Turkey Day, Black Friday: Time for a Culture Break ?

Photo ops abounded.

Just letting you know there are some snaps being uploaded to the Facebook site as “share” photos as opposed to the gallery upload.
A quick way to see a couple of visuals from holiday time in NYC.

While the others shop, you can be discovering history.

Oh, there’ll be doorbusters, Black Friday deals, doors opened at 5:00AM, but you can sleep in , and see the latest offering at one of the best museums in the world : the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Sure, they had a major retrospective of Richard Avedon some years back. But most of the fine art photographic history, has been left to MOMA. Don’t get me wrong: love my MOMA.

The short shrift usually afforded the chemical/lens/frozen moment arts has been adjusted in a greatly expanded series of exhibits.

Depth of Field: Modern Photography at the Metropolitan

Rineke Dijkstra (Dutch, born 1959)
Kolobrzeg, Poland, 1992
Chromogenic print
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Roy R. and Marie S. Neuberger Foundation Inc., Jennifer and Joseph Duke, Gary and Sarah Wolkowitz and Anne Marie MacDonald Gifts, 2001

In a show of mostly massive images by artists who may have begun as painters, there is an homage to the mostly mundane, exploring the intellectual explanation of a visual medium.

The images have interest in an historical reference ( Andreas Gursky early work ) but the reasoning on choice, the accompanying write -ups with the images, of what was on the walls was a bit over the top and made a visceral experience feel plodding and over wrought. Way too much intellectualizing on images that could easily be felt on viewing. Still recommended.

Impressed by Light: British Photographs from Paper Negatives, 1840–1860

Unknown photographer
Spreading Oak with Seated Figure, 1850s
Paper negative; 7 x 8 1/8 in. (17.7 x 20.7 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Gift of Hans P. Kraus, Jr., 2007

However the main show with an historical bent was fascinating both in scope, description and gallery layout.

In the beginning……before the common use of glass plates, while Daguerre was developing his processes, before tin types became the common tool, when paper negatives were in vogue for the wealthy practitioners and those needing a lighter load, this exhibit takes it’s cue.
[photopress:camerapaper.jpg,full,centered]paper negative camera

From an historical standpoint of architectural logging, flora and fauna records, the viewer is taken on a journey through a past that spans the globe, with the country of original invention as the main,pardon me, focus.

As always was the case, non moving landscapes are in the majority, as the fidgety human subjects would cause a blur in the image. But the subjects learned to hold still and there are some great examples here.

In one of the more moving images from India, the descriptor on the side, tells of the horrors of war , as a group of civilians during the Indian Mutiny was promised safety as they moved locations only to be brutally murdered as they did. It was a pointed moment that the British pledged to avenge, keeping the war of that time in place.
The image belies the solitude in a scene of a previous tragic event. Of course the British had been colonizing a good part of the world at that point, and the retribution occurring after this event furthered the physical and emotional distance between these 2 countries.
The exhibit lays out the image and its history without taking a position other than the horrors of war.

As you may imagine, paper negatives would have a shorter shelf life than most other surfaces. The show ends with a slide show showing digital positives of some of these paper negatives.

The entire show can be had in a well made catalog with full explanations and credits.

As it’s been said before “ those who do not learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.”

Damon Webster


Upcoming Events

Is there an event we should know about?
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Current Exhibitions

  • Whitney Museum
  • APR 27, 2016–April 2, 2017
  • 99 Gansevoort Street
  • New York, NY 10014
  • Tel: 212.570.3600
  • Annenberg Space for Photography
  • APR 8, 2017 – AUG 13, 2017
  • 2000 Avenue of the Stars, #10
  • Century City, CA. 90067
  • Tel: 213.403.3000
  • Getty Center
  • Breaking News: Turning the Lens on Mass Media
  • December 20, 2016–April 30, 2017
  • 1200 Getty Center Drive
  • Los Angeles, CA. 90049
  • Tel: 310-440-7300
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • One and One Is Four: The Bauhaus Photocollages of Josef Albers
  • Through April 2, 2017
  • 11 West 53 Street
  • New York,NY 10001
  • Tel:212-708-9400
  • Yossi Milo Gallery
  • PIETER HUGO, 1994
  • JANUARY 26–MARCH 11, 2017
  • 245 Tenth Avenue
  • New York,NY 10001
  • Tel: 212-414-0370
  • Howard Greenberg Gallery
  • WeeGee
  • Feb 16th to April 1st, 2017
  • 41 East 57th Street, Suite 1406
  • New York,NY 10022
  • Tel: 212-334-0100
  • Peter Fetterman Gallery
  • STEPHEN WILKES Ellis Island: Ghosts of Freedom
  • March 4 – April 29, 2017
  • 2525 Michigan Avenue Gallery A1
  • Santa Monica, CA
  • 90404
  • Phone: 310.453.6463

Is there an exhibition we’re missing? Let us know on twitter.

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