Archive for February, 2012

26
Feb
12

Exhibition: ‘Harry Callahan at 100’ at the National Gallery of Art, Washington

Exhibition dates:  2nd October 2011 – 4th March 2012

 

Harry Callahan. 'Detroit' 1943

 

Harry Callahan (American, 1912-1999)
Detroit
1943
Gelatin silver print
Overall (sheet, trimmed to image): 8.3 x 11 cm (3 1/4 x 4 5/16 in.)
National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of the Callahan Family
© Estate of Harry Callahan, courtesy Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

 

 

For me, the early photographs of his wife Eleanor and Eleanor with their child Barbara and the most poignant, intimate and beautiful of Callahan’s work while the later modernist Cape Cod photographs presage the spirit and aesthetics of the New Topographics: Photographs of a Man-Altered Landscape of 1975. Mario Cutajar observes

“These pictures of strangely vacant, light haunted intersections of sky, land, and ocean are confrontations with the limits of both the ego and photography itself as the ego’s instrument. They are oriented toward death rather than life, intimating in a cold, unsentimental way passage to another world or, perhaps, the engulfing oblivion at the horizon.”

Marcus

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

 

Harry Callahan. 'Eleanor and Barbara, Chicago' 1953

 

Harry Callahan (American, 1912-1999)
Eleanor and Barbara, Chicago
1953
Gelatin silver print
Overall (image): 19.5 x 24.45 cm (7 11/16 x 9 5/8 in.)
National Gallery of Art, Washington, Promised Gift of Susan and Peter MacGill
© Estate of Harry Callahan, courtesy Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

 

Harry Callahan. 'Cape Cod' 1972

 

Harry Callahan (American, 1912-1999)
Cape Cod
1972
Gelatin silver print
Overall (image): 23.7 x 23.9 cm (9 5/16 x 9 7/16 in.)
National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Joyce and Robert Menschel
© Estate of Harry Callahan, courtesy Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

 

Harry Callahan.
 'Ansley Park, Atlanta' 1992


 

Harry Callahan (American, 1912-1999)
Ansley Park, Atlanta
1992
Gelatin silver print
Overall (image): 15.72 x 15.72 cm (6 3/16 x 6 3/16 in.)
National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Susan and Peter MacGill
© Estate of Harry Callahan, courtesy Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

 

 

The year 2012 marks the centenary of the birth of Harry Callahan (1912-1999), whose highly experimental, visually daring, and elegant photographs made him one of the most innovative artists of the 20th century.

On view in the West Building of the National Gallery of Art from October 2, 2011, through March 4, 2012, Harry Callahan at 100 explores all facets of his work in some 100 photographs, from its genesis in the early 1940s Detroit to its flowering in Chicago in the late 1940s and 1950s, and finally to its maturation in Providence and Atlanta from the 1960s through the 1990s. In 1996, the Gallery organised the exhibition Harry Callahan, which traveled to Philadelphia, Atlanta, Detroit, and Chicago, and included numerous works on loan from the artist.

“Using the rich holdings of the Gallery’s own collection of Callahan’s work, as well as a large collection of photographs on long-term loan from the artist’s widow, the exhibition will reveal the remarkable consistency of his vision and will demonstrate how his strong, inventive formal language repeatedly enriched his art,” said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art.

 

The Exhibition

Organised thematically and chronologically, Harry Callahan at 100 examines Callahan’s work in relation to the places where he lived and to his family, unveiling his unparalleled devotion to both his subjects and the medium of photography.

In his earliest photographs made in and around Detroit, Callahan explored the limits of the camera, constructing photographs of multiple exposures in both black-and-white and colour. In works such as Twig in Snow (c. 1942) and Store Front and Reflections (c. 1943), he sought to capture simultaneously the simplicity and complexity of nature and the theatre of urban life.

Callahan continued his aesthetic and technical experiments through photographs of his wife, Eleanor. His nudes play with dramatic contrasts of light and dark: his layered multiple exposures reveal Eleanor’s body against landscapes and frosted glass windows (Eleanor, Chicago, 1948). His photographs of his wife and their daughter, Barbara, in the lake, the city, and the woods (Eleanor and Barbara, Lake Michigan, c. 1953) exploit the spontaneity and intimacy of snapshots – yet, paradoxically, were made with a large, cumbersome 8- x 10-inch view camera.

