Things start off promisingly at the AIPAD fair with some of Alec Soth's giant "Fashion Magazine" portraits at the Weinstein Gallery. However ...
AIPAD – The Association of International Photography art Dealers – opened its annual show at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City last night, giving reason to both celebrate and be depressed. It runs through Sunday, April 13.
The celebration is a celebration of community, in this case the photographic gallery community, now having its 30th year as a formal trade group. With 75 dealers, too often cramming as many of their wares into a small both as can fit, there are bound to be some good pictures, but if you’re looking for fresh ideas this is not the place. Nor is this really any sensible way to show art. The advantage of the multiples aspect of photography is the democratic subtext and opportunity. The downside is that after only a few booths it begins to feel more like merchandise and if I'm correct, a slightly desperate feeling of thwarted commerce hangs heavy in the air.
Nevertheless, there are plenty of greatest hits, and if you have the spare half a day it takes to really do the fair properly – which means going through the multitude of bins that many dealers love to load the tables with – you’re sure to uncover some hidden treasures.
Here are some things that caught my attention:
In the late 1970s and early 1980s before she died at a tragically young age, Francesca Woodman experimented with images dealing with self-portraiture and identity. Here a kind of reverse-Mapplethorpe gesture. (At Gary Edwards.)
This was probably the most expensive, important, and stunning print in the show. However, several hours earlier another Weston nude fetched a new world record going for $1,609,000 at Sotheby's. So consider this a bargain. (At Gitterman.)