Sunday, May 31, 2009

Philip-Lorca diCorcia at Pace/MacGill

Not sure what the work is about but this sure made a gorgeous gallery hand-out.

On second thought, maybe I do know what the work is about.

Four heavy, glossy pages plus cover of some sort of semi-matte,
semi-sparklely, heavy paper. 8 x 11.5 inches.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Odds and Ends, Part 3

5 x 7.5 inches, stiff card stock

6 x 4 inches, postcard

8.5 x 6 inches, card stock

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Rudy Burckhardt at Tibor de Nagy, NYC

All are 7 x 7 inches, stiff card stock.







Saturday, May 16, 2009

Swedish Photographers

Front & Back

I found this in Sweden in 1992. I was as attracted by the design of the packaging as I was by what was in it. I picked it up basically as a souvenir (the show wasn't up when I was in Stockholm so I didn't see the work) and as an example of what Swedish photographers were doing at the time. (Alright, alright already, one of these artists is Finnish and for that matter, the title 5+1 refers to one photographer who is exhibiting paintings. I think.)


First Spread

Second Spread

Third Spread


I didn't know the work of any of these artists. I was vaguely familiar with Leif Wigh who wrote the opening essay (above, titled Notes) and was most likely the organizer of the show. He was a photography curator at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm for many years as well as an author, essayist and historian. I have a book that he put together of work from a Swedish collection of photographs.

The work of five of the six artists below represent a broad range of uses of photography. None of these styles are particularly in style these days (the Starns twins excepted.) I was curious what these photographers were up to now so I've included a short, current biography for each.

The items are 12.5 x 9.5 semi-glossy paper, folded once to produce a 6.25 x 9.5 inch, four page pamphlet. The Leif Wigh essay is the same dimensions but 8 pages, saddle-stitched (stapled at the spine.) The bag, which all the pamphlets were slipped into (top), is 7.5 x 10.75 inches, made of that shopping bag type of paper, printed over a World Wildlife Federation logo.

Front & Back


Johan Fowelin is a commercial photographer these days. Already well-known in Scandinavia for his architectural photography and exhibited art, he has expanded his work into the fields of interiors, fashion and still life. You can see his work here and here.

Front & Back


Anna Gerden seems to be showing work pretty regularly though she still has to make a living. For that, she is the photographer at the National Museum of Science and Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.

Front & Back


Berno Hjälmrud is a commercial photographer who also exhibits his work around Europe. You can find his work here, on this Swedish stock photography site, along with the work of Lars Tunbjörk (who has nothing to do with this post.)

Front & Back


Currently, Johan Holm takes b&w images of buildings that he cuts up and collages in patterns and then hand-colors. On his resume, he has a long list of exhibits he's been in.

Front & Back


Renja Leino is a Finnish artist who has exhibited widely in Finland and Europe. From 1998-2004 she was the Head of the Department of Photography at the Turku Arts Academy, running one of the most respected photography courses in Finland.

Front & Back


Bengt O. Pettersson is a still life and food photographer these days. You can see his work here.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

William Eggleston

Here's a real treat: two items from William Eggleston's past.

One is a flyer for a group show which includes Eggleston's work.

The other is a postcard.

The flyer has historical relevance and comes with a backstory.

The postcard is...well, just the sort of thing that I started this site to share because of it's inherent "gee whiz" quality. Alas, I have no context for it except that "it was made for a friend."

The flyer first; the back story and history follows; some current info on Eggleston; the postcard to end the post.

Paper, 1972, 4 x 8.5 inches.

The Corcoran Photography Workshop Invitational.

The time is the early 1970s.

The place, Washington, D.C.

William Eggleston and William Christenberry met in 1962 in Memphis, Tennessee, when Christenberry moved to Eggleston's home town to teach art at Memphis State University. Christenberry spent six years in Memphis before moving to D.C. to accept a professorship at the Corcoran College of Art and Design. One day Eggleston visited Christenberry in D.C., and was introduced to John Gossage, who lived across the street, and Walter Hopps (then, director of the Corcoran Gallery of Art, he died in 2005). Eggleston had with him a box of prints--color and b&w--and showed the work to all assembled. Everyone was impressed. Hopps was "stunned. I had never seen anything like it."

The Corcoran Gallery of Art on 17th Street had an annex by Dupont Circle. The Corcoran and Hopps let Gossage, Mark Power and Joe Cameron (all three exhibiting photographers and educators in the metropolitan area though Gossage was also on the verge of giving up a career as a guitarist) use the building, which evolved into the Corcoran Photography Workshop with a darkroom on one floor, work/meeting room on another and a big empty room on the ground floor which became an exhibition space.

For the group shows that were held there, those running the Workshop would each ask one or two artists to hang work. So, Gossage invited Eggleston to show his work at the Workshop. He accepted the invitation and hung a bunch of color prints. What we have above is the announcement for that show, in 1972, which was the first show William Eggleston's work appeared in.

