News from the World of Photography: July 2018

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Elliott Erwitt: Pittsburgh 1950


International Center of Photography (ICP) Museum
New York, NY
23 May - 2 September 2018


In 1950 Elliott Erwitt, then just twenty-two years old, set out to capture Pittsburgh’s transformation from an industrial city into a modern metropolis. Commissioned by Roy Stryker, the mastermind behind the large-scale documentary photography projects launched by the US government during the Great Depression, Erwitt shot hundreds of frames. His images recorded the city’s communities against the backdrop of urban change, highlighting his quiet observations with the playful wit that has defined his style for over five decades. After only four months, Erwitt was drafted into the army and sent to Germany, leaving his negatives behind in Stryker’s Pittsburgh Photographic Library. The negatives remained at the Pennsylvania Department of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh for decades. This exhibition, organized by Assistant Curator Claartje van Dijk in association with the photographer, will present these images in the United States for the first time.  

The book Pittsburgh: 1950 is available for purchase in the ICP Museum shop for the duration of the show.

It Was an Ad? So What. It’s Still Art.


The New York Times

In the hills high above Los Angeles, within the white-columned serenity of the J. Paul Getty Museum, the bastard stepchild of the fine art world is finally getting its birthright.

On Tuesday, June 26, “Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography, 1911-2011” opens, and it may be the most sweeping such survey in decades, featuring 198 works (pictures, magazine covers, ad campaigns, garments) throughout eight galleries and spanning images both obvious and unknown.

Richard Avedon’s “Dovima With Elephants,” the 1955 print of a Dior evening gown amid the pachyderms, which the show’s curator said became the most expensive fashion photograph sold at auction when it went for over $1 million at Christie’s in 2010? It’s in there. Erwin Blumenfeld’s photo of Lisa Fonssagrives in a Lucien Lelong dress hanging off the side of the Eiffel Tower, the poster on many a dorm room wall? That, too. Ditto for Bruce Weber’s 1982 Calvin Klein underwear ad featuring a briefs-clad Tom Hintnaus silhouetted against a white adobe structure in the shape of a phallus. Once upon a time, it stopped traffic in Times Square...

Visions d’Artistes – Pictorialist Photographs, 1890-1960


The Eye of Photography

From June 16th to September 16th, the museum Nicéphore Niépce in Chalon-sur-Saône devotes a large exhibition to a major chapter in the history of photography, pictorialism.

The ambition of this international aesthetic movement born around 1890 was to make the creative potential of the photographic image admitted by producing art pictures.

Never a Lovely So Real: Photography and Film in Chicago, 1950–1980


Art Institute Chicago
Chicago, IL
Until 28 October 2018

 In his 1951 book Chicago: City on the Make, Nelson Algren offered bittersweet praise for the city: “Like loving a woman with a broken nose, you may well find lovelier lovelies. But never a lovely so real.” This unique character—fraught with affection, tension, and contradiction—is revealed in the work of the many photographers and filmmakers who documented Chicago in the second half of the 20th century as cultural, social, and political events transformed the city. These artists focused on Chicago’s history as a city of neighborhoods, many of them fiercely segregated and separated from one another. Together, they constructed a portrait of Chicago that speaks equally to its allure and its haunting brutality.

Drawn largely from the Art Institute’s collection, this exhibition highlights the work of artists who through their images and films captured the life of their own communities or those to which they were granted intimate access as outsiders. Featured among them is a network of photographers who focused on Chicago’s South Side during a period coinciding with the emergence of the city’s Black Arts Movement. Billy Abernathy, Darryl Cowherd, Bob Crawford, Roy Lewis, and Robert A. Sengstacke all produced work in connection with the revolutionary Bronzeville mural, the Wall of Respect (1967–71). Other projects, such as Mikki Ferrill’s decade-long documentation of an improvised South Side club, The Garage (1970/80), and two of Gordon Parks’s Life magazine assignments (1953 and 1963), likewise underscore the role played by Chicago as a national center of black culture and politics.

