery gains more exposure. AIPAD is a good start for this kind of initiative."
"We featured previously unseen vintage material by Earl of England Derry Moore, priced around $7,500. He photographed in India in the 1970s. We hung posthumous estate prints by 1970s color photographer Raghubir Singh, starting at around $8,000. We also had on exhibit a masterpiece triptych by up and coming contemporary photographer, Atul Bhalla, who is based in Delhi. This was one of the more expensive works at $20,000. We also had many works ranging from $800- $1,500."
"The attendance at the fair was impressive and seemed to increase every day. We also felt that though usually towards the end of a fair, the serious collectors have picked works, purchased and fled, there was still a lot of energy and collectors mulling about even on Sunday at this fair! We think on the whole, despite a very weak economy and generally deflated contingency/purchasing power, the fair was encouraging and indicated a bumpy road ahead but one still open with possibilities."
Anna Walker Skillman of Jackson Fine Art, Atlanta, said, "I felt that the fair was an overall success. On a scale from 1 to 10, sales were a 5, but I expected a 3, so that is very good. On a scale from 1 to 10 the quality of the collectors, curators and viewers, I have to give it an 8-1/2. The people's energy was amazing. There was never a dull moment where I was just standing around. We met great collectors and had great follow-ups! I also felt that the quality of the booths and dealers was strong. Everyone seemed to come together as a powerful group. I was proud to be a part of it. We sold many of Mona Kuhn's new work from Brazil, a few Vee Speers from her Birthday Party Series and, of course, groupings of Japanese photographer Masao Yamamoto. We still have about four to five sales pending. Prices varied from $800 to $7500."
"The audience has been great. This has been one of the best years," was the response from HackelBury Fine Art Limited, London, which sold 15 works in the $5,000 to $45,000 range including Structure of Thought, 2001-2009, by Doug & Mike Starn.
Gallery 19/21, Gilford, CT, sold 12 prints to private collectors including young couples just starting their collections.
The show "looked good and was crowded," noted Steven Kasher of Steven Kasher Gallery, New York. "The best new collector I met came to see the rare book dealers and then came to my booth." The gallery sold work by Billy Name including, Flower Paintings at the Factory, 1960.
Lee Marks Fine Art, Shelbyville, IN, sold numerous prints of a work by Mariana Cook that stirred quite a bit of attention at the show--a portrait of Barack and Michelle Obama in their Chicago home from 1996.
Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York, sold 20 works by Hellen van Meene, Masao Yamamoto and Andrew Moore, among others. Richardson told me: "We were very, very pleased. We sold less than last year, but this is a new world with a new art market, so I was very pleased with the density of attendance, the quality of attendees and the number of sales. We are still doing follow-up and closing pending sales, and some people who bought at AIPAD are buying additional work."
"Some of the most interesting work we sold well was Van Meene's new portraits from Russia, one of which was featured in the New York Times' review of the show, and the new work by Andrew Moore on Detroit and the post-industrial urban landscape of the Midwest, which we will exhibit next fall. We also sold selections from our grouping of Ken Josephson's work. Some of the most interesting work that we did not sell was the new still life by Laura Letinsky, which we ended up having to install in our closet for space considerations. It is now properly displayed in the gallery and looks exquisite. The show looked great, better every year."
Bonni Benrubi, Bonni Benrubi Gallery, New York City, told me, "The gallery had a very good AIPAD--almost counter-intuitive to the times. We sold all of the artists that we brought with the exception of one, some in multiples. In particular, we sold a fair amount of work by Abelardo Morell and Matthew Pillsbury. We met a few new people, but this is our neighborhood, so that is a little harder to do. The gallery did benefit from being so close to the fair, as out-of-town clients also went to the gallery. I thought that the fair looked beautiful and that AIPAD did a very fine job."
Michael Shapiro, Michael Shapiro Photographs, San Francisco, remarked that it was a "surprisingly good show. Top pieces of interest both had three (yes, three) back-ups: Minor White's large vintage print of his famous barn image with the shadow of the electrical pole, and an unusually large (16 x 20-inch) "Photogenic" by Lotte Jacobi, which was exhibited in "Abstraction in Photography" at MoMA in 1951. The wall board contained a photograph of the piece's installation in the show." Shapiro reported selling 18 prints ranging from $1,250 to $48,000, including additional work by André Kertész and Jefferson Hayman.
"Except for some reasonably priced 'later' photographs with strong subject matter (rock n' roll, for example), the interest was clearly in rare, vintage work. No doubt about that."
Robert Mann of Robert Mann Gallery, New York City, told me, "Like nearly everyone else, I felt that AIPAD was better than we expected, especially since I went with no expectations!"
"We sold mostly contemporary artists recently exhibited in the gallery, such as Holly Andres, Gail Albert Halaban (great review in New York Times the week prior didn't hurt) and Mary Mattingly (opening tonight). We have a lot of follow-up but my expectations are the same as before AIPAD. I've learned it's better to be pleasantly surprised. All but one sale at AIPAD was to a new client (now that's why we do art fairs!).
"We had a great cross-section of classical and contemporary. Clearly the vintage Callahans and Siskinds were a hit and the early Adams' Moonrise was our show-stopper. Besides the contemporary works that sold, the piece by res, titled Chica Azul, the very provocative piece based on Picasso's 'Women in a Chemise' that faced the front entrance, stopped a lot of people in their tracks."
"I was absolutely flabbergasted and delighted by the attendance, especially on Thursday and Friday which are often quiet days. I was also happy to see a great turnout by curators making the rounds. The show ran like clockwork, and the organizers and facilitators are to be commended."
