Archive for September, 2010

30
Sep
10

Exhibition: ‘Hipsters, Hustlers, and Handball Players: Leon Levinstein’s New York Photographs, 1950-1980’ at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Exhibition dates: 8th June – 17th October 2010

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Although taken in the same city at around the same period as the work of Helen Levitt, these photographs by Leon Levinstein have less formality in their composition and definitely possess a more eclectic style evidenced by the dissection and placement of bodies within the image frame. This is not to denigrate either artist but merely to observe how two great photographers can see the same city in totally different ways. In both previsualisation was strong, the camera freezing what is placed before the lens in a balletic display that captured “just what you see.”

Many thankx to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting.

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Leon Levinstein
Handball Players, Lower East Side, NY
c.1950s – 1960s
Gelatin silver print
Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 1987
© Howard Greenberg Gallery

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Leon Levinstein
Nuclear Protest, Wall Street
1970s
Gelatin silver print
Gift of Gary Davis, 2009
© Howard Greenberg Gallery

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Leon Levinstein
Street Scene: Elderly Man Walking with Cane, New York City
1970s
Gelatin silver print
Gift of Gary Davis, 2009
© Howard Greenberg Gallery

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Leon Levinstein
Street Scene: Woman in Blonde Wig and Tight Dress, New York City
1960s
Gelatin silver print
Gift of Gary Davis, 2009
© Howard Greenberg Gallery

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“A master of classic American street photography, Leon Levinstein (American, 1910–1988) is best known for his candid and unsentimental black-and-white figure studies made in New York City neighborhoods from Times Square and the Lower East Side to Coney Island. From June 8 through October 17, 2010, The Metropolitan Museum of Art presents Hipsters, Hustlers, and Handball Players: Leon Levinstein’s New York Photographs, 1950-1980. This exhibition, drawn exclusively from the Metropolitan’s collection, features 44 photographs that reflect Levinstein’s fearless approach to the medium. Levinstein’s graphic virtuosity – seen in raw, expressive gestures and seemingly monumental bodies – is balanced by an unusual compassion for his off-beat subjects from the demimonde.

Born in West Virginia in 1910, Levinstein moved to New York in 1946 and spent the next 35 years obsessively photographing strangers on the streets of his adopted home. Early in his career, Levinstein was quoted in Photography Annual 1955: “In my photographs I want to look at life – at the commonplace things as if I just turned a corner and ran into them for the first time.” With daring and dedication to his subject, Levinstein captured the denizens of New York City at extremely close range. He used his superb sense of composition to frame the faces, flesh, poses, and movements of his fellow city dwellers in their myriad guises: sunbathers, young couples, children, businessmen, beggars, prostitutes, proselytizers, society ladies, and characters of all stripes.

Although he was a life-long loner, Levinstein was mentored and supported by Alexey Brodovitch, artistic director of Harper’s Bazaar, and Edward Steichen, the eminent photographer and curator at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, both of whom recognized his unique talent in the medium of photography. He was also greatly influenced by workshops led by the distinguished photographer and teacher Sid Grossman.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Levinstein’s work appeared frequently in photography magazines and books alongside that of his peers, such as Robert Frank, Richard Avedon, and Diane Arbus. Nonetheless, he rarely worked on assignment, as they often did; nor did he ever produce his own book of photographs. Instead, he worked as a graphic designer and devoted his evenings and weekends to photography. In 1975, Levinstein received a grant from the Guggenheim Foundation to “photograph as wide a spectrum of the American scene as my experience and vision will allow… I want my photographs to be spontaneous rather than contrived.” Despite this recognition of his achievement, he never seemed able to fit into the commercial photography market that emerged in the 1970s and 1980s, and consequently, his powerful body of work continues to be known mainly by other photographers and by specialists in the field.”

