The Extras or: What Else Ya Got?
[photopress:front_door.jpg,full,centered]front entrance to the exhibition hall
At every art fair, the rest of visual community at large steps up to the plate and takes advantage of the extra dedicated people, already in an “arty” mindset.
The galleries and organizations in the city or town, step up to the plate and bring out some special programs or exhibits to keep the flow going
Good for the promoters and the attendees. Win-Win.
And of course the fairs themselves offer extra value with seminars, conversations, and meet-n-greets (book signings).
PhotoLA this year had a good run of extras with one of favorites, the collecting seminars.
Karen Sinsheimer, Curator of Photography at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art
By taking a group around the exhibit hall before it opens to the public, the collector and fine artist can get an expert opinion of the work being offered for sale, and an idea on general trends. Ms. Sinsheimer led the group we attended.
Honestly, it seems to have taken a fairly conservative swing with the crappy economy, as the hedge fund “buy it and flip it folks” all but vanished, and the real collectors have emerged again, but they are migrating to the more established, and those with an auction history. Maybe we aren’t true collectors but we feel you should buy what you love, collect what speaks to you. Chances are you’ll be paying a lot less for the pieces, and you’ll be building a unique collection that reflects your taste and not necessarily the market.
Don’t forget books either. As we have said before, with a limited market, the press runs are not large to begin with. You may pass on a book, decide that it is something that you would love to look at, and POOF, it’s gone.
Just this year, the Saul Leiter book, published by Steidl, came out in March, and by August had tripled in price due to a sellout. As, you know, it was reprinted, and we offered it here on the site as a giveaway.
So we feel that a fine book collection is a great resource to have, and a way for you to enjoy the photographs in your home.
Who knows, from the books, you may find an image that becomes the one you truly want to buy.
Now, elsewhere at the fair, across the street, were some lectures giving by some of the most recognized names in photography. The rooms were intimate, so tickets were a little harder to come by. Worth your time though as you get to sit and listen to a master, after walking the lanes of the exhibit.
As you spend more time at these things, the beauty is you get to dig deeper into the work after you’ve walked away and return. A fresh eye that allows you realize the dealers tastes and decide if you want to go through the stacks.
And you should.
We were treated to a look at Jill Greenberg’s new series “everyonehateseveryone” in a portfolio box. Her sculptural sense with these scenarios is outstanding.
You could have gone by the 21st Editions book publishers booth and had Joel-Peter Witkin describe the methods and madness behind that image you were always wondering. Or maybe everyone of his images.
Or caught 2 of the most amazing deals we saw at the Aperture booth: a massive Mary Ellen Mark print for $7600 or the Thomas Allan print made especially for Aperture for $1000.
Possibly you made it to Modernbooks and bought that Fan Ho book with an original print in the pre-publication price of $500.
There was also a great collection of Vernacular photography dealers where you could pick up the apparent common, or ordinary photographs that held true meaning when separated and highlighted.
[photopress:keaton.jpg,full,centered]Marvin Heiferman and Diane Keaton
[photopress:sultan.jpg,full,centered] Larry Sultan asking the question….
As a matter of fact, we attended a talk by Diane Keaton on a new book she was involved with, celebrating and examining the collection of photographs she purchased from a Fort Worth Texas photographer named Bill Wood. He was the towns local photographer and by editing and selecting precise images Ms. Keaton and her co-editor/author, Marvin Heiferman created a book of vernacular photography with a point of view. Bill Wood’s Business.
Plus you get local luminaries like photographer Larry Sultan in the audience, along with world class collectors like Michael Wilson in attendance.(yes, he is also a Bond films producer)
Not far from there was a portfolio review, where fine photographic artists bravely bared their visual souls for jury panel members to comment and critique. Held at a local hotel ballroom, the casual viewer(me) was able to walk up and down the lanes, stopping here and there to see the images of the new group of photographic artists, who are looking to make the leap to the big room. These are not students, these are not neophytes. These are some incredible talented artists who you would, for the most part, be happy to have framed and hanging on your walls.
The next step for them is representation.
OK, there was a ton more just on Saturday, openings at Bergamot, and a very cool photographer you have to know about.
But we’ll take a break for now.
coming up next is ArtLA. A full mix of art including some photo dealers.