Alan Klotz Gallery, New York, was pleased to sell close to 20 works including eight by Jonathan Torgovnik from his new book, 'Intended Consequences: Rwandan Children Born of Rape' (Aperture 2009), with 25% of the proceeds going to the Foundation Rwanda.
Peter Fetterman of Peter Fetterman Gallery, Santa Monica, CA, reported that his artist, "Lillian Bassman visited us opening night holding court in our booth and was treated like a 'star' which of course she is and the New York Times published a joyous image on the society pages of Sunday's edition."
Fetterman continued, "Our new addition to our gallery roster, Jeffrey Conley, with his classic American landscapes found many inspired supporters. Jeffrey was with us at the show and was much welcomed by new collectors at an affordable price point of $900-$5000, and, of course, Sebastiao Salgado's images elicited great response. Just before AIPAD we sold 15 of his prints to the Getty Museum. An inspiring week in New York and AIPAD should be congratulated on producing a great show. The new carpets helped many a dealer's bad backs, myself included. Can't wait till next year."
One of the exceptions, our own company, Contemporary Works/Vintage Works, did not have a particularly good show financially at AIPAD, although some pending business could change those results. In fact it was a very frustrating show for me, considering how many pieces we either put aside for different clients who never completed their purchases here, or those clients who told us that they expected to come back and purchase certain pieces and never managed to get back to the booth during the show. But that often happens, so I am happy, at least, to make the acquaintance of so many new collectors and to visit with so many old friends. The attendance was indeed superb and the quality of the crowd and the exhibits was equally excellent.
I did enjoy seeing many of our Facebook friends at the show. (Please feel free to add me-- email@example.com --on your Facebook friend list with a note that you are a reader of the E-Photo Newsletter.) About 50 of you stopped by to introduce yourselves during the show. Thanks to all of you again.
We did sell a great Robert Mapplethorpe (and still have several others available, which we will be bringing to Art Chicago) and one large color photograph, "Lake", from Lisa Holden's wonderful new series, Lilith. Holden's work was featured in the INNOVATIONS program. We also sold a number of vintage prints, including a Clarence John Laughlin, an early Felice Beato Japanese photograph, two Eugene Constant images of Rome, a Czech photo by Antonin Gribovský (to a dealer), three 19th-century Western images, a F. Bedrich Grünzweig vintage image, an Andre Kertesz photo, and a marvelous Wilhelm Hammerschmidt tree, and an Atget of "Porte de Bercy, Gare du P.L.M.".
Several people were close to buying one of the Jerry Spagnoli images of the Obama Inauguration, from the $2,500 smaller ink jet to the larger color print to the $20,000 unique daguerreotype. Our vintage print of Robert Frank's "Butte, MT" (Mother and Children) was nearly sold two or three times (and should have been!). Also Arthur Tress, who attended the show, got a lot of attention. A film crew was filming several interviews in our booth for an upcoming documentary on Arthur and Duane Michals.
Likewise we had lots of interest in our Southworth & Hawes daguerreotypes, including from several exhibitors and curators. Other top 19-century pieces (Teynards, De Launays, Le Grays, Baldus, Disderi, Lebel, etc.) were also temptations for a number of collectors and curators, and we hope that they won't be able to resist them for much longer.
Other 20th-century pieces of note include some of our Cartier-Bresson early prints; the platinum print by Irving Penn of "Girl in Bed"; Édouard Boubat's vintage print of "Self Portrait with Lella"; several Raoul Ubac surrealist images; a number of vintage Sudek photographs including two very rare pigment prints; Dorothea Lange's "Black Mother and Baby"; a large 1948 Egan-labeled Aaron Siskind abstraction; several vintage Andre Kertesz images; a great vintage Ralph Meatyard of a young girl; and many more. Many of these, plus additional images will be on display in our booth at Art Chicago (12-513), which is on the 12th floor of the Chicago Merchandise Mart at the end of this month through May 4th.
THE COLLECTORS' PERSPECTIVE
For the attendees' perspective, I tapped into the Facebook network to get a few reactions from collectors to the AIPAD Show. Here's what I found.
David Rudin, who actually blogged about the event (you can see his blog at: http://figuresofgrace.blogspot.com/2009/03/aipad-photography-show.html ), told me, "I was there for four days, but left my buying to the last day: two Keith Carter prints (from his latest book) from PDNB Gallery (Dallas, TX) and two prints from the Czech Center folks (Prague). I was going to buy one more print of July 4th fireworks over New York by a young Japanese woman living here, but the dealer didn't take credit cards and I didn't have a check! I did get a kick out of Susan McCartney's Santas in Contemporary Works/Vintage Works booth."
Gary Graves told me, "The best work for me in the show was in the booths of Hans Kraus, Deborah Bell, Contemporary Works/Vintage Works and Robert Miller Gallery. The work I particularly like was the Meatyard and the Eakins at Contemporary Works/Vintage Works, the round Cameron and all the Talbots at Hans Kraus, the Erwin Blumenfeld prints in Deborah Bell's booth (I also like her gallery a lot), and the small vertical drag queens of Arbus and the four Sigmar Polke's in the Miller Gallery Booth. I also liked the Sugimoto 'Theater' photographs in another booth. The show was strong in early 20th- and 19th-century works, but weak in contemporary. Moriyama's Work seems oddly ill-fitted in an AIPAD show and his beautiful work was lost in the several booths featuring it (and a bargain for $3,000). Some of the new work in the show was, for lack of a better word, "hybridized" and won't stand the test of time; boring today/boring tomorrow. Hold the gold paint for an Egyptian Revival something or other."