Callahan’s twin interests in the city and the land expanded during his years in Chicago and Providence, where he created both spare and evocative photographs of the natural landscape and complex compositions of urban architecture and pedestrians. He began to document anonymous women on the streets of Chicago, first in close shots of squinting eyes, open mouths, and downcast faces seen in Chicago (1950), then in full-figure shots from a low angle that feature the women against backgrounds of skyscrapers and flagpoles, as in Chicago (1961).

In the 1970s Callahan returned to color photography, continuing to push the boundaries of the medium, seen in the well-known Providence (1977). Taken in Atlanta and during travels abroad, his late photographs emphasized vibrant colors, long shadows, and the complex humanity of urban life, seen in Morocco (1981) and Atlanta (1985).

 

Harry Callahan (1912-1999)

Born in Detroit in 1912, Callahan began to photograph in 1938. Although he received no formal training in the medium, his exceptional talent was immediately recognised. In 1946 László Moholy-Nagy hired him to teach at the Institute of Design in Chicago. There and at the Rhode Island School of Design (he moved to Providence in 1961) he taught generations of younger photographers, inspiring them both with the creativity of his vision and his steadfast commitment to the medium. In a career that spanned nearly six decades, he repeatedly explored a few select themes – his wife Eleanor and daughter Barbara, nature, and the urban environment. Yet each time he returned to a familiar subject, he reinvented it, endowing each photograph with both a personal and symbolic significance.

Press release from the National Gallery of Art website

 

Harry Callahan. 'Eleanor, New York' 1945

 

Harry Callahan (American, 1912-1999)
Eleanor, New York
1945
Gelatin silver print
Overall (image): 21.2 x 16.83 cm (8 3/8 x 6 5/8 in.)
National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of the Callahan Family
© Estate of Harry Callahan, courtesy Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

 

Harry Callahan. 'Eleanor, Chicago' 1948

 

Harry Callahan (American, 1912-1999)
Eleanor, Chicago
1948
Gelatin silver print
Overall (image): 11.59 x 8.5 cm (4 9/16 x 3 3/8 in.)
National Gallery of Art, Washington, The Joyce and Robert Menschel Fund
© Estate of Harry Callahan, courtesy Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

 

Harry Callahan. 'Eleanor, Chicago' c. 1947

 

Harry Callahan (American, 1912-1999)
Eleanor, Chicago
c. 1947
Gelatin silver print
Overall (sheet, trimmed to image): 11.91 x 8.6 cm (4 11/16 x 3 3/8 in.)
National Gallery of Art, Washington, Promised Gift of Susan and Peter MacGill
© Estate of Harry Callahan, courtesy Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

 

Harry Callahan. 'Chicago' 1961

 

Harry Callahan (American, 1912-1999)
Chicago
1961
Gelatin silver print overall (image):
40.6 x 27.1 cm (16 x 10 11/16 in.)
National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of the Callahan Family
© Estate of Harry Callahan, courtesy Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

 

 

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National Mall between 3rd and 7th Streets
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23
Feb
12

Review: ‘Looking at Looking’ at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 30th September 2011 – 4th March 2012

 

Bill Henson. 'Untitled 1980/82' 1980-82

 

Bill Henson (Australian, b. 1955)
Untitled 1980/82
1980-82
From the Untitled 1980/82 series 1980-82
Gelatin silver photograph
43.0 x 38.8 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Anonymous gift, 1993
© Courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney

 

 

“The paradox is the more we seek to fix our vision of the world and to control it the less sure we are as to who we are and what our place is in the world.”

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Marcus Bunyan 2011

 

 

This is a delightful, intimate exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria that examines how looking through a camera directs and structures the way we see the world. The exhibition mines the same ground as one of my top exhibitions from last year, In camera and in public that was presented at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, Fitzroy.

Numerous artists use photography to examine the ways in which gender, race and sexuality have been ‘looked at’ in visual culture, including the politics of looking in relation to Indigenous cultures and identities. In I split your gaze (1997) by Brook Andrew, the artist has split the face of an Aboriginal man down the middle, and reassembled the face ear to ear. No longer can we look on the man as a whole because our gaze is split. Andrew is said to have “reclaimed” the image from colonial scientific, anthropological documentation but this presupposes some holistic whole existed a priori to white intervention. The split photograph does alter perception but to what extent it promotes a different reading, a postcolonial gaze that is understood as such by the viewer, is debatable.

Chi Peng poses more interesting gender reversals and masquerades. In Consubstantiality (2004, below) misaligned pairs of people, of androgynous face and hard to distinguish gender, are “reflected” in a pseudo mirror. Consubstantiality references the Christian principle describing the intertwined relationship of the Trinity (God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit) as being of one essence, one being.