Press release from The Metropolitan Museum of Art website

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Leon Levinstein
Street Scene: Man in Boots Walking and Adjusting His Collar, New York City
c.1960s – 1970s
Gelatin silver print
Gift of Gary Davis, 2007
© Howard Greenberg Gallery

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Leon Levinstein
Street Scene: Man Resting Foot on Lip of Trashcan, New York City
1970s
Gelatin silver print
Gift of Gary Davis, 2009
© Howard Greenberg Gallery

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Leon Levinstein
Street Scene: Woman in Striped Dress on Stoop, New York City
1970s
Gelatin silver print
Gift of Gary Davis, 2007
© Howard Greenberg Gallery

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Leon Levinstein
Street Scene: Young Man Leaning against Shopfront Window, New York City?
1972
Gelatin silver print
Gift of Gary Davis, 2008
© Howard Greenberg Gallery

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The Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street
New York, New York 10028-0198
Information: 212-535-7710

Opening hours:
Monday: Closed (Except Holiday Mondays)
Tuesday – Thursday: 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 9:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Sunday: 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art website

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26
Sep
10

Review: ‘Mari Funaki: Objects’ at the The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 6th August – 24th October 2010

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Apologies for the lack of local postings in the last two weeks, I have been very sick with the flu. Many thanxk to Alison Murray, Jemma Altmeier and The National Gallery of Victoria for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image. All individual photographs of work by Jeremy Dillon.

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Mari Funaki
born Japan 1950, arrived Australia 1979, died 2010
Object
2008
heat-coloured mild steel
20.0 x 28.0 x 5.0 cm
Collection of Raphy Star, Melbourne
© The Estate of Mari Funaki

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Mari Funaki
born Japan 1950, arrived Australia 1979, died 2010
Container
2008
heat-coloured mild steel
(a–c) 21.3 x 40.5 x 8.5 cm (overall)
Private collection, Melbourne
© The Estate of Mari Funaki

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Mari Funaki
born Japan 1950, arrived Australia 1979, died 2010
Container
2008
heat-coloured mild steel
4.8 x 16.0 x 15.5cm
Private Collection, Melbourne
© The Estate of Mari Funaki

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Mari Funaki
born Japan 1950, arrived Australia 1979, died 2010
Object
2008
heat-coloured mild steel
20.0 x 28.0 x 5.0 cm
Collection of Raphy Star, Melbourne
© The Estate of Mari Funaki

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Let us drop away all interpretation and look at the thing in itself.
The literal feeling of standing before these objects.

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Form

Balance

Colour

Surface

Precision

Will

Style

Silence

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Quiet, precise works. Forms of insect-like legs and proboscises. They balance, seeming to almost teeter on the edge – but the objects are incredibly grounded at the same time. As you walk into the darkened gallery and observe these creatures you feel this pull – lightness and weight. Fantastic!

The surfaces, sublime matt grey colour and precision of their manufacture add to this sense of the ineffable. These are not mere renderings of content, but expressions of things that cannot be said.

Sontag observes, “Art is the objectifying of the will in a thing or performance, and the provoking or arousing of the will … Style is the principle of decision in a work of art, the signature of the artist’s will.”1

Sontag insightfully notes, “The most potent elements in a work of art are, often, its silences.”2

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And so it came to pass in silence, for these works are still, quiet and have a quality of the presence of the inexpressible.

Funaki achieves these incredible silences through being true to her self and her style through an expression of her endearing will.

While Mari may no longer be amongst us as expressions of her will the silences of these objects will be forever with us.

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Marcus Bunyan for the Art Blart blog

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‘Mari Funaki: Objects’ installation shots on opening night at NGV Australia

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“Opening 6 August, the National Gallery of Victoria will present Mari Funaki: Objects, an exhibition showcasing a range of sculptural objects by the renowned contemporary jeweller and metalsmith, Mari Funaki (1950 – 2010).

This exhibition will present a selection of Funaki’s distinctive objects, dating from the late 1990s to 2010 including four recent large scale sculptures. The artist was working on the exhibition right up until the time of her recent death.