Graves' wife Anne Gridley added, "The show was great on the historic/vintage end. The Meatyard print was one of the highlights. Also I saw Chris Killip's work in person for the first time. Did not buy anything this year but we are thinking on it."
David Chow emailed, "Plenty of things that I've never seen before. Serge Plantureux sold that great photo of Stalin. I particularly liked the navel images by Steichen that Mack Lee had. Galerie Daniel Blau had this image of two Tahitian women that I kept looking at. The only thing I bought and could afford I got from Charles Schwartz. It's a sake cup, with a photographic image of a Japanese woman in the bottom."
Suzanne Revy commented, "I was there Friday, and was pleased to see a lot of b/w work, and smaller prints. Two years ago I remember feeling inundated by a lot of large color work. I like the smaller gems, which suits the medium. I was smitten by the Meatyard at Contemporary Works/Vintage Works."
Paul Paletti noted that he "bought a few books, but no prints--yet. Money is very tight, but there were some beautiful things there and several bargains. It was great to see a swing toward the historical and away from all the big boring color photos of nothing in particular."
PROGRAMS ADD TO AIPAD'S FLAVOR
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of AIPAD, this year's show offered a number of special events including two special exhibitions, panel discussions, and a lecture. The 30th anniversary exhibition, INNOVATION, showcased milestones in the history of photography from daguerreotypes to new media. Each gallery offered a work that reflected an innovation such as a technical or artistic development. A complete catalogue of the INNOVATION special exhibition, produced by AIPAD in collaboration with Aperture Foundation, was provided to all visitors at the show and is now available online at http://www.aipad.com/photoshow . The Center for the Legacy of Photography (CLP) offered "Cause & Effect", an exhibition of vintage photographic prints and negatives, drawing upon George Eastman House's extensive collection.
Overflow crowds packed the Veteran's Room of the Park Avenue Armory for a full day of panel discussions on Saturday, March 28, which featured leaders in the art world including Malcolm Daniel, Metropolitan Museum of Art; Anne E. Havinga, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Grant B. Romer, George Eastman House; Charlotte Cotton, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Vince Aletti, critic and curator; and artists and filmmakers, including Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Albert Maysles and Bruce Davidson.
If you missed this year's AIPAD Photography Show New York, you missed a good one.
Art Chicago, the international fair of contemporary and modern art, returns to the 12th floor of the Merchandise Mart, May 1-4, 2009, with an opening preview on April 30. The downtown Chicago show will feature a fresh slate of exhibitions, call-out panels, provocative programming and approximately 110 premier galleries from around the world.
"Art Chicago is as much about Chicago as it is about art," said Chris Kennedy, president of Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. (MMPI). "This is a city with a spirited commitment to art and architecture, and, as such, is home to world-class cultural institutions run by the brightest professionals in the arts. I think art--particularly contemporary art--has a tremendous capacity to help form our civic outlook, encourage acceptance of original ideas, and help shape the point of view from which we approach problem solving."
Offering curators, collectors and art enthusiasts a wide-ranging survey starting with early 20th -century modern masters up through the most celebrated, emerging artists of our times, Art Chicago includes works in a wide range of media including painting, photography, drawings, prints, sculpture, video, mixed media and special installations.
A sampling of 2009 art galleries includes:
--Base Gallery, Tokyo
--Chambers Fine Art, New York
--DIE Gallery, Frankfurt
--Fleisher-Ollman Gallery, Philadelphia
--Forum Gallery, New York
--James Goodman Gallery, New York
--Mayor Gallery, London
--Paul Thiebaud Gallery, San Francisco
--P.P.O.W., New York
Although many of the general art galleries feature photography, the galleries announced that will specialize in photography at the fair include:
--Contemporary Works/Vintage Works
--Stephen Daiter Gallery
--Catherine Edelman Gallery
--Hackelbury Fine Art
--Rhona Hoffman Gallery
--Robert Koch Gallery
--Alan Koppel Gallery
--Holden Luntz Gallery
"Art Chicago 2009 will be a comprehensive art experience for dealers, collectors, curators, artists and enthusiasts alike," notes Tony Karman, vice president of Art Chicago. "The show will maintain its international flavor, with galleries from Spain, England, Germany, Canada, India, Korea, France, Mexico and Japan participating. We welcome many returning Art Chicago galleries as well as first-time participants from abroad, throughout the US, the Midwest and, of course, our own Chicago dealers."
"Art has to be the subtext for any production concerning Art Chicago," notes Vice President of MMPI Art Shows & Events Paul Morris, "To this end, Art Chicago has taken a lead position emphasizing education and outreach to experienced collectors, and programs designed to attract and engage new collectors. Our team is focused on making all of the art at the fair accessible; we've implemented a Docent Program, improved cultural alliances, are offering Art Advisory services, and have solicited the participation of the pre-eminent thinkers in the art world."
Entering The Merchandise Mart, Art Chicago attendees will encounter one of Buckminster Fuller's renowned geodesic domes in the enormous South Lobby. The original dome, aptly placed in the epicenter of design, is the ultimate representation of Buckminster Fuller's unparalleled influence on art, design and architecture. The dome also serves as a complement to the Museum of Contemporary Art's concurrent exhibition Buckminster Fuller: Starting with the Universe.
Three stand-alone, on-site exhibitions will harmonize with the Art Chicago dealers within the gallery-like setting of The Merchandise Mart's twelfth floor, including: New Insight, Partisan, and The Hairy Who and Imagist Legacy in Contemporary Art.