The other four photographers on the announcement are also historically interesting:

Work by Linda Connor and the cover of her recent book, Odyssey

I'll assume everyone knows Linda Connor's work. Supposedly, she exhibited hand-colored collages in this show. I'm not familiar with that work and it's not included in the retrospective volume, Odyssey: The Photographs of Linda Connor, published last year spanning thirty years of image-making. In 1972, she too was an educator, in her case, in the Photography Department of the San Francisco Art Institute. She still teaches there.

Work by Richard Benson

R.M.A. Benson is Richard Benson, who recently wrote The Printed Picture and curated the accompanying show at MoMA, NYC, with Peter Galassi. He's arguably the best photo-mechanical printer in the country. In fact, he developed some of the technologies used in the industry today to reproduce photographs in ink. He is a MacArthur Fellow, former Dean of the Yale School of Art and still teaches there. In 1972, besides making photos of his own, he was working with Lincoln Kirstein on a book called Lay This Laurel, an album of photographs of the Augustus Saint-Gaudens Memorial to Robert Gould Shaw. (Dawoud Bey, on his blog, writes about studying with Benson and presents a 1984 photo of Benson by Lee Friedlander. 5B4 reviewed The Printed Picture here. The exhibit at MoMA is up till mid-July of this year.)

Work by Douglas Gilbert and the cover of his book,
Forever Young: Photographs of Bob Dylan

Douglas Gilbert is a photojournalist. He was a staff photographer for LOOK magazine in the mid-1960s and a freelance photographer for most of the rest of his career. In 1972, he would have just started an art professorship at Wheaton College, IL. He is perhaps best known for photographs he took for LOOK of Bob Dylan in 1964, just before Dylan's popularity exploded. They were published as Forever Young: Photographs of Bob Dylan, in 2005. You can also see his some of his work here.

Work by Rachel Homer

I'm told that Rachel Homer exhibited polaroids in this show. True or not, she also made documentary photographs. In 1972, she was in Boulder, CO, at the Naropa Institute where she photographed Allen Ginsburg and his crowd and continued to photograph there for a number of years. In the mid-1960s, she was romantically involved with Danny Lyon and in fact, is pictured in Lyon's Destruction of Lower Manhattan (plate 29 in the 1969 edition captioned "Rachel" and plate 31 in the powerHouse edition, 2005, titled "Rachel Homer.") She also comes up in the epilogue of the second edition where it appears that Lyon is saying that Homer accompanied him to Texas when he shot the images for Conversations with the Dead.

That's a pretty interesting group of photographers in one show. I'd like to think that the opening was a swinging affair, it being 1972 and all. Sadly, the Workshop operated on a slender shoestring and couldn't afford an opening.

The poster and book jacket for Eggleston's show, Paris

Back to Eggleston: There is currently an exhibit of his work at the Fondation Cartier pour l'art Contemporain in Paris (through June.) It's called Paris and it presents not only the photographs that he has been making in Paris for the last three years but also some of his drawings, previously unexhibited. There is of course a catalogue, of the same name, published by the Fondation with Steidl, and the drawings are included in it. For those interested in collectable books, there was an edition of 100 slipcased and signed copies. (Having brought that up, I also need to mention that it's sold out. And while we're on the topic, the regular edition seems to be sold out in most places, too.) But perhaps even more rare is the video of Eggleston playing Bach on the piano which can be found on the Fondation Cartier's website. (Go here, click on English > What's On > William Eggleston > videos.)

Slipping back into contemplation of things past, it's been reported before but it's a story worth retelling: how Christenberry was in some small way responsible for nudging Eggleston toward color photography.

Before moving to Memphis in 1962, Christenberry lived in New York. There, he met Walker Evans and showed him photographs of Hale County, Alabama, where Evans had photographed for what became Let Us Now Praise Famous Men and where, coincidentally, Christenberry's grandparents lived. The photos were nothing more than drug-store processed, color pics that he had shot with a Brownie as reference for his paintings. But Evans proclaimed them "perfect little poems" and insisted that Christenberry take the work seriously. Being young, he of course didn't take them seriously, till much later.

Meanwhile, Eggleston was shooting b&w like anyone else who was influenced by Henri Cartier-Bresson's The Decisive Moment (which Eggleston certainly was.) Around 1964-65, in Memphis, Christenberry showed Eggleston the painting-reference photos. The color in the images and the lack of pretense in the content impressed Eggleston so much that he started to experiment with color in his photography. "It's interesting to think that if Evans hadn't encouraged Christenberry to go back to the South," said Hopps, "Eggleston might still be a black-and-white photographer."

This last item may be another experiment. It's possible Eggleston could build on this for a late career shift.

Postcard, 1985, 6 x 4.25 inches



BTW, I would have linked to the William Eggleston Trust website, which has some things worth seeing on it, except that it's down. When I visited it tonight, it had been hacked and disabled. If anyone can tell us why, I would love to know.

The link is restored.

Images courtesy of John Gossage.