Saturday, June 18, 2011

Dog Days

Growing up, one of the sweetest dogs I knew was a Pit Bull named Oliver. So I was pleased to find via Yahoo a photographic reminder that the Pit Bull was not always the feared dog it is these days. Apparently in the late 19th and early 20th Century, the Pit Bull was even known as "The Nanny Dog" because of its steadfastness and reliability.

This is a case where photographic evidence presents the most convincing proof. And the further you dig, the more supporting data you find. So here just a few images in defense of the breed.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

One Thousand Pictures

At 8pm tomorrow, HBO will premiere the documentary, "One Thousand Pictures" - a film by Jennifer Stoddart that tells the story of Robert Kennedy's funeral train through the stories of many of the people who waited to see it, and in particular, through the recollections and photographs of Paul Fusco who was on the train tirelessly taking pictures of the vast cross section of Americans who came to pay their respects to the assassinated Senator and hope of many.

As I never tire of saying, Fusco's pictures are to me the greatest series in American photography, so it's interesting that the film doesn't see things from a photographic perspective. But that's its strength. It simply tells a deeply moving, sometimes shocking, and improbably nostalgic story. It's a worthy companion to Fusco's masterwork and should not be missed.

The Variations

Two weeks left to see the latest development in the ongoing and fascinating career of Edward Mapplethorpe at the Michael Foley Gallery in New York.

In a career now entering its third decade, Mapplethorpe (the younger brother of Robert) has continually pushed the boundaries of what constitutes a photograph - moving from classical black and white portraits and still lives (which I have to remind people were as influential to his brother as his brother was to him) to photograms, to what is essentially painting with photographic material.

In his current work, titled "The Variations", Mapplethorpe has moved into Pollockian territory dripping and pouring photographic chemicals onto black and white photo paper with a mixture of spontaneous and controlled action. The densely layered abstractions were in part inspired by the artist's fascination with the classical pianist Glenn Gould and his iconoclastic re-interpretation of J. S. Bach’s "Goldberg Variations". When you enter the room you can feel the energy and dynamism that comes with breaking barriers.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Dance Goes On

Some of you may remember this post I did a few months ago about the above Muybridge gravure. Well so did the folks at 20 x 200 - a great web business which specializes in high quality but low cost photographs and prints. Founder Jen Bekman (we're mutual admirers) read the post and asked me if they could do an edition and as: a) it's long been in the public domain, and b) I believe it's an image well worth sharing - I agreed, thus launching their first reproduction as opposed to original art edition.

20 x 200's formula is simple - they create an edition with large numbers of small prints at a super-reasonable cost, and as the print gets bigger the edition size decreases while the cost goes up. So you can get an 8 x 10" print for $20 and larger prints anywhere from $200 to above $2,000 depending on the work and size.

The Muybridge sold out immediately in the 8 x 10, is close to selling out in the 16 x 20 (at $200), but there are still a number available in the 11 x 14 size (at $50). If you're interested you can click here to view and/or buy. As I say in their text - it's now going to be my own go-to wedding present for friends embarking on married life!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Surf's up - (again) !

Hey - it's that time of year! Do you want to be looking at dreary black and white urban landscapes or pictures of sun, surf, and sport?

If you feel like the latter, there's a new book coming out covering a yet un-chronicled subsection of surf culture. In the 1980s while New York was witnessing the birth of the Hip Hop movement, Newport Beach was experiencing a counter culture of its own. At a small stretch of beach nicknamed “Echo Beach” a new look and style emerged in conjunction with the more bold and aggressive direction the sport was taking. Neon colors and pattern replaced the boho look of the 1970s. The Californification of the world was beginning.

Photographer Mike Moir was there recording the scene. And now in the publishing equivalent of a super-group Quiksilver and Chronicle Books will be releasing “The Eighties at Echo Beach,” written by Jamie Brisick, and designed by none other than frequent guest contributor to this blog, surf archivist, design superstar, and my good friend Tom Adler.

The book is not coming out until later this summer, but for those who can't wait, Partners & Spade are previewing the book and have a few advance copies at their Great Jones Street office/gallery. There's an opening tonight and the space is open to the public on weekends. There will also be a sneak peak at Adler and Danziger Projects' latest collaboration - a set of four new surf related graphic works about which more later.


As so often happens, while Googling around on the subject I came across these pictures by surf photographer Chris Sardelis. Nice work.