Friday, January 28, 2011

Vik Muniz - Wasteland

I've long loved Vik Muniz's work. This new film about one project is pretty exciting:

From the trailer, another quote of the week in that it relates so well to photography:

"What I would really like to do is to be able to change the lives of a group of people with the same materials that they deal with everyday."

- Vik Muniz

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Quote of the Week - Bays & Orland

"The sobering truth is that the disinterest of others hardly ever reflects a gulf in vision. In fact, there's generally no good reason why others should care about most of any one artist's work. The function of the overwhelming majority of your artwork is simply to teach you to make the small fraction of your artwork that soars."

- David Bayles & Ted Orland, from Art & Fear

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Palm Springs Photo Fest

All of the info for the upcoming Palm Springs Photo Festival can be found here. It takes place from March 27 - April 1 this year. Personally, having a day job, these dates don't work for me in the least but maybe they do for you. There's some interesting programming if so.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

James Welling Lectures at the Hammer - Thurs.

Copyright James Welling

"Artist James Welling’s early photographic work became identified with the Pictures generation of the 1980s. He has exhibited extensively, with recent solo exhibitions at Regen Projects, Los Angeles; David Zwirner, New York; and Maureen Paley, London, among others. For many years, Welling has worked in the intersection of photography and photographic technology, and his recent photographs investigate architecture and color. His new book is Glass House. Welling is a professor of photography at UCLA."

ALL HAMMER PUBLIC PROGRAMS ARE FREE. Tickets are required, and are available at the Billy Wilder Theater Box Office one hour prior to start time. Limit one ticket per person on a first come, first served basis. Hammer members receive priority seating, subject to availability. Reservations not accepted, RSVPs not required.

Parking is available under the museum for $3 after 6:00pm

San Fran - Recap

My long weekend in San Fran was art-filled. On Saturday, we checked out the galleries around 49 Geary. Highlights were the Yamamoto Masao show at Robert Koch and Katy Grannan at Fraenkel. I'd seen the Masao's online before and thought it wasn't really my cup of tea but there was an amazing quality to the small prints you can't come close to on on a screen. They were like little poems, quiet and full of beauty. I really wanted a very small one of a boy jumping from a waterfall but $1,000 for an edition of 40 seemed a bit much. The Katy Grannan show further proves her a master at casting and the aesthetic and technical side is very much there too.

Copyright Katy Grannan

I also got to see the anniversary show, the surveillance show and the Cartier-Bresson show at SFMOMA and all were excellent. Here's a Wayne Thiebaud I fell in love with and which also reminded me of the Granann's with that harsh sunlight.

The highlight of the trip, though, was Pier 24. To quote someone I talked to who had checked out Annenberg while in town for photo LA and was comparing the two, "Annenberg is like going to Disneyland." Pier 24 is anything but. I'd say it's more like going to heaven.

Since only 20 people at a time, 60 each day are allowed to make reservations, it's a perfect contemplative environment for viewing work in an incredible space and what work there is! I'll definitely be making it up again for future shows and wish LA had something comparable. You have to go check out this photographic Mecca. Here are a couple of mediocre architectural shots, since they were hand held and I only had a 50mm prime. Top photo is a glimpse into the conference / reception room and those Bechers are about 20-25% of all that are in that one room of the space. Yes, that is water out those windows. It was a foggy day and I felt like I was in a movie.


Copyright John Divola

I've been looking for an excuse to check out UC Riverside's California Museum of Photography (next trip to Palm Springs or Joshua Tree) but this may get me out there for the day. John Divola is showing at the Riverside Art Museum through April 15th and with an opening reception this Saturday the 21st from 6:00 - 8:30pm so you can hit both up at the same time.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Photo LA Recap

There's a nice little recap of Photo LA from a few different people that's worth reading here. Personally, I thought this year's show had better work and more exhibitors than in the last two years but would have to agree that nothing mind-blowing was there. To see the really big stuff (and I mean big names, not sizes) you need to go to art fairs and not photo fairs. A number of galleries, both photo focused and not that show what I think is the best work in town were conspicuously absent. It's a business choice of course, but it would have been nice to see them supporting photography in LA more actively.

I saw much better photography at galleries, SFMOMA and Pier 24 this weekend in San Fran than I saw at Photo LA on Thursday. Still, I'm glad we have it and will be back next year with hopefully more time to spend with books.

Quote of the Week - Joerg Colberg

"In fact, we should not complain when we hear ourselves say "Oh, I've seen that before." In the case of war we should ask why if we've seen it before we're seeing it again. OK, we should complain, but not about the fact that someone is showing us something we have seen before, but about the fact that the same shit is happening again!"

- Joerg Colberg


Friday, January 14, 2011

R.I.P. Trish Keenan

Very sad and kind of unbelievable.

Two Things

1) Photo LA is very, very good this year. I highly recommend a visit.

2) I saw Restrepo this week and it is a movie every American should watch. You can only begin through watching it to understand what these guys are experiencing. It is streaming on Netflix now.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Robert Mapplethorpe - Portraits @ SJMA

American Flag, 1977 - Fitting for this week...

Robert Mapplethorpe, Portraits
is up at the San Jose Museum of Art starting Jan 29th through June 5th if you find yourself up in the Bay Area.

John Szarkowski:

"When critics don't know what to say about a good photographer who uses the camera simply and directly they say that the photographer uses the camera simply and directly. In fact, most ordinary and bad photographers also use the camera simply and directly. Even the most ambitious photographers--whether or not they are good artists--use the camera simply and directly. Robert Mapplethorpe used the camera simply and directly, but he was, alas, not really an interesting photographer."


