Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Don't Miss This Show - Nan Goldin at Matthew Marks

The one exhibition not to miss before Christmas is Nan Goldin's show at the Matthew Marks Gallery. Juxtaposing images from decades of her own work with her recent shots of artworks in the Louvre, the show is divided into two parts – one a display of prints, and then in the darkened almost cinema-sized screening room, one of Goldin’s trademark slide shows.

For much of 2010, The Louvre allowed Goldin access to its collections on Tuesdays, when the museum is closed to the public. Goldin wandered through the galleries, focusing on the paintings that most spoke to her, revisiting certain pieces again and again, to the point where she started to see them as human rather than historic objets d'art. The connection that developed became "one of the most sensuous experiences" of Goldin's life – which is saying something because Goldin is primarily a sensualist (secondly a colorist, and thirdly a natural born photographer).

My favorite part of the experience was the slide show where in picture after picture one can only marvel at Goldin’s ability to turn everyday moments into vibrant works of art.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Paris Photo

The Grand Palais seen from the Pont Alexandre II.

Simply put - Paris Photo was amazing!

This year the long running French art fair moved from the basement of The Louvre to the Grand Palais and the event was transformative. 150 dealers from all over the world gathered in the turn of the century building whose original purpose was in fact to house the great artistic events of Paris. The main space - the length of two and a half football fields, was constructed with an iron, steel and glass barrel-vaulted roof (needed for large gatherings of people before the age of electricity).

The light, the scale, the space, and an incredible run of good weather seemed to put everyone in the best possible mood and from both my own personal experience and what I gather from colleagues, business was booming as collectors and curators from Brussels to Beijing made the rounds.

The fair also signaled Paris' increasing dominance in the world of photography. Once New York was where it all happened, and not to be self-promoting here - but other than New York's photography dealers (who still dominate the medium) - the interest, commitment, visibility, enthusiasm, discovery, and love for photography all seem greater in Paris. Correct me if you think I'm wrong.

Anyway, here are some pictures of the event and a few highlights. As a participant rather than an observer, I was busy all the time so there are fewer snaps than I would have liked. Sorry.

The sign says"Your waiting time is about an hour from this point" and people were lined up well past here!

The interior of the Grand Palais.

My booth.

My fantastic assistant Charlotte, and our helper Pascal.

Every year the fair celebrates the photography of one culture and this year it was Africa. Here the late Depara from Kinshasa, Congo - another revelatory discovery in the field of African photography.

James Barnor - who took fashion photographs in London for the African magazine, Drum.

Shomei Tomatsu from “Acqua” an exploration of the theme of water in photographs sponsored by Giorgio Armani - one of several non-selling booths at the fair.

An Andy Warhol "stitched" photograph. Warhol's inventiveness never ceases to amaze.

An extraordinarily vivid new super-sized Massimo Vitale at Brancolini Grimaldi.

The "Acqua" booth from outside.

And inside an interesting dialog between Garry Fabian Miller's seminal 1976 horizon pictures and Hiroshi Sugimoto's 1980s prints (recently printed large).

And to end - a beautiful Paolo Roversi of Natalia Vodianova.

See you next year?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Seen in London

In London on my way to exhibiting at Paris Photo.

I was a little surprised to walk into the underground and see this poster for a painting show at The National Portrait Gallery. It certainly caught my eye, but I wonder what the conservatively inclined would make of it back home. It always perplexes me when the land of liberty is more conservative than the land of the monarchy. And will this be another "offensive and explicit" post that will keep Facebook from allowing people to link to this blog?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Karen Knorr's India Song


You’re all invited. Next up at Danziger Gallery is the opening of the Karen Knorr show “India Song” – this Thursday, 6 to 8 p.m..

Knorr, who is a well known artist in England, has been working on different series since the mid 1970s – initially chronicling London’s punk scene, then moving into a combination of social observation and commentary of England’s upper class, and then being increasingly drawn to creating her own tableaux in the interior spaces of historic homes and museums. Knorr’s artistic and conceptual journey is an exemplary model of how one body of work leads to another to build a career. And to cap it off (not that the end is anywhere near) Knorr was just nominated for the 2012 Deutsche Börse Photography Prize - Europe's most prestigious award "for a living photographer who has made the most significant contribution to the medium of photography over the past year".

Much of this acclaim has centered on Knorr’s latest work – a series of Indian tableaux transposing wild animals into the opulent interiors of some of Northern India’s most beautiful private homes and palaces.

Like the pioneering early photographers who found in India a wealth of exotic subject matter, Knorr celebrates the visual richness found in the myths and stories of northern India using sacred and secular sites to highlight caste, femininity and its relationship with the animal world. She considers men's space (mardana) and women's space (zanana) in Mughal and Rajput architecture - be they in palaces, mansions, or mausoleums. These interiors are meticulously photographed with a large format analogue camera. Knorr's own photographs of live animals are then inserted into the diverse rooms and sites, fusing high resolution digital with analogue photography. The results create original and stunning images that reinvent the Panchatantra (an ancient Indian collection of animal fables) for the 21st century and further blur the boundaries between reality and illusion.

