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Friday, 02 May 2014


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Any suggestions on shows to see in NYC currently? I'll be there this Sunday for the day.

It wasn't that much of a luxury, so I did travel from central Virginia to NYC last fall to see the James Turrell exhibit at the Guggenheim. A pretty phenomenal show in which they took over the entire central core of the building.

Shows are good, but I like books best of all.

"All I wanted to suggest is that if you don't commonly see any shows, you should make an effort to see at least one in 2014."

Online presentations are better than nothing...but often just barely. There are so many really fine photo exhibitions at so many museums and galleries in the world these days that it would be a shame not to see any at all in a year.

If you're looking for suggestions to that end, and expect to visit Chicago this summer, may I make shameless plugs for two -- well, maybe three -- upcoming exhibits at (and near) the Art Institute of Chicago?

Josef Koudelka: Nationality Doubtful
June 7 - September 14, 2014
This show has been at least five years in the making. (Most are closer to the 2-year time frame.) This will be a real goodie not to be missed.

Sharp, Clear Pictures: Edward Steichen’s World War I and Condé Nast Years
June 28 - September 28, 2014
So you think you know everything there is to know about Eddie Steichen, eh? That's understandable since he's easily one of the most widely exposed snappers of the 20th. But I guarantee that you know little or nothing of what you'll see in this show. Teaser: The genesis of the exhibition was the (re)discovery of a photo album donated to the Art Institute of Chicago decades ago and largely forgotten until a recent complete collection review. Assistant Curator Michal Raz-Russo began researching its contents and....whoa boy! (You have to show-up at the show to see the rest of the story!)

And when you finish viewing work of the greats you can stroll across the street to Millennium Park and see a few of my own images, as well as those by approximately
11 other photographers, that will be on display from June 18 thru October as part of the Park's tenth anniversary celebration this summer.

Book your travel early. ;-)

Putting it plainly - there ain't nuthin' like "live," whether it's photos, or music, or your favorite sport.

Business takes me to Washington in a few days, where I can catch the Gary Winogrand exhibition, as well as Andrew Wyeth and and Marc Chagall. Too bad it's not a week later, to be able to see the Degas/Cassatt exhibition. Not all photographers? That's right! It's all visual arts, and they all have something to offer.

Back to the opening sentence - Sure, I can inspect an image on my monitor, but I really like to put my nose up to the print, look at it from the side, see what the paper looks like. It's REAL.

I've already made one trip this year. I went down to London to see Bailey's Stardust at the National Portrait Gallery. A very good exhibition it is too.

I try and get to at least 2-3 exhibitions a year. Usually they are all in London and when I go it is mainly for photography and or art exhibitions, oh and to replenish my supply from monmouth coffee, as it's the best coffee i've ever had.

To bring it home, literally, how many TOP readers actually have a number of their own photographs hanging on their own walls?

As I read this post I am sitting in Planet Perks coffee shop in Oshkosh Wisconsin with some mighty nice photos on the walls for the patrons to enjoy.

No need to drive more than a couple of miles.

Check out your local art scenes and gallery walks, you may just find a treasure around the corner.

I've subscribed to The Photograph Collector newsletter (now online) for decades, and each issue lists exhibits in every state and in many other countries. Auctions are also listed, and one can generally preview those works in person, even with no intent to buy.


It's noteworthy, too, that the vast majority of what any museum or gallery has in inventory is not (or almost never) on exhibit. Curators and dealers are often willing, and in fact are delighted, to privately show works not on display, with advance notice and appointment. I've done this in many locations and have seen some wonderful work not otherwise available for view.

Exhibitions are great; I also like to go to galleries where you can both look at works on the wall and hold them in your hand.

I am a D.C. area resident and several weeks ago I went to see the Gary Winogrand retrospective at the National Gallery of Art in D.C. His specific subject matter is not among my favorites, but he is a major photographer and I know from prior experience (exhibitions of Ansel Adams, Irving Penn, and Edward Steichen) that one should never pass up the chance of seeing great black & white prints regardless of subject matter. So off I went, and spent two or so hours happily eyeing each of the prints up close. I did not come away loving Winogrand's work, but I very much enjoyed being immersed in one body of work for while regardless. And then a funny thing happened. A couple of weeks later I had reason to be back in D.C. and decided to go back and see the exhibition again, this time just taking some time to zero in on some of the photographs that I really did like very much. And then I wandered off to enjoy some sculpture, painting, and ceramics. Coffee or tea? Depends on my mood. Why limit oneself?