 

Ursula Schulz-Dornburg: The Land In-Between– Photographs from 1980 to 2012


Stadel Museum
Frankfurt, Germany
Until 9 September 2018
 

The photographer Ursula Schulz-Dornburg (b. 1938) has been devoting herself to border landscapes, places of transit and relics of past cultures for more than forty years. With the aid of thirteen extensive workgroups and altogether more than 200 works, the Städel Museum is offering the first comprehensive institutional survey of the artist’s oeuvre ever in the exhibition Ursula Schulz-Dornburg: The Land In-Between – Photographs from 1980 to 2012, to be presented from 4 July to 9 September 2018. Schulz-Dornburg, who was born in Berlin and now lives in Düsseldorf, devotes herself in her photos to cult and culture sites in Europe, Asia and the Near East, and above all to the visible and invisible borders of these continents and regions. Her analogue black-and-white photographs are testimonies to no-longer-existing landscapes, past political systems, cultural milieus in the process of dissolution, and expiring societies. Distinguished by ethnological curiosity and an archaeological perspective, the images are on the interfaces between documentarism and political photography, between concept art and a sense of the responsibility to provide insight. Schulz-Dornburg is interested in the marks human beings have left behind in the landscape in the course of lengthy historical processes, as well as in recent political changes of the kind brought about, for example, by the Golf Wars (between 1980 and 2003).

Paul Arden Collection – Through the Eyes of Four Photographers

 

The Eye of Photography

Through the Eyes of Four Photographers features works by Brian Griffin, Andrew Holligan, Bruce Rae and Gerry Castle.

Four seemingly diverse photographers have been brought together by the discerning eye of the late Paul Arden, Creative Director of Saatchi and Saatchi, a friend and collaborator with all four.

The show includes works from Paul and his wife Toni’s personal collection, assembled over three decades, plus some new works from these photographers.


Ocean Gallery, UCSB
Santa Barbara, CA
Through 31 August


The photos are chilling: Giant swathes of devastation in the Brazilian Amazon. Men hip-deep in the brown muck of the gouged and flooded earth. They are the scenes of illegal gold mining in Garimpeiros: The Wildcat Gold Miners of the Amazon Rainforest, an exhibition in the Ocean Gallery of the UC Santa Barbara Library through Aug. 31.

Curated by Jeffrey Hoelle, an associate professor of anthropology, and Jonathan Rissmeyer, library senior artist, the exhibit of 42 photos explores the world of wildcat miners, or 
garimpeiros, who try to make a living scratching gold out of the rainforest...

Aftermath Project: War is Only Half the Story


Los Angeles Public Library
Los Angeles, CA
22 June - 19 August 2018


War is Only Half the Story is a ten-year retrospective of the work of the groundbreaking documentary photography program, The Aftermath Project. Founded to help change the way the media covers conflict- and to educate the public about the true cost of war and the real price of peace- The Aftermath Project has discovered some of the most groundbreaking photographers in the world working on post-conflict themes. War is Only Half the Story tells the incredibly moving stories of the people left behind after the cameras have moved on from a war zone. Drawing on photographs from over fifty photographers, these personal and often poetic post-war views unveil not only another side to the devastating effects of war, but also tells the stories of people coming together to rebuild and heal. The exhibit illuminates and defines our humanity while giving visibility to those coping with the lingering ramifications of conflict.

Peter Hujar: Speed of Life


BAMPFA
Berkeley, CA
30 June - 18 November 2018 

Peter Hujar (1934–1987), a prominent figure in the downtown New York art scene in the 1970s and 1980s, is best known for his intimate, searching, and playful portraits of artists, writers, and performers, including Susan Sontag, William S. Burroughs, David Wojnarowicz, and the masters of drag theater. Private by nature, combative in manner, well read, and widely connected, Hujar inhabited the downtown world of avant-garde dance, music, art, and performance. His mature career paralleled the public unfolding of gay life between the Stonewall uprising in 1969 and the AIDS crisis of the 1980s.