New Insight, now in its third year, is a much-anticipated exhibition of top MFA students from some of the country's most influential graduate art programs. Curated by Susanne Ghez, director of the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, New Insight is a platform for new talent and innovative ideas. This non-commercial installation will introduce Art Chicago visitors to the brightest young artists working in diverse graduate programs across the country.
Mary Jane Jacob, executive director of exhibitions at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, will curate Partisan. This special exhibition culled from Art Chicago galleries will highlight works dedicated to the artistic exploration of social and political ideas. With hopes of initiating dialogue about art, activism and social change, Partisan provides a critical space of thought-provoking, highly charged works.
The Hairy Who and Imagist Legacy in Contemporary Art will honor Chicago's legendary artists best known for a colorful and irreverent aesthetic. Art Chicago will present an exhibition of works by contemporary artists whose works demonstrate an Imagist influence, whether from an unusual approach to representation, rebellious technique or link to the Imagist lineage. This exhibition, also featuring work by artists represented at the fair, will be curated for Art Chicago by Lynne Warren, curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and expert on the history of artistic practice in Chicago.
Realist art evolves to encompass the eras it represents, and Art Chicago is proud to showcase unique representational works in a Salute to Realism. Throughout the fair in dealer spaces, representational, outstanding works that demonstrate realism and traditional inspirations will be highlighted with special plaques.
In addition to exhibitions, Art Chicago once again presents Art Chicago Speaks, an on-site series of round-tables, panels and presentations from an international roster of artists, writers, critics and curators brought together during the fair to discuss current trends and challenging issues confronting the contemporary art market today. Among many others, presentations include A Night at the Opera: Performance and Process in Contemporary Sculpture presented by the International Sculpture Center. One on One: A Creative Conversation between Cynthia Rowley and Nick Cave will explore the intersection between art and style during this presentation by celebrated fashion designer and avid art collector Rowley and contemporary artist Cave, known for his wearable sculptures. Rounding out the weekend will be Art and the New Economy, a panel discussion focusing on positive ways to navigate the art market and arts funding in challenging economic times; organized by ArtTable, this program will be led by Paul Morris, vice president MMPI Art Shows & Events and co-founder of The Armory Show; Chicago gallery owner Rhona Hoffman, and will also feature Sarah Herda, executive director of the Graham Foundation.
"Art Chicago Speaks is a forum for exploring questions facing the art world in a tumultuous market," explains Paul Morris. "This intellectually engaging component to the fair challenges participants and guests with questions about the past, present and future of the art world, all led by some of the utmost experts in the art world today."
Debuting at Art Chicago and NEXT, CONVERGE will assemble 30+ regional curators together in public programs and panels to discuss topics confronting museum and curatorial practice in the changing economic climate. Art Chicago and NEXT will present this forum yearly during the fairs, bringing together curators from across the region and the country to discuss the most critical topics of the day.
Art Chicago, the star of a city-wide celebration of arts and culture called Artropolis, will be hosted at The Merchandise Mart. Running concurrently at The Mart is NEXT, the invitational exhibition of emerging art, and The Merchandise Mart International Antiques Fair. In 2008, Art Chicago and the fairs at The Merchandise Mart drew 54,000 attendees over four days.
More than 80 cross-discipline institutions from around Chicago will participate in the weekend with special openings, performances, exhibitions, back-of-house tours, discounted tickets, after-hours events and more. Museums, dance troupes, nightclubs, music venues, arts organizations and a host of cultural institutions large and small will be involved with the Artropolis experience. Further information can be found at artropolischicago.com.
Art Chicago 2009 enjoys a particularly strong alliance with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Devoted to the art of our time, the MCA is recognized as one of the nation's most esteemed museums and an enormous cultural draw to Chicago. Art Chicago 2009 has aligned dates with the opening of the MCA's much anticipated opening of Take your time: Olafur Eliasson, May 1 – September 13, 2009. Curators from the MCA will offer their expertise on panels and exhibitions; The Mart recently partnered with the MCA for Jenny Holzer's exquisite exhibition PROTECT PROTECT, during which text-based work projected onto the enormous south face of the building turned The Merchandise Mart into a colossal canvas.
Art Chicago's Opening Preview, April 30, 2009, will begin with First Focus, a $150 / ticket benefit for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, from Noon – 3 p.m., hosted by the MCA Women's Board. First Focus will give collectors the first opportunity to see the exceptional works at Art Chicago.
Following First Focus is a Professional Preview, by invitation, from 3 – 6 p.m., followed by an Opening Night Preview, from 6 – 9 p.m., with a ticket price of $40, partial proceeds benefiting the MCA.
ART CHICAGO EVENT SPECIFICS
Opening Preview, April 30, 2009
Noon-3 p.m. First Focus, providing sneak peek at Art Chicago. All proceeds will benefit the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Tickets are $150 and can be purchased by visiting http://www.mcachicago.org/firstfocus .
3-6pm: Art Chicago Professional Preview
6-9pm: Art Chicago Opening Preview
Benefiting the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Tickets are $40 and may be purchased on site or pre-ordered by going to http://www.artchicago.com .
General Run of Fair, May 1-4, 2009
Friday, May 1, 11 am-7 pm
Saturday, May 2, 11 am-7 pm
Sunday, May 3, 11 am-6 pm
Monday, May 4, 11 am-4 pm
Location: The Merchandise Mart, Chicago
$20 for entry to all three shows (Art Chicago, NEXT and Merchandise Mart International Antiques Fair).
$25 for multiple-day pass.