I've done one this year, and it was thanks in part to TOP. While visiting my daughter in Tucson, AZ, I remembered your post regarding the Charles Harbutt exhibit at CCP. And to make it a twofer, I strolled across the street to the U of A Museum of Art. All in all, a truly fine afternoon.

I'm looking forward to finding the time to get to the Karsh exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in D.C. I haven't seen much large format portraiture, and none since I became interested in it, so I'm pretty excited.

A great reason to go see a show is that you can really see the work for real. Back in the day, for me that's 1985, there was an exhibit of Ansel Adams' work at the National Wildlife Federation offices in downtown Washington DC. I went down and spent a long time just looking at the photographs, all prints made by Adams. I know this because the pamphlet that went with the show said so. What did I see? Of all things - dust spots. On an Ansel Adams print. One even had a little hair shadow on it. The prints were not thoroughly spotted for some reason. After that I didn't feel so bad if I missed a speck or two.

Sometimes the gallery experience shows you things in a way that a book or the internet just can't. I saw a Walker Evans image in Chicago, and what struck me most about it wasn't the image, but rather his signature. In pencil, right there, as the man himself wrote it.

I'm not the world's greatest Walker Evans fan or anything, but that little detail provided a meaningful connection to history in a way that a book or a website simply couldn't.

Just out of curiosity, Mike, how many exhibitions do you attend per year? I have the impression that you have to steel yourself to venture even so far away as Milwaukee, although there have been rumors of Mike-sightings in Chicago. If my speculations are false and libelous then I will be only too happy to apologize for my presumption and to accompany you on your next visit to a photo gallery in Philadelphia or New York City.

[Hi Gordon, I think you should just get to apologizing on grounds of general villainy, thou scoundrel!

Just kidding. The answer, of course, is "at least one." ...But then, I've seen all the pictures there are already. (g) --Mike]

Here in Indianapolis, the Eiteljorg Museum is currently showing an exhibit of Ansel's work through Aug. 3rd.

And yes, I also grew up hooked on books and magazines. Living in a small community, I recall having to scramble to find the latest copy of International Phototechnik.

Remember that one?

I'm lucky, I live in Santa Fe, so I regularly stop by at a photo gallery next door to my favorite coffee shop, as well as stopping by the Santa Fe Photography Workshops on the Monday nights the instructors present their work.

The last time that I made a major effort to see an exhibit was a special trip to Chicago just for an Edward Weston show at the Art Institute (AIC).
It was in the basement, and the lighting so poor that the captions should have been in Braile. Lord knows what the prints really looked like.
It was the only time that I've ever been there, and I won't be going back.

Last week I saw the Mark Shaw show at the Munson Williams Proctor Art Institute in Utica NY. Wonderful show, really enjoyed it. Unfortunately it closes this Sunday.

Seeing photographers' prints in person is absolutely essential. I'm not sure you can say that you've seen some photographers' work unless you've seen the prints they created or approved. If you don't believe me, Google a famous photo and check out the enormous difference in the various reproductions on the Web. Which one represents the photographer's intention? Any of them? There are times I've been knocked out seeing a print of an image I thought I knew well.

If you don't live in a place with regular photography exhibitions, then whenever you travel for business or pleasure, check out the exhibitions at your destination. I remember walking down a street in Paris and stumbling across a major retrospective of Martin Parr's work at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie.

In addition to the already mentioned Checklist, Photograph magazine has a great listing of current exhibitions (though almost exclusively throughout the US). http://www.photographmag.com/exhibitions/

I was making tentative plans to head to D.C. to catch a Garry Winogrand exhibit that was running concurrently as an Andrew Wyeth exhibit. Unfortunately the plans fell through, but man, it would have been pretty sweet. Wish going to D.C. didn't require a plane trip!

I was in Los Angeles last week, and visited the Peter Fetterman Gallery in Santa Monica. The main exhibit was "Portraits of the 20th Century," a marvellous collection of prints. Seeing large prints by Karsh, Erwitt, Cartier-Bresson, Boubat, Ronis, and several others was quite an experience. The quality of the prints was superb. Elsewhere in the gallery, there were also prints by Salgado and Kenna. No web experience compares. Prices for the prints were stratospheric (for me), but the gallery also has an impressive inventory of books for sale. That's were I could indulge, by walking out with a Kenna retrospective Paul Caponigro's "New England Days." Like candy for the eyes...

