René Peña, Black Shoes, 2007. Archival pigment print, 61 x 80 cm
© René Peña, courtesy Robert Mann Gallery, New York
Nina Korhonen, Surfers, Kochi Prefecture, Japan, 2014
Archival pigment print. Courtesy Lee Marks Fine Art, Shelbyville, IN
Luis González Palma, Mobius (untitled), 2014
Photograph on canvas with acrylic paint, 12 x 12 inches
Courtesy Lisa Sette Gallery, Phoenix
Whitney Curtis, A man raises his hands in the air in front of a row of
St. Louis County police armored personnel carriers, Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 11, 2014.
Archival pigment print, 16 x 20 inches.
© Whitney Curtis, Courtesy Monroe Gallery of Photography, Santa Fe
Collecting art is a passionate act, founded by a love for the medium and a desire to connect more deeply with it. To live with art, to experience it in one’s own time and space, is to create an intimate relationship that becomes part of the texture of one’s life. The object of beauty and understanding becomes quietly venerated as the work of the artist expands its meaning in new contexts. To collect is preserve the object and its limitless ability to touch lives, and the collector becomes the guardian of the work in this life.
Photography is a profound object to collect, for it has the uncanny ability to be both art and artifact. There are countless photographs that have become such a significant part of our memory, that they have become pictures from the book of life, pictures that we know not only ourselves, but we know the world by. It is the photograph that helps situate us, providing markers of who we are and where we have been, reminding us of what is possible, what can be achieved by humanity in all of its glory, as well as its more painful challenges. It is to the photograph that we return, time and again, to reconnect with the wellspring of creativity, expression, and wisdom.
It is by great fortune that The Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD) understood this, joining together 35 years ago to launch a fair that has become the longest-running and foremost exhibition dedicated to the photographic medium. Being held now through April 19, 2015, at the Park Avenue Armory, The AIPAD Photography Show New York features 89 of the world’s leading fine art photography galleries are exhibiting a range museum-quality work, including contemporary, modern, and 19th-century photographs as well as photo-based art, video, and new media.
The exhibition is a sumptuous experience, as dealers have brought together some of the finest works of the medium, creating a distinct sensation of seeing some of one’s oldest and dearest friends. There are works by masters including Irving Penn, August Sander, Lisette Model, Mike Disfarmer, Guy Bourdin, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, William Klein, and Mike and Doug Starn, showing the diversity and range of the application of the photographic medium.
Highlights from the exhibition include Alfred Stieglitz’s 1930 palladium print of Georgia O’Keeffe at Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York and Zurich; Man Ray’s 1930 photograph of Andre Breton at Hyperion Press Ltd., New York; a portrait of the young James Baldwin made in 1955 ( the year Notes of a Native Son was published) at Alan Klotz Gallery, New York; portraits of Chet Baker and Miles Davis, among other jazz greats by Carol Reiff (one of the few female jazz photographers working in New York in the 1950s) at Michael Dawson Gallery, Los Angeles.
The Cuban-born artist Mario Algaze is known for his observant and witty street photography. Several of his striking urban landscapes from Cuba and Peru made between 1999 and 2002 are exhibited at Throckmorton Fine Art, New York. These works have just been released in a larger collection of work by the artist, titled A Respect for Light: The Latin American Photographs 1974-2008 (Glitterati Incorporated), which is currently on view at Throckmorton Fine Art’s East 57 Street gallery through May 16, 2015.
A selection of photographs by Gordon Parks are exhibited at Jackson Fine Art, Atlanta. A humanitarian with a deep commitment to social justice, Parks left behind a body of work that documents many of the most important aspects of American culture from the early 1940s up until his death in 2006, with a focus on race relations, poverty, Civil Rights, and urban life. Works from the current touring exhibition, “Segregation Story”, are drawn from a photo essay Parks did for Life magazine in 1956. The serene images provided an exceptional account of a nationwide situation that had been invisible, and unseen. By training his lens of the struggle, Parks drew attention to one of our country’s greatest issues with grace and dignity, which is reflected in the beauty of the prints themselves.
Standing in stark contrast to the Parks historical work are the photographs of Whitney Curtis on view the Monroe Gallery of Photography, Santa Fe. One print titled, “Rashaad Davis, 23, backs away as St. Louis County police officers approach him with guns drawn and eventually arrest him , Ferguson, Missouri, August 11, 2004” was published extensively in national newspapers and was just awarded First Place in Domestic News by the National Press Photographer’s Association in the Best Photojournalism of 2015 Awards, reminding us that the issues that America faced during Parks’ lifetime continue, unabated, without justice or rest. Both Curtis and Parks reveal the power of the photograph to bear witness and speak truth to power, to this generation and to the next.
Perhaps that is one of the greatest gifts the photograph provides: the ability to capture a fraction in time and suspend it forever, making the ephemeral eternal. We reflect upon images such WeeGee’s famous “Crowd at Coney Island, temperature 89 degrees—they came early and stayed late, July 22, 1940,” a vintage print on display at Henry Feldstein. Priced at $150,000, the print reminds us of the power of the photograph to bridge the populist and the elite. The print has become a pat of history, not only for what it has captured, but for its rarity. It is now as much of an artifact of one hot day in Brooklyn, as much as it is of the photographer himself, reminding us that no matter how many times you see a photograph, there is nothing quite so moving as seeing an original print with your own eyes.
The AIPAD Photography Show New York will run through Sunday, April 19, 2015, at the Park Avenue Armory at 67th Street in New York City. Show hours are as follows:
Friday April 17 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday April 18 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday April 19 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Admission is $30. Student admission is $20 with a valid student ID. No advance purchase is required. Tickets will be available at the door. For more information, the public can contact AIPAD at 202-367-1158 or email@example.com
Sarah Moon, Fashion 11, Yoji Yamamoto, 1996
Handmade color pigment print, 29 x 22 1/2 inches
© Sarah Moon. Courtesy Michael Hoppen Gallery, London
Bill Owens, Hockney Painted this Pool, 1980
Archival pigment print, 20 x 24 inches.
Courtesy PDNB Gallery, Dallas
David Scheinbaum, Kodak Duaflex with Flash, 2014
Gelatin silver polytoned print, unique calotype, 8 x 10 inches
Verve Gallery of Photography, Santa Fe