Jane Devery, Acting Curator, Contemporary Art, NGV said: “It was a great privilege to work with Mari Funaki on this exhibition. She possessed a clarity of vision and a capacity for ongoing invention that is rare among artists. Funaki produced some of the most captivating works in the field of contemporary jewellery and metalwork. Her unique geometric objects, meticulously constructed from blackened mild-steel, stemmed from a desire to express the world around her.”

“Funaki was interested in the expressive and associative capacities of her objects, creating forms that might stir our imaginations or trigger something from our memories. It has been particularly thrilling to see her extend these concerns in large scale works,” said Ms Devery. In 1979 Funaki left her home in Japan for Melbourne where she pursued her creative ambitions, enrolling in Gold and Silversmithing at RMIT in the late 1980s. At RMIT she studied under the prominent jewellers Marian Hosking, Robert Baines and Carlier Makigawa.

In 1995, Mari Funaki established Gallery Funaki in Melbourne’s CBD which remains Australia’s most important space dedicated to contemporary jewellery. Throughout her career she exhibited widely within Australia and overseas and won many awards, twice winning the prestigious Herbert Hoffman prize in Munich. In 2007 she was awarded an Australian Council Emeritus Award for her work as an artist and for her success in promoting Australian and international contemporary jewellery.

Frances Lindsay, Deputy Director, NGV said: “The NGV is delighted to exhibit many never-before-seen works by such an innovative and celebrated Melbourne artist. The exquisite objects assembled in this exhibition allow us to appreciate Mari Funaki’s remarkable artistic achievements.”

Mari Funaki: Objects will be on display at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, Federation Square from 6 August to 24 October, 2010. The exhibition will be open from 10am-5pm. Closed Mondays. Entry is free.”

Press release from the National Gallery of Victoria website

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Mari Funaki
born Japan 1950, arrived Australia 1979, died 2010
Object
2008
heat-coloured mild steel
36.0 x 47.5 x 14.5 cm
Collection of Johannes Hartfuss & Fabian Jungbeck, Melbourne
© The Estate of Mari Funaki

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Mari Funaki
born Japan 1950, arrived Australia 1979, died 2010
Container
2006
heat-coloured mild steel
26.0 x 8.5 x 6.0 cm
Collection of Peter and Jennifer McMahon, Melbourne
© The Estate of Mari Funaki

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Mari Funaki
born Japan 1950, arrived Australia 1979, died 2010
Object
2010
heat-coloured mild steel
30.0 x 19.0 x 20.5 cm
Collection of the Estate of Mari Funaki, Melbourne
© The Estate of Mari Funaki

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Mari Funaki
born Japan 1950, arrived Australia 1979, died 2010
Object
2010
heat-coloured mild steel
45.0 x 52.0 3.5 cm
Collection of the Estate of Mari Funaki, Melbourne
© The Estate of Mari Funaki

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Mari Funaki
born Japan 1950, arrived Australia 1979, died 2010
Object
2010
heat-coloured mild steel
12.0 x 44.0 x 14.0 cm
Collection of the Estate of Mari Funaki, Melbourne
© The Estate of Mari Funaki

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1. Sontag, Susan. “On Style,” in Against Interpretation and Other Essays. New York: Delta Book, 1966, pp.31-32.

2. Ibid., p.36.

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The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia
Federation Square

Corner of Russell and 
Flinders Streets, Melbourne

Opening hours:
10am – 5pm
Closed Mondays

National Gallery of Victoria website

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25
Sep
10

New Fredrick White Sculpture website launched

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Finally I got my act together and made Fred a new website! Hopefully this will display his sculpture to better effect with larger images and a clean design. He has also created a new sculpture titled ‘Undergrowth’ (2010). Enjoy!