“Chi Peng uses digital technologies to manipulate photographic surfaces and often uses his own body and identity as a homosexual man living in China as a means of creating new ways of looking at himself and at the construction of identity… With powdered faces and bodies, the naked ‘reflections’ press the palms of their hands together across a pane of glass. At first glance, it is as though the photographer is intruding on a private scene, a moment of self-scrutiny in a mirror. However the hands do not quite align and the gazes diverge…”1

This self-reflexivity and its relation to the Lacan’s mirror stage in the development of male and female identity – in which the mirror can be looked at and looks back in return – lends these ethereal images real beauty and presence as they explore the psychology of identity and gender reversal.

“Photographers Ashley Gilbertson and John Imming, and collaborative artists Lyndell Brown and Charles Green have all used cameras to document war, and their works off three distinct views.The common link appears to be an engagement with ideas of the observer and the observed and questioning who is looking at whom, and why?”2 Attempting an apolitical view of the war in Iraq, Gilbertson was embedded with different US military outfits on numerous visits to the country between 2002-08, reliant on them for his safety. Many of his “objective” photographs deal with representations of surveillance and covert looking from ‘within the ranks’. But not from within enemy ranks. The very fact of his embedding, his lying down within a disciplinary system of control and power, to shoot from one point of view, politicises his gaze.

Brown and Green’s painterly photograph features a tightly choreographed scene, “a market within a military camp in which traders were invited to sell their wares. The scene is indicative, however, of the ‘strained atmosphere’ prevalent when different cultures interact in military situations – seemingly harmonious but concealing the ‘control that was exerted in the selection of traders’.”3 This traditional tableau vivant sees the traders become actors on a stage, their gaze directed towards the female officer at the centre of the group holding a piece of clothing which is blocked from our view. We the viewer are excluded from the circle of gazes; we become other, looking at the looking of the traders. Their gaze and our gaze are at cross-purpose; we wish to become a player on the stage but are denied access and can only observe the spectacle from a distance. Excluded, the viewer feels disempowered, the photographic mise en scène leaving me unmoved.

John Imming’s photographs use found images from the Vietnam war, the first war in which photographers had unrestricted access and were given absolute freedom to record what they saw. Vietnam was a stage for intense exploration, photographers bombarding the public with images of extreme violence. Imming rephotographs images from the television screen using a Leica camera, abstracting them into darkly hued creatures, the borders miming the shape of early television screens. “The images become abstracted and our gaze is ‘reduced’ into blurred shapes of contrasting tones … His photographs force us to slow down the memories of the somewhat ephemeral television imagery and look deeply at what is being portrayed, and how.”4 These photographs fail in that task for they are very surface photographs. The photographs do not have the structure to support such a vision nor the support of beauty to prick the consciousness of the gaze. They are ugly images because war is ugly and abstracting them in order to ask the viewer to look deeply and have an incredible insight into the condition ‘war’ and how it is portrayed simply did not work for me.

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The two standout works in the exhibition are Thomas Struth’s luminous photograph Pergamon Museum IV, Berlin (2001, below) and Bill Henson’s seminal (perhaps even ubiquitous) series Untitled 1980/82 (1980-82, see above) – these photographs seem to be everywhere at the moment, perhaps a change is as good as a rest!

Struth’s magnificent large colour photograph is an investigation into the theatre of seeing. In the photograph Struth directs his cast and choreographs the visitors, the arrangement of the spectators re-assembling the open-ended narrative of the 2nd century Telephos frieze behind. “Similarities between the poses of the audience members and the poses of the carve relief figures gradually emerge, suggesting an unconscious dialogue between the viewers and the objects they regard. The result of Struth’s directorial mode of working is the creation of a type of theatre based on intersecting viewpoints, raising questions about the gaze of the spectator and the process of looking at works of art and each other.”5

Beholders observe beholders and the subjects of vision become historical, according to art historian Wold-Dieter Heilmeyer.