$15 Seniors and Students, all multi-day passes.
Information: http://www.artchicago.com or 1-312-527-3701.
Contemporary Works/Vintage Works will be exhibiting in booth 12-513 at Art Chicago in the Merchandise Mart on the 12th floor. Contemporary work by artists Lisa Holden, Arthur Tress, Jerry Spagnoli and Charlie Schreiner will be featured.
A major retrospective of ten large-scale color images from Lisa Holden's older work to her newest series, "Lilith" will be on exhibit. Lisa Holden will attend Art Chicago from April 30-May3, and will be available to the public to sign her books and catalogues. Holden's newest piece, "Lamia, Desert (Lilith Series)", was selected as part of the recent AIPAD new Innovations Program and one of her photographs, "Poet", is now in the collection of the Peabody Museum.
A sampling of Arthur Tress's work--from his early classic "Dream" series to his latest Pointers studies--will also be on display, and will include some of his rarely seen large-scale color work and his most revered image, "Flood Dream". Tress is one of the most important and influential photographers of his time.
Spagnoli became the first daguerreotypist to photograph a presidential inauguration with the help of the Smithsonian, which will receive one of the full-plate daguerreotypes of President Obama's swearing-in ceremony. His work on display at our booth will range from some of the actual unique daguerreotypes to a pigment print, limited edition version of one of the key daguerreotypes to a large-scale color work that was done at the same time showing President Obama waving to the crowds. In conjunction with Spagnoli's work, we will also display a salt print from the very first inauguration to have been photographed: President James Buchanan's 1857 swearing in. Only four such images are known to exist, including this one. Buchanan was considered to be a pro-slavery President, and so the work on the wall will complete an interesting cycle from U.S. history.
We will also have on display Charlie Schreiner's very popular "Cityscape", which is a composite of Chicago landmarks.
Contemporary Works/Vintage Works also represents Mitch Dobrowner, Claudia Kunin, Michael Philip Manheim, Stanko Abadzic, Vladimir Birgus, Joel D. Levinson and Krzysztof Pruszkowski, and will have samples of their work at the show.
From the 20th-century vintage material, the firm will show key work by André Kertész, Édouard Boubat, Horst, Robert Frank, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Aaron Siskind, Harry Callahan, Edward Steichen, Irving Penn, Francois Kollar, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Dorothea Lange, Lee Friedlander, Barbara Morgan, Clarence John Laughlin, Ilse Bing, Brassai, Edward Weston, Frantisek Drtikol, Josef Sudek, Helen Levitt, Raoul Ubac, Ruth Bernhard, Arnold Newman, Carl Mydans, Brett Weston, Robert Doisneau, Willy Ronis, Eugene Atget and Ralph Meatyard. In addition, Contemporary Works/Vintage Works will display a group of Robert Mapplethorpe's black and white photographs.
And, finally, Contemporary Works/Vintage Works will also have on hand some wonderful 19th-century material (Le Gray, Fenton, Bisson Freres, Baldus, Marville, Southworth & Hawes--a trio of very important portraits, De Launay, Negre, Teynard, De Clercq, Fortier, Richebourg, Frith, Disderi, Clifford, Salzmann, etc.), so please be sure to ask us about it.
After more than 50 catalog and catalog-internet auctions of photographs, Be-hold will hold its first live auction on Tuesday April 28th at the Radisson Martinique Hotel, 32nd St. at Broadway, in Manhattan.
The material, in 160 lots, extends across the range of photography from the early 1840's (a significant horizontal whole plate daguerreotype of an Alpine scene, one of the very first made in that region) to recent times. It offers an exciting overview of the range of photographic subjects, from photojournalism to portraits and experimental art, from anonymous or little known photographers to works by major artists. As befitting the current economic climate there is a range of lower-price material. Only a few lots have estimates in the range of $10,000 and above. Everything has been selected to be of collecting interest because of photographer, subject, and/or condition.
There is a strong group of war photographs by the great Robert Capa. An important image by Yevgheni Khaldei shows the raising of the Soviet flag at the Budapest Parliament in 1944, made months before his iconic image of the raising the flag over the Reichstag. The print seems to be a very rare vintage print made during the war. Early subjects of interest include desirable views of Robert Louis Stevenson and his circle at his late home in Samoa (from his family), an interesting photograph of a Confederate "ram," Western and Indian subjects including several by W. H. Jackson. A group of images from an Arctic voyage shows the slaying of seals and walrus. There are 11 lots of interesting, rarely offered pictorialist and modernist photographs from Japan.
Works by major photographers include a vintage 1926 night scene in Paris by André Kertész, and photographs by Brassaï, Doisneau, and other Europeans. American photographers include Weegee ( several experimental photographs that show him with his camera, "double"), Doris Ulmann (wonderful 1920s platinum print of two black women from South Carolina), Alice Boughton, Karl Struss, Baron de Meyer (rare early work), Gordon Coster, and W. Eugene Smith. There are two vintage photographs by the curious Mike Disfarmer, who has been receiving much attention lately, but whose photographs are just now starting to appear at auction.
More recent photographs include several by Jock Sturges, beautiful color photographs by Franco Fontana and Sheila Metzner, among other works. Aside from photographs in typical formats, the auction includes some unusual items such as a set of hand-painted posters for early cinema peep shows, with hand-colored photographs attached, and a wonderful folk art game board from Ohio with family snapshots in each of the "black squares."