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Fredrick White Sculpture website

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Fredrick White
‘Undergrowth’
2010
60 x 50 x 50cm

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Fredrick White
‘Undergrowth’
2010
60 x 50 x 50cm

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Fredrick White Sculpture website

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23
Sep
10

Exhibition: ‘Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance & the Camera’ at Tate Modern, London

Exhibition dates: 28th May – 3rd October 2010

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Many thankx to Rose Dahlsen and the Tate Modern for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

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Harry Callahan
Untitled (Atlanta)
1984
Dye transfer print 
9 7/16 x 14 5/16 in. (23.97 x 36.35 cm)
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
© The Estate of Harry Callahan, courtesy Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

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Jonathan Olley
Golf Five Zero watchtower (known to the British Army as ‘Borucki Sanger’), Crossmaglen Security Force Base, South Armagh
1999
Gelatin silver bromide print
Coutesy Diemar/Noble Photography, London
© J.Olley

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Exposed offers a fascinating look at pictures made on the sly, without the explicit permission of the people depicted. With photographs from the late nineteenth century to present day, the pictures present a shocking, illuminating and witty perspective on iconic and taboo subjects.

Beginning with the idea of the ‘unseen photographer’, Exposed presents 250 works by celebrated artists and photographers including Brassaï’s erotic Secret Paris of the 1930s images; Weegee’s iconic photograph of Marilyn Monroe; and Nick Ut’s reportage image of children escaping napalm attacks in the Vietnam War. Sex and celebrity is an important part of the exhibition, presenting photographs of Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, Paris Hilton on her way to prison and the assassination of JFK. Other renowned photographers represented in the show include Guy Bourdin, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Philip Lorca DiCorcia, Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Nan Goldin, Lee Miller, Helmut Newton and Man Ray.

The UK is now the most surveyed country in the world. We have an obsession with voyeurism, privacy laws, freedom of media, and surveillance – images captured and relayed on camera phones, YouTube or reality TV.

Much of Exposed focuses on surveillance, including works by both amateur and press photographers, and images produced using automatic technology such as CCTV. The issues raised are particularly relevant in the current climate, with topical debates raging around the rights and desires of individuals, terrorism and the increasing availability and use of surveillance. Exposed confronts these issues and their implications head-on.”

Text from the Tate Modern website

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Georges Dudognon
Greta Garbo in the Club St. Germain, Paris
ca. 1950s
Gelatin silver print 
7 1/16  x 7 1/8 in. (17.94 x 18.1 cm)
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Members of Foto Forum, 2005.200
© Estate of Georges Dudognon

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Weegee (Arthur H. Fellig)
[Marilyn Monroe]
ca. 1950s
Gelatin silver print
International Center of Photography, New York, Gift of Wilma Wilcox, 1993
© Weegee / International Center of Photography / Getty Images

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Tate Modern
Bankside
London SE1 9TG
020 7887 8888

Open Sunday – Thursday, 10.00–18.00
Friday and Saturday, 10.00–22.00

Tate Modern website

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19
Sep
10

Exhibition: ‘Timelines: Photography and Time’ at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 7th May – 3rd October 2010

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Many thankx to Alison Murray and the National Gallery of Victoria for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

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Felice Beato
Italian/English 1832–1909, worked throughout Europe and Asia 1853–90
Stillfried and Anderson and the Japan Photographic Association (studio)
Japanese 1877–85
No title (Maiko)
1866–68, printed 1877–85
albumen silver photograph, coloured dyes
24.4 x 19.6 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased through the NGV Foundation with the assistance of The Herald & Weekly Times Limited, Fellow, 2001

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Ruth Maddison
Australian 1945–
Molly O’Sullivan, 82
1990
from the After work series 1990
gelatin silver photograph, oil paint, fibre-tipped pen
24.8 x 20.6 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased through The Art Foundation of Victoria with the assistance of the Hugh Williamson Foundation, Founder Benefactor, 1990
© Ruth Maddison

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“Opening 7 May, the National Gallery of Victoria will present Timelines: Photography and Time, a captivating exhibition exploring the notion of time in photographs.