Sometimes a show we do takes on a resonance beyond the norm and Knorr’s photographs have certainly provoked this response. We’ve had inquiries (and purchases) from museums and collectors from the minute we posted the work. Come and see for yourselves.





Sunday, October 30, 2011


As regular readers will know, one of my great pleasures is seeing memorable pictures in the New York Times, and this week brought some excellent ones. Above - and gracing the front page of Thursday's Arts section was this photograph by Nan Goldin (left) paired with an 1855 painting by Ary Scheffer from Goldin's new show at Matthew Marks - the result of Goldin being given free rein to browse The Louvre on the days it was closed to the public. The show is up in New York for two months. Don't miss.

Next up, from today's Sports section, this joyful victory celebration in the women's 4 x 100 meter relay captured by Mark Ralston. It's so balletic it could be a dance photograph!

On a more serious note, Magnum newcomer Mark Zachmann photographed a boat carrying 158 Libyan refugees shortly before it was stopped by the Italian coastguard. (Italy has the closest European shore to Libya.) It has the gravitas and compositional power of a great history painting.

And lastly, this week's New York Times Magazine picks up on this very blog - highlighting the Kenneth O Halloran Irish Horse Festival photographs I ran last February. Just to let you know the appreciation runs both ways!

Friday, October 7, 2011


I'm not sure if there is any category of people who were more affected by Steve Jobs' innovations than photographers and the photography minded. Everything Jobs masterminded at Apple was elegant and visual. Everything Apple innovated made life easier and better for the viewing, management, and simple pleasure of working with and looking at photographs. To say he will be greatly missed is an understatement.

But in many ways, Jobs will not be gone from Apple. He consistently put the right people in to the right positions so that his creativity, insight, marketing genius, and his ability to “Think Different” can continue. Jobs put it best himself:

“My model for business is The Beatles: They were four guys that kept each other’s negative tendencies in check; they balanced each other. And the total was greater than the sum of the parts. Great things in business are not done by one person, they are done by a team of people.”

During his life, I always thought of Jobs as arrogant. Now and as we read more and more about his personal life and thoughts, and ponder his remarkable achievements, I think he was modest.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Tokyo ctd.

Hisaji Hara

For me there's nothing quite like Tokyo. I love the way that form follows function in both the design sense and also in the sense of the formality and functionality of the place. I love the Tokyo subway. The museums. The stores. The enthusiasm and politeness towards strangers, and most of all the people I had the pleasure of meeting or dealing with. In three trips I don't think I've ever had a bad or rude experience.

To me Tokyo is a city of innovation. Everything seems to work and there are always new ideas of how do things. Cabs are plentiful. The airport buses are a model of efficiency. We all know about the toilets. Recently Tokyo introduced "Women Only" carriages on the subway so that women going to work didn't have to be hassled. Now why don't more places do that?

But back to photography. For my third Tokyo Photo fair, I tried to bring things that I thought would interest my hosts. A wall of work by 11 different western photographers new to art fairs. A Kate Moss selection. Sartorialist prints. Warhol polaroids. And a new Susan Derges piece. I'll show these later but for this post I'll concentrate on some of the many Japanese photographs that struck me as particularly good.

Above and below - the work of Hisaji Hara. A graphic designer and film-maker by background, over the last few years Hura has obsessively translated the work of the already obsessive painter Balthus into extraordinarily original photographs. As a concept, nothing could interest me less than copying painting but Hura's work has such a unique sensibility and the photographs have such a timeless feel that they are completely successful.

Hisaji Hara

Hisaji Hara

Ken Kitano

Ken Kitano's work has consistently dealt with time and layering. Here one of his sunrise to sunset pictures wherein he literally stands by his camera for a day as it captures the passage of time and light. This one is of Ground Zero at Hiroshima.

Ikko Narahara

Also new to me was the work of Ikko Narahara. This surreal but un-manipulated shot was credited by the British photographer Chris Shaw, whose work was being shown at the fair by The Tate, with inspiring him to be a photographer. More on Chris and his work later.

Anon. by way of Fiona Tam.

These anonymous photographs of Japanese schoolgirls were found at a flea market by artist Fiona Tan and became the basis of a complex video piece. But as a refection of pure Japanese visuals and culture I think they're stunning - a study of uniformity, diversity, and seriality.

Taiji Matsue

I remember liking Taiji Matsue's work two years ago. Matsue photographs from a great distance and then blows up telling details of seemingly random incidence into little squares. This was a nice installation.

Tokihiro Sato

Tokihiro Sato creates his pictures by opening the lens and moving around with a flashlight to create mysterious and magical effects. One of the ideas I heard in Tokyo (from Yoshiko Suzuki at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography) was the idea of a post 9/11 - post 3/11 (the Japanese Tsunami) sensibility in art. This works for me in that way.

Yasuhiro Ishimoto

A Chicago picture by the great Japanese photographer Yasuhiro Ishimoto from when he was at The Art Institute. If you click into it you'll see it's a picture of cars in a parking garage. One of my favorite individual pictures in the show.