In his loft studio in the East Village, Hujar focused on those who followed their creative instincts and shunned mainstream success. He made, in his words, “uncomplicated, direct photographs of complicated and difficult subjects,” immortalizing moments, landscapes, individuals, and subcultures passing at the speed of life.

Peter Hujar: Speed of Life presents more than one hundred photographs by this enormously important and influential artist. The pictures, in this first retrospective of the artist’s work, chart Hujar’s career from his beginnings in the mid-1950s to his central role in the East Village art scene three decades later.

Susan Meiselas: Breaching Boundaries in Photography


The New York Times LENS Blog

Susan Meiselas, who joined Magnum Photos in 1976, is also the president and co-founder of the Magnum Foundation.  Born in 1948 and starting as a teacher in the South Bronx, she went on to produce a definitive chronicle of Nicaragua’s Sandinista revolution. More recently, she has led the foundation’s efforts to nurture a new, diverse generation of photographers. Her books include “Carnival Strippers,” “Nicaragua,” and “Prince Street Girls.” In the last year, she has also been the subject of two books, “Susan Meiselas: Mediations” (Damiani) and “Susan Meiselas: On the Frontline” (Thames & Hudson). She spoke with James Estrin about her career. The conversation has been edited for clarity and length...

Arles: Archive and found photography sweeps the board in the 2018 Prix du Livre


The British Journal of Photography

From a series of diptychs designed to stimulate senile dementia patients to - controversially - an alternative take on Bertolt Brecht's War Primer which was first published in 2011, Arles' book awards went to images from the archives.

Three winners and one special mention have been announced for the 2018 Prix du Livre at Rencontres d’Arles – and in all four cases, the books use archival or found photography. The Author Book Award went to Laurence Aëgerter’s 'Photographic Treatment', which is published by Dewi Lewis; the Historical book award went to 'The Pigeon Photographer', a collection of images by Julius Neubronner published by Rorhof; and – controversially – the Photo-text Book Award went to Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin’s 'War Primer 2', which was first published by MACK in 2011 but reissued in paperback this year. A special mention went to Giorgio Di Noto’s 'The Iceberg' in the Author Book Award, which is published by Édition Patrick Frey...

Exploring Hollywood’s Sinister Underbelly, with Artist Alex Prager


AnOther

California’s palm-lined streets, intense sunshine and abundant blue skies are embedded in our cultural consciousness. The city is the epitome of the American dream, imbued with cinematic characteristics and symbolising the promise of perfection. It attracts those seeking reinvention, or who simply desire to become something they are not – but buried just beneath this fantasy lies a potent sense of unease and existential dread.

This tension is the lifeblood of Alex Prager’s practice. Her large-scale film and photographic works
utilise the tricks and tools of Hollywood to expertly portray the haunting side of the human psyche. “The city itself was built on artifice,” she tells AnOther. “It’s a strange alternative
reality. There is perfection on the surface, but the underbelly is right there and if you dip your toe in just a little bit, it gets ugly, weird and strange. I’m constantly examining these hidden layers.” ...


British Journal of Photography

'Snapdragon' is a revelation, a unique telling of a unique man’s early life. It is told in large part by Phil Stern, the young man himself, but with all the supporting detail and the rest of the story filled in by his biographer Liesl Bradner.

Phil Stern led a very adventurous life. By age 21 he was already a Life magazine photographer shooting pictures of Hollywood stars. But when WW2 began he volunteered for the army and became a member of Darby’s Rangers, now famed for their exploits in Africa and Sicily but then a newly formed and untested combat unit. Because he joined them as a serviceman and not as a correspondent he had the unique opportunity to photograph the troops and the fighting as an insider in the thick of it. They saw him as one of them too and named him Snapdragon. For the next two years Phil was there for it all and he pictured it in detail. Then in 1943 he was wounded a second time and sent back stateside. Once back he wrote of the life he had lived and the men he had known. His stories, told with his memories fresh and a fine photographer’s eye for detail are as absorbing and present as if what he was writing about had happened earlier in the day...