Time is a slippery notion. It is everywhere and always moving but this powerful regulating force cannot be seen. It is only apparent in context: in the changing seasons, in another wrinkle on our faces, in the growth of children. Photography has a unique role to play in our sometimes poignant sense of time passing. The camera’s ability to depict ‘a moment in time’ – to stop the clock for a brief moment – gives photographs a unique capacity to direct our consideration towards the mechanics and poetics of this pervasive and mysterious cosmic force.

In this exhibition one aspect of time is considered from a photographic perspective: namely, human life. Works have been selected from the permanent collection both by International and Australian photographers that show an interest in some aspect of lifecycles. Arranged, in part, in a ‘timeline’, these works provoke our understanding of the mediums capacity to suggest the concept of time in ways that may be surprising, moving or even confronting. The exhibition also looks at how photographers have extended a sense of time and duration through images that work in series

Timelines will feature almost forty photographs from the NGV Collection by both Australian and international photographers including work by Diane Arbus, Micky Allan and Bill Brandt.

Isobel Crombie, Senior Curator of Photography, NGV said photography has a unique role to play in capturing the way that time passes.

“The camera’s ability to ‘stop the clock’ enables the medium to direct our consideration towards the mechanics and poetics of this pervasive and mysterious cosmic force.

“The instant that the photograph captures can be a potent reminder to seize the day rather than dreaming about the past or worrying about the future,” said Dr Crombie.

The exhibition also looks at how photographers have extended a sense of time and duration through images that work in series. From the 1960s onwards, photographers began experimenting with stretching time by creating a series or sequence of photographs.

This is seen in Rod McNicol’s powerful series titled A portrait revisited (1986–2006), (pictured Jack, below). Purchased by the NGV in 2009, the series features portraits of men and women; each posed directly facing the camera against a plain backdrop. There are two portraits of each subject photographed twenty years apart, inviting the viewer to compare the portraits to see how time has changed them. The sense of time passing is highlighted with the portrait of Peter, who is photographed only once. The blank image next to him is a reminder that he died before the second portrait was made.

Each phase of human existence has characteristic traits and features, and photographers have worked with these qualities in ways that evoke the passing of time and our place in this cycle. Arranged in part in a human timeline, the exhibition begins with the start of a new life as depicted in Christine Godden’s Joanie pregnant (1972) and Joanie with Jade (1973) and concludes with Kusakabe Kimbei’s Ritual washing for a funeral (c.1880), an image of a deceased man being prepared in the traditional Japanese way for burial. This final scene captures the grief of the moment when a lifetime ends.

Frances Lindsay, Deputy Director, NGV said: “The works in the exhibition show how artists have explored the concept of time in ways that may surprise, move or even confront viewers. This exhibition provides visitors with a special opportunity to view this remarkable collection of photographs from the NGV Collection, many of which are on display for the first time.”

Timelines will include photographs by Micky Allan, Diane Arbus, Felice Beato, Bill Brandt, Brassaï, Harry Callahan, Imogen Cunningham, Walker Evans, Christine Godden, Ponch Hawkes, Petrina Hicks, Lewis Hine, Kusakabe Kimbei, Rosemary Laing, J.H. Lartigue, Ruth Maddison, Rod McNicol, David Moore, Jan Saudek, John Thompson, Roman Vishniac, and Edward Weston.”

Text from the National Gallery of Victoria International website

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Rosemary Laing
Australian 1959–
a dozen useless actions for grieving blondes #10
2009
type C photograph
76.3 x 132.1 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, Victorian Foundation for Living Australian Artists, 2010
© Rosemary Laing and Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne

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Rod McNicol
Australian 1946–
Jack
2006
from the A portrait revisited series 1986–2006
digital type C print
48.0 x 67.1 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, Victorian Foundation for Living Australian Artists, 2009
© Rod McNicol

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Ponch Hawkes
Australian 1946–
The watch that Lucy gave to Beci
1987, printed 1989
gelatin silver photograph
23.8 x 35.1 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased with funds donated by Hallmark Cards Australia Pty Ltd, 1989
© Ponch Hawkes

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David Moore
Australian 1927–2003
Outback children, South Australia
1963
gelatin silver photograph
36.8 x 57.6 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased through the KODAK (Australasia) Pty Ltd Fund, 1969
© David Moore Estate

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NGV International
180 St Kilda Road

Opening hours
10am – 5pm. Closed Tuesdays.