The suffused light that falls from the skylight leaves no shadow.
A man who casts no shadow has no soul.
The shadow according to Jung is the seat of creativity.
Here there is no depth of field, the sculptures and the figures feel like they are almost on one plane.
None of the viewers looks at the camera, they avoid its probing gaze, passively becoming the feminine aspect – like the central raised figure, robbed of head and arms, being gazed upon from all sides. We, the viewer, are looking at the spectacle of the viewers looking at the frieze. Looking at looking the observer becomes the observed (surveillance camera where are you?)
Consider the freeze frame of the models as they posed for the sculptor all those years ago; the freeze frame of the sculptures themselves; the freeze frame of the spectators posing for the camera; the freeze frame of the photograph itself; and then consider the freeze frame of time and space as we stand before the photograph looking at it. Then notice the women in the photograph videotaping the scene, another excoriating layer that tears at the fabric of time and looking, that causes lacrimation for our absent soul. What a photograph!

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The Henson photographs are presented in a wonderfully musical installation, mimicking the movement of the crowds portrayed. I republish below my comments on this series from the review of the In camera and in public exhibition.

“A selection of photographs from the Crowd Series (1980-82) by Bill Henson. Snapped in secret these black and white journalistic surveillance photographs (‘taken’ in an around Flinders Street railway station in Melbourne) have a brooding intensity and melancholic beauty. Henson uses a flattened perspective that is opposed to the principles of linear perspective in these photographs. Known as The Art of Describing6 and much used in Dutch still life painting of the 17th century to give equal weight to objects within the image plane, here Henson uses the technique to emphasise the mass and jostle of the crowd with their “waiting, solemn and compliant” people.

“When exhibiting the full series, Henson arranges the works into small groupings that create an overall effect of aberrant movement and fragmentation. From within these bustling clusters of images, individual faces emerge like spectres of humanity that will once again dissolve into the crowd … all apparently adrift in the flow of urban life. The people in these images have an anonymity that allows them to represent universal human experiences of alienation, mortality and fatigue.”7

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Henson states,”The great beauty in the subject comes, for me, from the haunted space, that unbridgeable gap – which separates the profound intimacy and solitude of our interior world from the ‘other’… The business of how a child’s small hand appearing between two adults at a street crossing can suggest both a vulnerability, great tenderness, and yet also contain within it all of the power that beauty commands, is endlessly fascinating to me.”8 His observation is astute but for me it is the un/awareness of the people in these photographs that are their beauty, their insertion into the crowd but their isolation from the crowd and from themselves. As Maggie Finch observes, it is “that feeling of being both alone and private in a crowd, thus free but also exposed.”9

In the sociologist Erving Goffman’s terms the photographs can be seen as examples of what he calls “civil inattention”10 which is a carefully monitored demonstration of what might be called polite estrangement, the “facework” as we glance at people in the crowd, holding the gaze of the other only briefly, then looking ahead as each passes the other.

“Civil inattention is the most basic type of facework commitment involved in encounters with strangers in circumstances of modernity. It involves not just the use of the face itself, but the subtle employment of bodily posture and positioning which gives off the message “you may trust me to be without hostile intent” – in the street, public buildings, trains or buses, or at ceremonial gatherings, parties, or other assemblies. Civil inattention is TRUST as ‘background noise’ – not as a random collection of sounds, but as carefully restrained and controlled social rhythms. It is characteristic of what Goffman calls “unfocused interaction.””11

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This is what I believe Henson’s photographs are about. Not so much the tenderness of the child’s hand but a fear of engagement with the ‘other’. As such they can be seen as image precursors to the absence/presence of contemporary communication and music technologies. How many times do people talk on their mobile phone or listen to iPods in crowds, on trams and trains, physically present but absenting themselves from interaction with other people. Here but not here; here and there. The body is immersed in absent presence, present and not present, conscious and not conscious, aware and yet not aware of the narratives of a ‘recipro/city failure’. A failure to engage with the light of place, the time of exposure and an attentiveness to the city.

As Susan Stewart insightfully observes,

“To walk in the city is to experience the disjuncture of partial vision/partial consciousness … The walkers of the city travel at different speeds, their steps like handwriting of a personal mobility. In the milling of the crowd is the choking of class relations, the interruption of speed, and the machine.”12

Dr Marcus Bunyan

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Many thankx to 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.