There is a lot to see at the auction preview at the Martinique Hotel on Sunday, April 26th (10 am-9 pm), Monday, April 27th (10 am-9 pm) and Tuesday April 28th, (10 am to shortly before the 4 pm auction. The Polish-American photograph artist Andzrej Jerzy Lech, four of whose photographs appear in the auction, will exhibit more of his work during the preview. The hotel is offering special very low rates (starting at $85) at firstname.lastname@example.org . This is a great opportunity for those who want to combine a stay in a classic mid-town hotel with a chance to visit the preview and attend the auction.
Live absentee bidding will be provided by ArtfactLive (and their European sister site InvaluableLive). Left bids can be placed on those sites directly, or via Be-hold's own site http://www.Be-hold.com . Contact Larry Gottheim at Be-hold for further information about the bidding, procedures, material and all other related matters at email@example.com . Or call 1-914-423-5806 (but on the day of the action ONLY, call 1-914-439-6894). You can also contact Be-hold to order a richly illustrated, informative catalog showing and describing all the material. The subscription is $50 for three catalogues in North America and $70 any where else in the world.
Daniel Cooney Fine Art will post its Spring Online Auction of Photographs shortly at http://www.iGavel.com . Viewing for the auction--both in person and online--runs from April 21-May 13, 2009. The actual online auction will begin on May 13 at 1 pm EST. All lots are available for viewing at Daniel Cooney Fine Art during regular business hours during this time period and by appointment. Daniel Cooney Fine Art is at 511 West 25th St., #506, New York, NY 10001; phone: 1-212-255-8158; email: firstname.lastname@example.org . Normal gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 11 am-6 pm, and by appointment. All bids must be made online only at http://www.iGavel.com .
The auction offers some beautiful images by long-time luminaries such as William Eggleston, Elliot Erwitt and Joel Meyerowitz. The auction also features a select group of portfolios by Ralph Gibson, Erica Lennard and Alen MacWeeney, among others. All of the artwork in the auction is available for personal inspection during gallery hours and by appointment. If you are unable to visit the gallery directly, please contact the gallery for detailed condition reports or for any other reason.
Some of the top images include:
--William Eggleston, Untitled (Nehi Soft Drink Bottle on Wooden Porch), 1970s, signed on reverse, 14 x 17 in. (Res. $2,250, Est. $3,000-4,000).
--Elliot Erwitt, Soldier, NJ, 1951, silver print, signed, annotated in pencil on verso, 8 x 10 in. (Rev. $750, Est. $1,500-2,000).
--Dr. Harold Edgerton, Balloons, silver print, signed in ink on border, 16 x 20 in. (Res.$1,500, $2,500-3,500).
--Joel Meyerowitz, Bethesda Park, NYC, 1968, silver print, signed in pencil on the verso, 11 x 14 in. (Res. $500, Est. $1,000-2000).
--Peter Hujar, Divine, 1975 silver print, signed in ink on border 15 x 15 in. (Res. $4,000, Est. $6,000-8,000).
--Man Ray, Dorothea Tanning and Juliet Man Ray in Arizona in front of Man Ray's Car, 1941-46, silver print, 3-1/8 x 4 in. (Res. $1,000, Est. $3,000-6,000).
--Clarence John Laughlin, The Enchanted Tree ( Madewood Plantation), 1947 but printed later, silver print, print date 1973, stamped, initialed, titled, dated with various annotations in ink by artist on mount verso; also titled, dated and signed by artist on mount recto, 11-1/8 x 13-7/8 in. (Res. $900, Est. $2,500-4,000).
--Helen Levitt, Man at Beach, Coney Island, NY, 1950c (vintage print), silver print, signed in pencil on the verso, 3 x 2-1/4 in. (Res. $1,000, Est. $3,000-6,000).
There are many other top photographer in the sale, including Nadar, Josef Sudek, Barbara Morgan, Karl Struss, Margaret Bourke-White, Édouard Boubat, Todd Webb, Thurston Hopkins, Jeanloup Sieff, Bernard Fuchs, Janine Niépce, Alfred Cheney Johnston, Robert Doisneau, Irina Ionesco, Philippe Halsman, Zeke Berman, Marcus Leatherdale, among others. A selection of important books on photography will also be offered.
London's newest Fitzrovia-area gallery, Deimar/Noble Photography, will open May 7 with works by the Swedish-born photographer, Jennie Gunhammar.
Within its large West End premises, Deimar/Noble will stock and exhibit a wide range of photographic work from the medium's early masters to current and cutting-edge contemporary work.
The gallery maintains an education department and conducts courses for collectors and photographers, as well as portfolio reviews for students.
Diemar/Noble was founded by Michael Diemar, photographic consultant and lecturer, and Laura Noble, artist, curator, writer, photographic consultant and the author of "The Art of Collecting Photography".
In this inaugural exhibition the images form an intimate portrait of Gunhammar's sister, Jess with her partner Stan and the couple's life together in north London. Underlying the images of Jess and Stan as an everyday loving couple in an everyday loving relationship is the fact that their lives are marred by their respective illnesses. Stan suffers from
Parkinson's disease and Jess from Lupus, a chronic disorder affecting the immune system and a disease with which Jennie herself has also been diagnosed.
Through her images Gunhammar captures not only the love and tenderness in Jess and Stan's daily life but also the difficulties and anguish they live with, whether it's Stan waiting for test results in an NHS corridor or Jess huddled on a hospital bed, her entire body aching. The photographs explore the poetry of their day-to-day life, the love and support within their relationship despite never being far from the shadow of illness.
Gunhammar's images show us that despite all, immense beauty prevails on both a visual and spiritual level. With remarkable sensitivity these images bare witness to the relationship of the couple, but also to the special and close bond between the photographer and her sister.