National Gallery of Victoria website

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17
Sep
10

marcus bunyan work in progress

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A new body of work is slowly taking shape. I have over 150 images at the moment (!!) and after I finish making them all the images will be culled to form the new series ‘Missing in Action (red kenosis)’. The series should be finished some time in October/November. Sample images from the new series are below. Please click on the photographs to see a larger version of the image. Enjoy!

Marcus

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All images from the upcoming series ‘Missing in Action (red kenosis)’ 2010

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Marcus Bunyan website

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15
Sep
10

Exhibition: ‘South African Photographs: David Goldblatt’ at The Jewish Museum, New York

Exhibition dates: 2nd May – 19th September 2010

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Many thankx to the Jewish Museum in New York for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

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David Goldblatt
Holdup in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, November 1963
silver gelatin print on fiber-pressed paper
Courtesy of David Goldblatt and the Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

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David Goldblatt
A plot-holder with the daughter of a servant, Wheatlands, Randfontein, September 1962
silver gelatin print on fiber-pressed paper
Courtesy of David Goldblatt and the Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

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David Goldblatt
The farmer’s wife, Fochville, 1965
silver gelatin print on fiber-pressed paper
Courtesy of David Goldblatt and the Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

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“The Jewish Museum currently offers visitors an opportunity to see 150 black-and-white silver gelatin prints taken between 1948 and 2009 in South African Photographs: David Goldblatt. The photographs on display focus on South Africa’s human landscape in the apartheid and post-apartheid eras and are accompanied by Goldblatt’s own written commentary. Growing up in segregated South Africa, he witnessed the deep humiliation and discrimination suffered by blacks and experienced anti-Semitism personally.

Goldblatt’s photographs expose the complex and evolving nature of apartheid through the diversity and subtlety of his approach while instilling “…emotional complexity that rewards repeated viewing” (The New Yorker). Instead of documenting major political events or horrifying incidents of violence, he focuses on the details of daily life and the world of ordinary people, a world where the apartheid system penetrates every aspect of society. In his photographs you will find “great beauty and the most profound humanity” (The Wall Street Journal).

For more than half a century, David Goldblatt has been photographing his native South Africa, documenting the social, cultural and economic divides that characterize the country. Recipient of the 2009 Henri Cartier-Bresson Award and the prestigious 2006 Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography, David Goldblatt is his country’s most distinguished photographer.

Goldblatt’s photographs expose the complex and evolving nature of apartheid through the diversity and subtlety of his approach. He has not documented major political events or horrifying incidents of violence. Instead, he focuses on the details of daily life and the world of ordinary people, a world where the apartheid system penetrates every aspect of society. He is constantly searching for the substance beneath the surface of human situations. As Nadine Gordimer comments in the exhibition audio guide, Goldblatt captures “…these moments when everything that has happened to an individual is somehow in that image at that time. All the person has felt and known is contained, indeed, in the way he comports himself, the way he’s sitting, the way he looks, and the kind of setting in which he is.” Goldblatt frequently addresses a complex question in his work: how is it possible to be reasonable, decent, and law-abiding, and at the same time, complicit in and even actively supportive of a system that is fundamentally immoral and evil? Each photograph in this exhibition is an intimate portrayal of a culture living with racism and injustice […]

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David Goldblatt
Farmers at a cattle auction, Vryburg, 1965
silver gelatin print on fiber-pressed paper
Courtesy of David Goldblatt and the Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