 

Footnotes

  1. Finch, Maggie. Looking at Looking: The Photographic Gaze. Catalogue. Melbourne: National Gallery of Victoria, 2011, p. 10
  2. Ibid., p. 16
  3. Ibid., p. 21
  4. Ibid., p. 24
  5. Ibid., p. 7
  6. See Alpers, Svetlana. The Art of Describing: Dutch Art in the Seventeenth Century. University Of Chicago Press, 1984
  7. AnonBILL HENSON: early work from the MGA collection. Education Resource. A Monash Gallery of Art Travelling Exhibition [Online] Cited 14/10/2011. No longer available online
  8. Henson, Bill quoted in the exhibition catalogue. First published as a pdf for the exhibition In camera and in public Curated by Naomi Cass. Centre for Contemporary Photography, 16 September – 23 October 2011
  9. Stephens, Andrew. “Who’s watching you?” in The Saturday Age. 23rd September 2011 [Online] Cited 14/10/2011
  10. See  Goffman, E. Behaviour in Public Places. New York: Free Press, 1963
  11. Giddens, Anthony. The Consequences of Modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1991, pp. 82-83
  12. Stewart, Susan. On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection. Durham: Duke University Press, 1993, p. 2. Prologue

 

 

Bill Henson. 'Untitled 1980/82' 1980-82

 

Bill Henson (Australian, b. 1955)
Untitled 1980/82
1980-82
From the Untitled 1980/82 series 1980-82
Gelatin silver photograph
43.0 x 38.8 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Anonymous gift, 1993
© Courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney

 

Bill Henson. 'Untitled 1980/82' 1980-82

 

Bill Henson (Australian, b. 1955)
Untitled 1980/82
1980-82
From the Untitled 1980/82 series 1980-82
Gelatin silver photograph
29.2 x 47.0 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Anonymous gift, 1993
© Courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney

 

 

On 30 September the National Gallery of Victoria will present Looking at Looking: The Photographic Gaze, a unique exhibition exploring how photography can construct particular ways of looking. Looking at Looking will feature works by 10 Australian and international photographers including 20 photographs from Bill Henson’s Untitled 1980-82 series.

Drawn entirely from the NGV Collection, this exhibition will bring together a fascinating selection of photographs inviting the viewer to consider the diverse nature of the photographic gaze and explore the complex relationships between the subject, the photographer and the audience. The displayed photographs will include observations of people in crowds, surveillance images from war zones and photographs that explore different ways of looking at gender, race and identity.

Maggie Finch, Assistant Curator, Photography, NGV said: “The act of photographing people involves a process of observation and scrutiny. At times, photographers remain detached and anonymous while at other times they are complicit, directing their subjects and encouraging specific actions.”

Frances Lindsay, Deputy Director, NGV, said: “In the NGV’s 150th year this exhibition allows visitors to explore the dynamic relationship between the observer and the observed. This is a rare opportunity to view these photographs in a truly unique context.”

Looking at Looking will consider the anonymous photographer, one who is able to look without being looked at in return and consequently see more than otherwise possible. This idea is explored in Bill Henson’s series Untitled 1980-82, where the artist photographed people on city streets. Hung in a dense display, these photographs provide a psychological study of the nature of people when in a crowd.

Looking at Looking will feature works by Brook Andrew, Chi Peng, Anne Ferran, Ashley Gilbertson, Charles Green and Lyndell Brown, Bill Henson, John Immig, Thomas Struth and David Thomas.

Press release from the National Gallery of Victoria

 

Thomas Struth. 'Pergamon Museum IV, Berlin' 2001

 

Thomas Struth (German, b. 1954)
Pergamon Museum IV, Berlin
2001
Type C photograph
144.1 x 219.9 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Purchased with the assistance of The Bowness Family Fund for Contemporary Photography, 2008
© 2011 Thomas Struth

 

David Thomas. 'Amid history 2 (Large version)' 2006

 

David Thomas (born Northern Ireland 1951, arrived Australia 1958)
Amid history 2 (Large version)
2006
Enamel paint on type C photograph on aluminium and plastic
100.0 x 145.0 cm National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, Victorian Foundation for Living Australian Artists, 2007 © the artist

 

Ashley Gilbertson. 'A member of the Mahdi Army RPG team' 2004 from the Whiskey Tango Foxtrot series 2004

 

Ashley Gilbertson (Australian, b. 1978)
A member of the Mahdi Army RPG team
2004
From the Whiskey Tango Foxtrot series 2004
Digital type C print
66.5 x 99.8 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Purchased, Victorian Foundation for Living Australian Artists, 2009
© Ashley Gilbertson / VII Network

 

John Immig. 'No title (T.V. images)' 1975-76

 

John Immig (Dutch/Australian, b. 1940)
No title (T.V. images)
1975-76
From the Vietnam series 1975-76
Gelatin silver photograph
20.2 x 25.3 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased with the assistance of the Visual Arts Board, 1977 © John Immig

 