Dalton, you are in the epicenter of photo exhibits here in SoCal!
LA: Have you been to the Annenberg Space for Photography? It's incredible. The Getty? LACMA? The Hammer? Galleries? Bergemont Station in Santa Monica? Did you miss the "Photo LA" show?
San Diego has the Museum of Photographic Arts.
And guess what-we have PARKING!

The Cindy Sherman exhibition made the rounds here in Dallas last year. Very interesting show. Huge prints. Some somber pieces but much of it was fun to see.

In March we went on a family vacation to Paris. I made it a point to visit the Jue de Paume Museum. It featured prints by Robert Adams and Mathieu Pernot at the time. Pernot was interesting but Adams blew my mind. His work wasn't hugely printed. It was 8x10 are smaller. The compositions were wonderful and the prints were three dimensional in their depth and clarity. Worth a visit if you're a photographer on holiday in Paris.

Fair comments, Mike. One format does not cancel the other, even magazines (those at least that don't sprout like mushrooms on newsstands all trying to teach the same basic photoshop routines and parroting the latest press releases of the camera makers...
Great exhibitions are great, and sometimes help discovering photographers you were not so aware of (Anders Petersen and Fouad Elkouri, my recent additions to the pantheon).
We are lucky to live in an abundance of access, and peer editing I think works (follow the trail of your contacts on Flickr and you will discover more an more good like-minded fellows...)

One thing I was reflecting on this morning on my bread run (what does not one do while walking to the baker's...) is the general trend towards high contrast images that seem to pervade recent works. I wonder if it's the result of our brains getting habituated to high definition TV screens and their super saturated approach to imaging. I love Klein and (some of the, not overly excessive) Moriyama, they were doing it in above-suspect times. Yet I realize my own processing has gotten more contrasty over time, and I think that really owes to a form of progressive desensitization to grey tones, screen outputs vs/ paper output....

@Mark Scholey: I was in London last week on business and had a day for myself. Unfortunately, the National Portrait Gallery website suggested that you should buy your ticket in advance - which is no big deal, except that they let you into the exhibition in 15 minute intervals, and if you are not there within the 15 minute interval that you picked at the time of booking, you risk being rejected. And since I wasn't able to time my arrival that precisely, I decided to skip it. I spent the day taking pictures instead :-)

Mike I just viewed those beautiful, detailed photos from the comfort of my desk chair. Can we all finally admit that viewing an image on a good screen is a legitimate way to display and view one's work?

Mike...I used to be addicted to Photography blogs but I'm in recovery now.
Mi dos pesos.

Last week I stumbled into the basement at the National Gallery of Art (in Washington DC) and saw their Garry Winogrand show, which travels next to San Francisco.

This show is a retrospective with a twist. Along with the "greatest hits" there are any number of pictures that are "new": some marked by Winogrand on a contact sheet, but never printed in his lifetime; others selected by curators after his death for printing.

Not sure how I felt about this approach, but it certainly was thought-provoking. Finally, the show includes a video excerpt of Winogrand in a seminar at Rice in the early 80s, taking about his work (sometimes obliquely and sometimes directly.)

Very interesting to see his work in bulk, with individual famous photos in the context of others -- both time and place. I agree with Mike that seeing shows like this can really recharge your battery.


If you can only see one exhibition this year, you can't miss the major retrospective on Henri Cartier-Bresson at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Ten years after his death, this is the one-all, be-all of comprehensive reviews of his work. Worth a ticket to Paris on its own.

Thanks, Timo, for the link to the NGA, which I lazily clicked, and I was then transported to an online repository valuable beyond words I can find to express at the moment. I first checked out the Winogrand highlights and also had a different reaction to the selection of negatives which were identified as "printed and exhibited posthumously", which same as you, gave me fodder for contemplation.Then I clicked on the Collections, and a faded reddish thumbnail caught my attention and I spent an enthralling several minutes reading the well written background on Rubin's "Reclining Pan" and some tidbits about Rubin 's life. Then to Lichtenstein's "copy" of a cartoon image, which I found amusing.

Also thank to you Mike for this edifying site, and to all who contribute...Now please excuse me while I return to the NGA site :-)

A museum exhibit worth a day trip ...

Dream Cars

Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas
May 21 - September 07, 2014
High Museum of Art Atlanta

Chosen from hundreds of concept cars produced between 1932 and the present day, the visions for these automobiles are exciting to behold. Like most concept cars, those on display were never intended for production.

Missed this on Friday because I was out at a Capa exhibition here in London.
Have to confirm what an earlier commentator said about the Salgado exhibition earlier this year - outstanding.


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