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David Goldblatt
Baby with childminders and dogs in the Alexandra Street Park, Hillbrow, Johannesburg, 1972
silver gelatin print on fiber-pressed paper
Courtesy of David Goldblatt and the Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

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David Goldblatt
Three women at 39 Soper Road, Berea, Johannesburg, May 1972
silver gelatin print on fiber-pressed paper
Courtesy of David Goldblatt and the Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

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David Goldblatt has used his camera to explore South Africa’s mines; the descendants of seventeenth-century Dutch settlers called Afrikaners who were the architects of apartheid; life in Boksburg, a small middle-class white community; the Bantustans or “puppet states” in which blacks were forced to live; structures built for purposes ranging from shelter to commemoration; and Johannesburg, the city in which Goldblatt lives.

The photographer once wrote, “I am neither an activist nor a missionary. Yet I had begun to realize an involvement with this place and the people among whom I lived that would not be stilled and that I needed to grasp and probe. I wanted to explore the specifics of our lives, not in theories but in the grit and taste and touch of things, and to bring those specifics into that particular coherence that the camera both enables and demands.”

David Goldblatt has been photographing the changing political landscape of his country for more than five decades. He is descended from Lithuanian Jews who fled Europe in the 1890s to escape religious persecution. His father passed on to him, the artist said, “a strong sense of outrage at anything that smacked of racism.” Growing up in segregated South Africa, he witnessed the deep humiliation and discrimination suffered by blacks and experienced anti-Semitism personally. These experiences have informed his work.

Goldblatt’s written commentary is an essential part of his work and is presented throughout the exhibition in the texts and labels that accompany the photographs. A context room in the exhibition features a timeline juxtaposing events in South African history and David Goldblatt’s life; books published by the photographer; photography magazines that inspired him; a large map of South Africa; and a 22-minute excerpt of David Goldblatt: In Black and White, a 1985 film originally aired on Channel 4 Television in Great Britain.

The exhibition has been organized by The Jewish Museum’s Senior Curator, Susan Tumarkin Goodman.  All the works in the exhibition are silver gelatin prints on fiber-pressed paper.

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About David Goldblatt

David Goldblatt was born in 1930, the youngest of the three sons of Eli and Olga Goldblatt. His grandparents arrived in South Africa from Lithuania around 1893, having fled the persecution of Jews in the Baltic countries. David’s paternal grandfather owned a general store in Randfontein, a gold-mining town near Johannesburg. Eli Goldblatt built the business into a respected men’s clothing store and for some years David assisted with the running of the shop when his father’s poor health necessitated it. But he was only biding his time. He had become interested in photography in high school, and after his father’s death in 1962, he sold the business to devote all of his time to being a photographer.”

Press release from The Jewish Museum website

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David Goldblatt
Steven with Sight Seeing Bus, Doornfontein, Johannesburg, 1960
silver gelatin print on fiber-pressed paper
Courtesy of David Goldblatt and the Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

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David Goldblatt
A farmer’s son with his nursemaid, Heimweeberg, Nietverdiend, 1964
silver gelatin print on fiber-pressed paper
Courtesy of David Goldblatt and the Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

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David Goldblatt
Travellers from KwaNdebele buying their weekly tickets at the bus depot in Marabastad, Pretoria, February 1984
silver gelatin print on fiber-pressed paper
Courtesy of David Goldblatt and the Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

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The Jewish Museum
1109 5th Ave at 92nd St
New York NY 10128

Exhibition Galleries Opening hours:
Sun 11:00am – 5:45pm
Mon 11:00am – 5:45pm
Tue 11:00am – 5:45pm
Wed Closed
Thur 11:00am – 8:00pm
Fri 11:00am-5:45pm
Sat 11:00am – 5:45pm

Museum admission is $12.00 for adults, $10.00 for senior citizens, $7.50 for students, free for children under 12 and Jewish Museum members. Admission is free on Saturdays.

The Jewish Museum website

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Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Études’ 1994

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne.

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