Chi Peng. 'Consubstantiality' 2004

 

Chi Peng (Chinese, b. 1981)
Consubstantiality
2004
Type C photograph
87.5 x 116.7 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased with the assistance of the NGV Foundation, 2004 © Chi Peng, courtesy of Red Gate Gallery, Beijing

 

Charles Green and Lyndell Brown. 'Afghan traders with soldiers, market, Taran Kowt Base Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan' 2007 printed 2009

 

Charles Green (Australian, b. 1953)
Lyndell Brown (Australian, b. 1961)
Afghan traders with soldiers, market, Taran Kowt Base Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan
2007 printed 2009
From The approaching storm series 2009
Inkjet print
155.0 x 107.5 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Purchased, Victorian Foundation for Living Australian Artists, 2009
© Courtesy of the Artists and Arc One Gallery, Melbourne

 

 

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20
Feb
12

Exhibition: ‘Memory Remains: 9/11 Artifacts at Hangar 17 by Francesc Torres’ at the Imperial War Museum, London

Exhibition dates: 26th August 2011 – 26th February 2012

 

Many thankx to the Imperial War Museum, London for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

Francesc Torres. 'Steel beams taken from ground zero for storage at John F. Kennedy International Airport's Hangar 17' 2009

 

Francesc Torres (Spanish, b. 1948)
Steel beams taken from ground zero for storage at John F. Kennedy International Airport’s Hangar 17
2009
© Francesc Torres

 

Francesc Torres. 'Twisted steel beams from ground zero dominate the space in JFK International Airport's Hangar 17, where 9/11 artifacts were housed for study and safekeeping' 2009

 

Francesc Torres (Spanish, b. 1948)
Twisted steel beams from ground zero dominate the space in JFK International Airport’s Hangar 17, where 9/11 artifacts were housed for study and safekeeping
2009
© Francesc Torres

 

Francesc Torres. 'View through a portion of the broadcast antenna that fell from the top of the north tower. A number of fragments of the 360-foot antenna were kept at Hangar 17' 2009

 

Francesc Torres (Spanish, b. 1948)
View through a portion of the broadcast antenna that fell from the top of the north tower. A number of fragments of the 360-foot antenna were kept at Hangar 17
2009
© Francesc Torres

 

Francesc Torres. 'The collapse of the twin towers created a series of iconic objects...' 2009

 

Francesc Torres (Spanish, b. 1948)
The collapse of the twin towers created a series of iconic objects, transformed by force and fire from their daily uses into artifacts that tell a story. At Hangar 17, tented enclosures were built for artifacts of various kinds that, in the view of curators and conservators, needed the added protection of humidity control and stillness. Perhaps the most dramatic example of this transformation could be found inside the vehicle tent, where trucks and cars, normally left outside in all conditions, were given shelter
2009
© Francesc Torres

 

Francesc Torres. 'Because the Last Column had inscriptions and attachments on all sides' 2009

 

Francesc Torres (Spanish, b. 1948)
Because the Last Column had inscriptions and attachments on all sides, it was raised onto a specially constructed steel cradle at Hangar 17 so conservators had enough clearance to work. A mirror provides a glimpse of tributes on the underside of the column. Visible on the facing side are the taped-on memorials for Firefighter Christian Regenhard, 28, and Deputy Battalion Chief Dennis Cross, 60
2009
© Francesc Torres

 

 

The empty shell of Hangar 17 at JFK Airport became a storehouse of memories when it was filled with the material cleared from the World Trade Center site following the September 11 attacks on New York City.

Marking the tenth anniversary of 9/11, Francesc Torres’s work features over 150 projected images which explore inside the hangar and reflect on the emotional power of what remained, from personal belongings to steel girders distorted by the force of the attacks. Alongside the photographs is a section of raw rusted steel over two metres in length from the ruins of the World Trade Center. As well as larger piece (over 1 tonne) that is due to go on display at IWM North in October, these objects are the first pieces of steel from Ground Zero to go on display in the UK. The exhibition will also be on display at the International Centre for Photography in New York and at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona.

Throughout his career, Spanish-American artist Francesc Torres has reflected on the diverse manifestations of culture, politics, memory and power. His latest exhibition at the Imperial War Museum, Memory Remains, is a bold and haunting amalgam of all four.

In 2009, Torres was granted rare access to Hangar 17 at John F Kennedy International Airport, a gaping space of over 80,000-square-feet. Within the hangar lie the remnants deemed worth preserving from the September 11 attacks, taken from the 1.8 million tonnes of debris from Ground Zero. For five weeks Torres daily confronted the legacy of terror and the ghosts of that fateful late-summer day, capturing images of objects that stand as symbolic substitutes to the victims.