Jennie Gunhammar herself is based in London. A book, entitled "somewhere I have never travelled, gladly beyond" (published by Damiani) also accompanies this exhibition of the same name.
The exhibition runs from May 7-June 12, 2009. Gallery hours are from 11am-6 pm, Tuesday through Saturday. Diemar/Noble Photography is located at 66/67 Wells Street, London W1T 3PY.
Returning to the neighborhood where it all began in the mid-1980s, the Robert Mann Gallery will reside in a limestone mansion at 24 East 81st St., one block from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, six blocks from the Whitney Museum of American Art, and right in the heart of the prestigious Upper East Side neighborhood.
"I began my gallery in 1985 in a townhouse on East 76th St., staying there for 14 years," says Robert Mann. "In 1999 we were among the first wave of art galleries to settle in Chelsea, and the first photography gallery to do so. The move to Chelsea enabled us to expand our program to include large scale contemporary works, some of which pushed the boundaries of traditional photography."
"After 10 years in Chelsea, the gallery is ready for a change. We will continue to present exhibitions of contemporary and classical works, promoting the careers of our contemporary artists within the broader context of photographic history. The Upper East Side is a supportive neighborhood that I know well and has the benefit of proximity to many of our clients and the institutions with which we work."
Following Mary Mattingly's exhibition at the gallery's Chelsea location, "Nomadographies", closing May 23, the gallery will be available by appointment only until further notice.
You can continue to contact gallery via the following:
email@example.com , and phone: 1-212-989-7600.
Three of the giants of photography passed away at the end of last month: Helen Levitt, Pirkle Jones and Gianni Giansant.
Helen Levitt died on Sunday, March 29th and word of her passing quickly filtered through the exhibition hall at AIPAD. Levitt was a native New Yorker and passed away in her sleep at her fourth-floor walk-up near Union Square in Manhattan. She was 95 and is survived by her brother Bill Levitt and several nieces and nephews.
Levitt was born on August 31, 1913, in Bensonhurst area of Brooklyn, NY. She dropped out her senior year of high school and went to work in 1931 for J. Florian Mitchell, a commercial portrait photographer in the Bronx that her family knew. Levitt began to work for him in the darkroom, printing and developing at a salary of $6 per week.
Levitt approached both Henri Cartier-Bresson and Walker Evans. She photographed along with Cartier-Bresson on the New York docks, when the French photographer was here in the U.S. in 1935. She even purchased a used Leica in 1936, which is the camera Cartier-Bresson himself preferred. Levitt approached Evans about her photos of children and wound up helped Evans make prints for his exhibition and book "American Photographs."
Through Evans, Levitt met fellow photographer Ben Shahn, who greatly influenced her work, and writer James Agee, who became a good friend and also an influence on her photography. As Evans noted, "Levitt's work was one of James Agee's great loves, and, in turn, Agee's own magnificent eye was part of her early training."
She spent much of the 1930s and 40s shooting the inhabitants of the streets of New York City and became known as one of the finest black and white street photographers of her time.
Fortune magazine was the first to publish Levitt's work in 1939. The very next year her Halloween picture was included in the inaugural exhibition of the Museum of Modern Art's photography department, and in 1943 she had her first solo show at the Modern.
To support herself, Levitt worked as a film editor. Her friend Janice Loeb introduced Levitt to the film director Luis Buñuel, who hired Levitt to edit his pro-American propaganda films. By 1949, and for the next decade, Levitt was a full-time film editor and director.
Levitt returned to still photography in 1959, although she switched from black and white to color photography. The project was largely subsidized by Guggenheim fellowships that she received in 1959 and 1960. But much of this early color work was lost when her apartment was burglarized in the late 1960s. In the 1990s she gave up color because of her frustration with the lab work--the colors weren't always what she wanted.
Levitt had several solo gallery retrospectives, including those held at the Sidney Janis Gallery in New York in 1980 and at the Laurence Miller Gallery in 1987. In 1991 the first national retrospective of her work was organized by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and traveled to a number of other major museums.
Photographer Pirkle Jones died on March 15 in San Rafael, CA. He was 95 and had lived in Mill Valley, CA. He was known for a number of photography projects and especially for his work on the Black Panthers in the late 1960s. In an interview just last year in Art & Antiques magazine, he described his career "as a bridge between the classic photography of Ansel Adams and the documentary work of Dorothea Lange".
Born in Shreveport, LA, Jones bought his first camera, a Kodak Brownie, when he was only 17 and began to exhibit in the camera salons of the 1930s. After enlisting in the Army and spending his time in the Pacific, he returned and stayed in San Francisco after the war, enrolling in the new photography department at the California School of Fine Arts, which was headed by Ansel Adams.
Jones and Adams hit it off and Jones began to work with him as an assistant and printmaker from 1947-1953. Adams later brought him into an artistic circle that included Edward Weston, Dorothea Lange, Minor White and others.
Jones married Ruth-Marion Baruch, a fellow photography student and poet. It was through his wife much later that he came to photograph the Black Panthers. Baruch worked with and became a friend of Kathleen Cleaver, the wife of the Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver.
In 1956 Jones worked together with Dorothea Lange to help her document the Berryessa Valley, which was soon be inundated by the completion of the Monticello Dam. Their photo essay, entitled, "The Death of a Valley," was finally published in 1960 in an issue of Aperture, and became an instant photojournalism classic. Jones later recalled the collaboration "as one of the most meaningful photographic experiences of my professional life."
