Every year I tell myself, next year I am going to the AIPAD Show. Then I tell myself the same thing the next year. I guess New York City is just too far from Wisconsin to traverse the distance. Maybe it's just conceptual distance.
The AIPAD show—arguably the most important show of work as opposed to gear, in the U.S. certainly—is the important legacy of AIPAD's founding President emeritus Kathleen Ewing, who also played a big part in my own development as a savant and connoisseur: when I was naught but a ragged, penniless photo student, she patiently allowed me to peruse the stock of artist's portfolios at her gallery (with some of which I remember not only the images, but the order they were in in the boxes), which I repaid by helping out from time to time stuffing envelopes or doing other menial chores.
The Association of International Photography Art Dealers Show started today and runs through Sunday at the Park Avenue Armory at 67th Street, 643 Park Avenue, New York City. Tickets are $40 for run-of-show and $25 ($10 for students) daily.
Any set of AIPAD show highlights will necessarily fall woefully short of comprehensiveness, but any set of AIPAD highlights is better than none. Here's one.
Next year, I am going to the AIPAD Show.
(Thanks to Gabi Fitz)
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Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by Jeff: "Passing of the years, surely. I remember attending AIPAD when it was still held in D.C. during the early '90s. Had a chance to buy a pristine vintage print of Walker Evans' Main Street for $7000. Took a walk around the fair to decide, and when I returned 15 minutes later, it had a red dot on it (indicating sold). Easy six figures today. Yes, time has passed. The N.Y. shows have gotten better, in displays if not in prices (although works span various price points). The Armory Show (paintings, but also photographs) was always worth attending, too, but now they stagger AIPAD and the art show over two weeks. Usually, too, the Met, MOMA and many galleries in the area have some great exhibits. Best to plan a few days to avoid picture overload."
Mike replies: Tell me about it. I was probably at that same show, by the way. I think I went to all the ones in D.C. I remember the one where there were Koudelka prints (by Voja Mitrovic I'll bet! —although he went unnamed, to me at least, at the time) for sale for the first time...for $1,200 each. No, no slipped digit there. I, of course, thought "that's an awful lot of money for a photograph." Note to past self: no, no it wasn't, you idiot.
Featured Comment by Kerstin: "I can't believe that so far only one of the comments on this post have mentioned the Blackmon picture at the top. It puts me in mind of Charles Addams and I love it—especially the bird and the fellow holding the kid upside down. I went to Blackmon's website to check out her other stuff. I like the series on life (this is part of it), and the black-and-white work, not so much. I think this shot is the best of the lot. Thanks for the link."
Mike replies: A most painterly photographer—Julie Blackmon's work reminds me of more painters than I can put my finger on, from Bruegel the Elder to Magritte—and several photographers, a few of them still life photographers. And you're now the second person who's told me she doesn't care for the black-and-white work! I liked it. It's more...like photography.
Featured Comment by Ken Tanaka: "Ah, Julie Blackmon! That's a wonderful image that I've not seen.
"Julie's story is interesting and may help many people appreciate her work. She sidelined a career as a commercial photographer to become a 'Mom' and keeper of the home and hearth. But after a few years, and a couple of kids, she became bored with her new, somewhat exurban/rural life. Her old Hasselblad called to her from a closet.
"So one day she began capturing scenes from her daily life, mostly of her children and husband around the house. She began to light the scenes and would then often 'bribe' her kids into playing in the frame while she snapped.
"She entered some of her initial work into a prominent competition and suddenly she was a hit with the art world. As you can see from her site, she's refined her work to a very identifiable style that's all her own. Her prints are generally large-ish but not overwhelmingly large, sized for the scene not the sale.
"I had the good fortune to meet Ms. Blackmon a few years ago when she was just taking off. She was about as far from being an art world character as you can get. She was rather shy and a person of short, concise answers at a showing of her work. Not at all unfriendly, just very very Midwestern (U.S.).
"Dennis, in the Comments, is understandably mistaken and has not looked closely at the piece shown. It is not 'conceptual'; it is domestic! Julie's imagery captures literally fantastic scenes from plain ol' domestic life. She might these days be staging the scenes but originally they were set like wild life photo traps.
"There are photographers whose relentless promotion and celebrity absolutely mystify me. But Julie Blackmon is not one of those. Her imagery is delightfully imaginative and technically superb. She's exactly the type of photographer I take great pleasure in seeing promoted and shown."