“Look at it this way”, says Torres, relaying his experience, “it’s a hanger constructed to house a plane, which was transformed into a weapon used for the attack on the towers and now the sediment of that attack is here. With the sound of planes constantly flying overhead it was absolutely surreal.”

According to the photographer, the experience of walking around the hanger after the first day was so emotionally draining that he slept from four o’clock in the afternoon through to ten o’clock the next morning.

“I was absolutely exhausted; physically and emotionally… every single iota of energy I had was gone.”

His efforts have produced some exceptional results, however, displayed on a rolling slideshow in a small room near the entrance of the museum. Among the objects photographed are large shards of rusted, burnt steel, crumpled filing cabinets and a plethora of flattened Port Authority vehicles. Some unexpected pieces of detritus were also found, including a nine-foot, three-dimensional Bugs Bunny, made completely bizarre when juxtaposed by a sign whose letters read chillingly: “That’s All Folks!”

Prior to the Hangar 17 project, Torres documented the excavation of a mass Spanish Civil War grave that he said drew certain comparisons with the material at JFK.

“The clothing is something that just grabs you,” he says, “it’s very uncanny that nothing changes with the victims as historical subjects. The clothing [in Hangar 17] was exactly the same as the clothing I’ve seen in Spain or in the former Yugoslavia; it all has the same patina. The victim becomes universal… the remains have that quality.”

Along with the photographs, the museum has also acquired a section of steel from the structure of the World Trade Center, displayed outside the projection room. It is the first section of raw rusted steel from the ruins at Ground Zero – thought to be the box section from one of windows – to be displayed in the UK.

For the past year, pieces from the hangar have made their way to be placed in memorials in each of the 50 American states, as well as seven other countries across the globe. Some, but not all, of the remaining pieces will be housed in the 9/11 Memorial Museum near the site of the attack, which is something that concerns Torres.

“We have to preserve the hanger as a container. It’s an unbelievable narrative apparatus that had been created almost on the run,” he says.

With a lifelong interest in questions of human memory and meaning, Torres’ work is based on the concept that it is through the remains of history that memory remains. His latest show is an unforgettable testament to those horrendous attacks that capped the 20th century almost a decade ago.”

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Francesc Torres (Spanish, b. 1948) 'These three panels, offering a view of the Statue of Liberty from 1977, were salvaged from the Cortlandt Street subway station under the World Trade Center' 2009

 

Francesc Torres (Spanish, b. 1948)
These three panels, offering a view of the Statue of Liberty from 1977, were salvaged from the Cortlandt Street subway station under the World Trade Center. The spray-painted markings indicate that the area nearby had been searched by rescue workers for survivors or victims
2009
© Francesc Torres

 

Francesc Torres. '9/11, as seen live on television in Barcelona, Spain' 2009

 

Francesc Torres (Spanish, b. 1948)
9/11, as seen live on television in Barcelona, Spain. Photographed at roughly 3 p.m. local time by Maria Iturrioz de Torres, Francesc Torres’ mother, while they spoke by phone
2009
© Francesc Torres

 

Francesc Torres. 'Though most of the vehicles at Hangar 17 came from first responders' 2009

 

Francesc Torres (Spanish, b. 1948)
Though most of the vehicles at Hangar 17 came from first responders, this taxi, an emblem of daily life in New York, was also preserved. At left, the tags hanging from the frame indicate its Port Authority inventory number (white) and mark its selection for inclusion in the permanent collection of the Memorial Museum (yellow)
2009
© Francesc Torres

 

Francesc Torres. 'During the recovery at the site, some ironworkers would cut religious or other symbols out of pieces of steel...' 2009

 

Francesc Torres (Spanish, b. 1948)
During the recovery at the site, some ironworkers would cut religious or other symbols out of pieces of steel from the World Trade Center and give them as keepsakes to family members or other visitors
2009
© Francesc Torres

 

 

Imperial War Museum, London
Lambeth Road
London SE1 6HZ
United Kingdom
Phone: 020 7416 5000

Opening hours:
Daily from 10am – 6pm

Imperial War Museum, London website

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17
Feb
12

Exhibition: ‘Color Correction’ by Ernst Haas at Christophe Guye Galerie, Zurich

Exhibition dates: 20th January – 25th February 2012

 