Jones's next collaboration was with his old mentor, Ansel Adams. The two worked together on a photo essay on the building of the Paul Masson Mountain Winery.
In 1961 he and his wife spent time in Walnut Grove, CA, to create a comprehensive picture of a dying town. Later he worked again in 1968 with his wife as they photographed the Black Panther movement with the stated goal of promoting a better understanding of the party. The De Young Museum in San Francisco showed the work and drew more than 100,000 visitors. The photographs were published as a book entitled, "Black Panthers".
Gianni Giansanti, a well-known photojournalist, who was known as the "unofficial photographer of Pope John Paul II", died reportedly of bone cancer on March 18 in Rome. He was 52. He was known for his nearly 30 years photographing Pope John Paul II in both public and private moments.
Giansanti's photographs have appeared regularly in newspapers and magazines internationally with many of the images distributed by the Sygma photo agency, for which Giansanti did much of his work.
On Oct. 16, 1978, Giansanti was present in St. Peter's Square when Karol Jozef Wojtyla, a Polish cardinal, was elected pope. For the next 27 years until John Paul's death in 2005, Giansanti followed the Pope on scores of foreign trips and at the Vatican.
Gianni Giansanti was born in Rome in 1956, where he began working as a freelance photographer in 1977. His career-making break was when he captured a dramatic photograph of the body of Aldo Moro, the former Italian prime minister who had been kidnapped, shot and left in the trunk of a car by members of the Red Brigades, a terrorist group.
His many other photographs include images of Pope Benedict XVI, the writer Primo Levi, the pianist Maurizio Pollini, the fashion designer Valentino and a variety of world leaders, among them Mikhail S. Gorbachev and Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski. He also photographed the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 and the famine in Somalia in the early 1990s.
Giansanti had several books of photographs published, including "John Paul II, Portrait of a Pontiff" (1996) and "Vanishing Africa" (2004).
Giansanti's survivors include his wife, Anna, and two children.
By Matt Damsker
PICTORIALISM: HIDDEN MODERNISM, PHOTOGRAPHY 1896-1916.
Edited by George Kargl, Annette and Rudolph Kicken. Catalogue for the exhibition of the same name at Galerie Kicken Berlin, Linienstrasse 155 D -10115 Berlin, Germany, from January 17 through April 2009. Published by George Kargl Fine Arts, Vienna; and Galerie Kicken Berlin. 62 pages, approximately 40 color plates. Information: http://www.kicken-gallery.com ; email: firstname.lastname@example.org .
If there has been any confusion about Pictorialism's place in the canon of photographic movements, it may be blamed on the general perception that Pictorialism was something of a revanchist effort at placing photography along the continuum of fine-art painting, when it should have been establishing its own aesthetic parameters. This exhibition at Galerie Kicken Berlin, as documented in this beautifully printed limited-edition catalogue, makes the strong point that the Pictorialist masters of the early 20th century weren't merely imitating the painted canvas; they were pioneering photographic modernism, emphasizing a highly subjective standard of representation and making the most of printing techniques--such as autochrome, gum bichromate and bromoil--that allowed for great freedom in terms of varying their negatives and working in color.
Such appreciations were swept away, perhaps, by the more objective tide of fine-art photography that followed and dominates to this day, implicitly disparaging the soft-focus atmospherics of the Pictorialists. Nonetheless, the masterworks of Gertrude Kasebier, Heinrich Kuhn, Steichen, Steiglitz and the dozen or so others collected in this exhibition are powerful evidence that these artists had "hidden" their modernist breakthroughs in painterly expressions that encode more than meets the eye. That's the gist of catalogue essays by Monika Faber, Wilfrid Wiegand and Elizabeth Pollack, who contributes an historical appreciation of Heinrich Kuhn and his influential friendship with Steiglitz.
Indeed, Kuhn is represented here with 13 images, far more than any other photographer, (although this catalogue makes it a little difficult to identify each photo as we view them, since the information pertaining to each is listed at the back of the book), and he was clearly a master of his medium, making the most of brown, green or blue gum bichromate to deliver moody and mysterious images that avoid sentimentality. Consider his melancholy "Anna in Front of a Mirror" of 1902, his shadowed nudes that suggest Manet, his still lifes that evoke Cezanne, or the superb "Women in the Dunes," of 1904, whose white hats are the contrasting grace notes to the beige, sandy sprawl of the beach where they are parading away from us; one has to wonder if Andrew Wyeth ever saw this photograph in his youth.
Kuhl is certainly the star of this show, although Hans Watzke's 1899 color landscapes are muted, near-abstract visions that hold up very well, while Rudolph Koppitz's elongated, coffin-like figure study of a piously shawled woman in a richly embroidered dress suggests Gustav Klimt and Renaissance religious painting all at once. Many of the other examples in this catalogue are more prosaic, perhaps by comparison (especially with Kuhl's work), but all-in-all this exhibition makes a solid case for a serious reconsideration of Pictorialism's subtle strategies and lasting contributions.
Matt Damsker is an author and critic, who has written about photography and the arts for the Los Angeles Times, Hartford Courant, Philadelphia Bulletin, Rolling Stone magazine and other publications. His book, "Rock Voices", was published in 1981 by St. Martin's Press. His essay in the book, "Marcus Doyle: Night Vision" was published in the fall of 2005.
He currently reviews books for U.S.A. Today.
(Book publishers, authors and photography galleries/dealers may send review copies to us at: I Photo Central, 258 Inverness Circle, Chalfont, PA 18914. We do not guarantee that we will review all books or catalogues that we receive. Books must be aimed at photography collecting, not how-to books for photographers.)