View Finder: Landscape and Leisure in the Collection


Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP)
Chicago, IL
19 July - 30 September 2018


Photography has played a vital role in our understanding of the outdoors, allowing us to view natural spaces without being physically present in them. Parks fill a similar role, as they provide institutional access points and infrastructure into wild, natural spaces. In his book Our National Parks (1901), John Muir, cofounder of the Sierra Club, wrote: “Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, overcivilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity; and that mountain parks and reservations are useful not only as fountains of timber and irrigating rivers, but as fountains of life.” Presenting a selection of historical and contemporary works from the MoCP’s permanent collection and the Midwest Photographers Project, View Finder: Landscape and Leisure in the Collection considers the varied ways these designated outdoor spaces enhance human experience, from allowing for rest and refuge to their ability to meet other, more subliminal needs.


Chrysler Museum of Art
Norfolk, VA
6 April - 12 August 2018


The show spans photographic history—from 19th-century daguerreotypes for which subjects sat immobilized during the early camera’s long exposure time to contemporary photographs that use special lights and mechanics to capture multiple moments in a single frame. In addition to a technical story about the camera’s ability to freeze a slice of time, the show highlights works that make time their subject, investigating notions of permanence and decay, history and memory and essence and accident. The exhibition will include works by Harold Edgerton, Vera Lutter, William Christenberry and many others.

Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia, PA
21 April - 19 August 2018 


Trial and error reveals unexpected results.

Photography distills the flow of time into singular, still moments. The artists in this installation stop, extend, and rearrange time for their own creative ends, whether to convey personal memories, render visible overlooked aspects of nature, contemplate mortality, or document the passage of time. Through their unique approaches to capturing motion, they encourage us to look at what may and may not be in plain view.

Boca Raton Museum of Art
Boca Raton, FL
24 April - 21 October 2018


Lisette Model (1901-1983) is one of the most influential street photographers, best known for her direct portrayal of the peculiarities of average people captured candidly in everyday situations. She was born in Vienna and discovered photography when she moved to Paris and joined André Kertész’s circle. In 1937 she decided to become a photographer and the next year she immigrated to New York City. Model’s work appeared regularly in publications such as Harper’s Bazaar and her work was included in an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1940. She was also an influential artist and teacher who famously taught Diane Arbus.
Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)
Ontario, Canada
28 April 2018 - 14 April 2019


The First World War is recognized as a period of mass violence and destruction, but also as a beginning. The war ushered in technological innovation, mechanizing and recording war in ways previously impossible. The growing pervasiveness of photography resulted in a conflict well-documented by military officials, press agencies, and amateurs alike.

The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) holds nearly 500 albums from this period, a unique and extensive collection donated in 2004 by a private collector. The albums reveal different aspects of the relationship between warfare and photography; retrospectively, all of them—personal, official, and commercial—engage in a dialogue with history by presenting unique visual narratives that uphold or challenge historical perceptions of war. The breadth of albums and accounts—British, French, German, Canadian, Austrian, American, Australian, Italian, Czech, and Russian—expose the multiplicities of experience as well as the commonalities of war.

Adjacent to the main display, the McEwen Gallery will showcase works by Australian war photographer James Francis “Frank” Hurley (1885–1962), who was on official assignment throughout World War I. His album Australian Units on the Western Front (1916–1918) presents a series of compelling photographs, each offering views of different aspects of life on the Front. Soldiers, in action and at ease, are pictured, as well as the grimmer realities of war: casualties, scorched landscapes, and destroyed architecture. The album—disassembled for the exhibition—highlights Hurley’s skill as a photographer and features a rich breadth of imagery.

These exhibitions present visitors with a rich opportunity to explore these photographic objects that construct a history of aerial technology and photography, which influenced the operation and outcome of the First World War, a visual record of war that is often left unseen. Together, they contributed to the beginning of a visual consciousness of war that resonates to this day.