San Fran - Pier 24

After tonight's Photo LA opening, I'm headed up to San Fran for the weekend. I'm excited to see the Katy Grannan show at Fraenkel, the Cartier-Bresson show at SFMOMA, and to check out the new Pilara Foundation @ Pier 24:

Pier 24 is a contemporary photography space housing the permanent collection of The Pilara Foundation. In addition to hosting rotating exhibitions, the warehouse is focused on addressing and adapting to the constantly evolving concerns of the photographic community. Born out of the desire to reinvent the ways in which photography and photographic ideas are presented, Pier 24 is a distinctive environment where art has the freedom to be seen and thought about differently. Work is not only exhibited but serves as a catalyst to advance the creation, scholarship and understanding of the medium.

Be advised - you have to reserve a time to visit in advance, as only 60 spots are available each day.

(These are the same Hiroshi Sugimoto's that LACMA acquired last year - they're stunning)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The City Proper @ Margo Leavin

Curated by James Welling, The City Proper ends Saturday at Margo Leavin Gallery.

Lot's of good photos, predominantly of L.A. in this one. I just happened to pick B&W's by chance.

Peter Holzhauer

Anthony Hernandez

Frank Gohlke

Feature - Mike Carreiro

I recently saw Tom Ford of Gucci fame's directorial debut set in 1962 Los Angeles, A Single Man. Twice. Colin Firth gives an amazing performance, for which he received an Oscar nod. While a friend of mine said it resembled a 2-hour long perfume ad (the trailer certainly does), I thought it absolutely beautiful and reminiscent of the feel of Gattaca, which I also loved back in the day.

Mike Carreiro's version of LA feels to me like still shots from A Single Man - a dreamy, muted-toned version of our city that I can fall into. They could have been shot in the 60's but have a hint of today.

All images copyright Mike Carreiro

This Weekend - Photo LA!

The 20th annual Photo LA happens this weekend. You can see the full list of programming and events here. Of note, Stephen Shore will join the photographers involved in Schaden's La Brea Matrix in a discussion on Saturday. Yes, that Stephen Shore. Also, Friday night is the Portfolio Walk, during which you can view the work of all of the photographers participating in Review LA. This is a great chance to see what people are up to these days and get your finger on the pulse of emerging photography. Also, if you're considering doing a review in the future when you've got a ripe project, this is an excellent way to see how you should present the work and how you should not, in some cases.

Of course, the biggest event will be the opening reception tomorrow night from 6-9pm. Tickets cost $80 but there is booze, proceeds go to benefit the photography department of LACMA, William Eggleston will be in attendance, and you also get a one-day return pass in case you're too busy schmoozing to actually look at work and books. Say hello if you see me there.

THE LA BREA MATRIX: A Panel Discussion
Saturday, January 15 · 3:00pm - 5:00pm
Location Santa Monica Civic Auditorium / Double Tree Hotel

This event is free to the public. Tickets are available one hour in advance at the Photo LA box office.


THE LA BREA MATRIX project explores the complex relationship and cross-cultural exchange between art photographers on both sides of the Atlantic. At its core the project is questioning the iconic power of the photograph Stephen Shore took on the corner of La Brea Avenue and Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles on June 21, 1975.

For the project, six German photographers were invited to Los Angeles to create a new body of work that searchs for photographic points of reference to Shore's landmark picture.

This program brings together STEPHEN SHORE with core individuals involved in THE LA BREA MATRIX including JENS LIEBCHEN, OLIVER SIEBER, MARKUS SCHADEN, and CHRISTIANNE DEARBORN, along with photography collector MANFRED HEITING to present for the first time the new photographs taken in Los Angeles and discuss the project in depth.

Presented in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut Los Angeles, Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, and The Lapis Press.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Quote of the Week - Ethan Jones

"...I wonder if I can ever look past the aesthetics and just focus on the concept, the thought, what the image is about. The answer is yes, but the concept looks much better if the aesthetics are pristine as well."

- Ethan Jones


Friday, January 7, 2011

Le Weekend - Openings

I will admittedly be lazy here and point you to PixFeed's list of weekend openings around town. I'll be hitting up Kopeikin and then Angles and Taylor de Cordoba, since they're conveniently in the same place.
Also, don't forget about DNJ's opening party to celebrate their move to Bergamont Station on Sunday from 12-4pm.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Gallery Map

Todd Walker, who used to run the excellent Gallery Hopper blog before moving to San Francisco, now runs Ocular Octopus so be sure to add that to your RSS feed. Todd's put together a Google map of Southern California photography galleries and another for San Francisco galleries. I've added liks to them in the sidebar. Thanks, Todd. We all know how reliant we are on maps here in LA.

Feature - Drew Kelly

Drew Kelly is based out of Oakland, CA and calls the American West the greatest influence on his work. I'd have to agree and like the quiet, otherworldly feel to it.

All images copyright Drew Kelly

Pet Peeve

If it's not interesting enough, just make it a circle crop.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Quote of the Week - Peter Galassi

"Looking at these new pictures (Heads), you might notice that Walker Evans and Harry Callahan have been here before. DiCorcia, who has a firm grasp of photographic history, noticed it too. He went ahead anyway, possibly because he was approaching the territory from a different direction and so figured that it might look different to him--and it does."


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Thiebaud vs. Core

So it seems you can photograph a painting done by someone else and then it will sell at auction for $80,500...

The great San Francisco via Los Angeles painter Wayne Thiebaud:

Sharon Core's photo:





Here's the artspeak:

"Similar to those sentiments raised by photographer Tim Davis' series
Permanent Collection, Core points toward the disconnect of artworks in
reproduction, examining the appearance of paintings reproduced in textbooks
and catalogues. Core's work takes great pleasure in exhibiting each of these
particularities, while continuously acknowledging the intricacy of culture's vast
visual archive." - Catherine Krudy

Check out Thiebaud's impossible-to-copy amazing streets.