Rinko Kawauchi

Rinko Kawauchi

A section of the fair was given to photographs specifically of the after effects of 3/1. The always reliably mystical Rinko was photographing the devastation when a black and white pigeon appeared - flying away only to return again. To her they symbolized life and death, hope and despair, light and dark, Adam and Eve.

Mika Ninagawa at Tomio Koyama gallery

And last but certainly not least - a group of Mika Ninagawa photographs in a back room at Tomio Koyama gallery. I have been wanting to meet Ms. Ninagawa - one of (if not) Japan's most popular photographers - for quite a while. I love her super-saturated pop take on flowers and fish and whatever else crosses her lens. She's sort of Nan Goldin meets Andy Warhol but in a completely original form. This trip I finally got the chance to go to her studio and home and I am pleased to say that I will now be representing and showing her in the U.S..

Thursday, September 22, 2011


After being diverted overnight to Hokkaido by Hurricane Roke, I arrived in Tokyo last night with 2 hours to hang 33 pictures in my booth at Tokyo Photo 2011! Thanks to some great help from my translator/assistants we made it, but there was not a second to check out the other booths, which I will make up for shortly.

In the meantime, I always enjoy my hotel views. This is clearly not so picturesque but looking out of my window in the Nagatacho district I feel like I'm already enveloped in a contemporary Japanese photograph.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Fashion Week

As Fashion Week in New York comes to a close - a great aerial shot of the backstage preparations from London's Daily Mail. Unfortunately the photograph is only credited to Getty Images so I can't give the resourceful photographer their due credit. Please write in if you know.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Save The Date - September 15

Gloria Swanson, 1924.

You're all invited to our opening show of the season. Thursday, 6 to 8 p.m..

The show features 80 iconic Edward Steichen 8x10 contact prints made by the renowned photographer George Tice who was Steichen's last printer. In addition to the Steichens we are showing 12 rarely seen George Tice photographs in our Print Room, and George - who is truly one of photography's living legends as well as an incredibly nice guy - will be there. More on George later.

Gary Cooper, 1928.

VOGUE Fashion. 1920s.

Gertrude Lawrence, 1928.

Charlie Chaplin, 1928.

Monday, September 12, 2011


I have mixed feelings about the proliferation of 9/11 images that have flooded the airwaves and print media these past few days. Nearly every story and image is powerful and moving but at a certain point you can begin to feel you're being used.

I was looking for a photograph that meant something more than re-visiting the past when Len Prince sent me this picture. It's an iPhone snap of a contact sheet that he had never tried to print or publish but ten years later the picture makes a lot of sense.

It was taken on 9/12/01 near Ground Zero and is of the back window of a smashed-up police car that had been blown on top of another car. Someone had scrawled the date in the dust of 9/11 as both a record and - I like to think - a hope. 9/11 as we know changed everything, but it's what we do with 9/12 that counts.

For a moment it seemed like 9/12 had brought about an amazing togetherness and spirit in this country, but it didn't take long to disintegrate and go awry. Let's try to make this 9/12 something better.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Of all the snaps I've taken, this one seems to provoke the most visceral response!

It was taken around noon on August 28th as Hurricane Irene hit the south shore of Long Island. It's the view from the living room of our house on The Great South Bay, and amazingly, the water stopped about 1/4 inch short of flooding the house. What you see in this picture is The Great South Bay, and then what little lawn we have between the house and the bay.

We were very lucky.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Weekend Video

I was listening to an interview on NPR with Greg Mottola, the director of "Superbad", when they played the scene where Fogell gets his fake i.d. - one of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite summer movies. Listening to it on the radio with just the sound, I was knocked out by how good the dialog was and how one sharp line follows another. So try listening to it first without watching.

I generally have pretty highbrow/artsy taste in movies, but if you haven't seen the film I can't recommend it highly enough. It may be a teen "gross-out" comedy, but it's a near perfect movie with a great narrative, a great script, and wonderful performances from a cast who if not famous at the time have nearly all gone on stardom.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What You See is Not Always What You Get...

Over the last few years, New York Magazine has established itself as one of the leading exponents of great photography. Mixing photo-journalism, pick-up, and the creative commissioning of fine art photographers, the magazine can regularly be counted on to deliver eye-catching images. Under Director of Photography Jody Quon (a longtime deputy to the New York Times Magazine's Kathy Ryan) and Editor Adam Moss the art of matching subject and photographer is both astute and surprising.

A great example is last week's memorable picture of gender-bending model Andrej Pejic by the renowned French photographer Valerie Belin. Belin does not usually do editorial work so the choice was as inspired as the result. On the surface, it's a photographic Gainsborough portrait. A beautiful person beautifully rendered in a distinctive style, but when you understand that the subject is in fact a man, you can't help but be drawn back to study the picture in greater detail to see what clues, if any, you missed. It's "The Crying Game" in a single frame. A picture worth at least the thousand words that you can read here.