Many thankx to Christophe Guye Galerie, Zurich for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

Ernst Haas (1921 - 1986) 
'New York' 1980

 

Ernst Haas (American, 1921-1986)

New York
1980
C-print, later print
76.2 x 101.6 (30 x 40 in.)
Edition of 15
Courtesy of Ernst Haas and Christophe Guye Galerie

 

Ernst Haas (1921–1986) '
New Orleans' 1957

 

Ernst Haas (American, 1921-1986)

New Orleans
1957
C-print, later print
76.2 x 101.6 (30 x 40 in.)
Edition of 15
Courtesy of Ernst Haas and Christophe Guye Galerie

 

Ernst Haas (1921–1986)
 'Western Skies Motel' 1978

 

Ernst Haas (American, 1921-1986)
Western Skies Motel
1978
C-Print, later print
76.2 x 101.6 (30 x 40 in.)
Edition of 15
Courtesy of Ernst Haas and Christophe Guye Galerie

 

 

Bored with obvious reality, I find my fascination in transforming it into a subjective point of view. Without touching my subject I want to come to the moment when, through pure concentration of seeing, the composed picture becomes more made than taken. Without a descriptive caption to justify its existence, it will speak for itself – less descriptive, more creative; less informative, more suggestive – less prose, more poetry.

.
Ernst Haas from ‘About Color Photography’, in DU, 1961

 

 

Christophe Guye Galerie is proud to present Color Correction: by one of the most important and influential artists in the development of colour photography and the history of the medium on a whole, this exhibition spotlights a body of work that poignantly describes the complex ways in which an artist’s ‘career’ took form. Ernst Haas belonged to the best known, most productive and widely published photographers of the twentieth century. Most commonly associated with vibrant colour photography, Haas was famed for his commercial work. It is undoubtedly however his other, private work that really illuminates the power of his sensibility and his true mastery. Unfortunately this side of his creative output has been kept private and thus escaped posthumous appreciation. It is only now, with the efforts and belief in Haas’ ability of a few, such as William Ewing, former Director of the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne, that this body of work is finally revealed and justly let’s this artist’s aptitude shine. The exhibition Color Correction, and Ewing’s corresponding book published by Steidl, uncovers, with an exciting and novel view, the “other” side of Ernst Haas’ visionary.

Color Correction is the first exhibition in Switzerland to present the to-date little known, non-commission work by the late Austrian-born photographer. Uncovering a new side to a much celebrated body of work, the show will include fifteen new and mostly never before seen large format works, alongside a handpicked selection of rare, vintage dye-transfer prints from the 1950s and ’60s. These astoundingly complex and ultimately enveloping pieces form a group exhibited under the title Colour Correction to coincide with the recent Steidl publication Color Correction, by William Ewing.”These images are of great sophistication, and rival (and sometimes surpass) the best of his colleagues”, says Ewing, revealing works “far more edgy, loose, enigmatic, and ambiguous than his celebrated work.”

“Color correction” is a term used in printing, through which the inked proofs are brought into as close equivalence as possible with the original photograph. Ewing has chosen to use the term metaphorically, to suggest “we owe it to Ernst Haas and our understanding of the history of colour photography, to reevaluate his importance in light of this marvellous imagery, kept under wraps for so many years.” It was in 1962 that the first ever colour photography exhibition, Ernst Haas Color Photography, was held at the prestigious MoMA in New York, and not until fourteen years later would colour photography be given another show at the museum with Color Photography by William Eggleston. Though introducing Haas’ work to a large audience and a major milestone in the history of the medium it would not come to have the same effect on the development of the artist’s career. On the contrary: an exhibition planned by Edward Steichen, renowned photographer and curator of MoMA at the time, it was in the end his predecessor John Szakowski who would actually see it realised. With this shift in curatorial visionary, Szakowski would enforce a different taste. Having the duty to complete Steichen’s idea, but keen to champion his own and dissimilar ideas, Szakowski’s enthusiasm regarding the artist and the exhibition Ernst Haas Color Photography was meek, the praise in his accompanying texts all but faint. Steichen, once in favour of pictorialism, thus a subjective photography, valued Haas’ profound use of the camera, while Szakowski on the other hand chose to favour a less embellished sentiment; a more hardedge modernist inspired American approach. It was this disregard and clashing of personal agendas that would ultimately and erroneously see Haas excluded from the canon of colour photography; his indisputable talent became the victim of the cyclical debate of what art photography should be.

Making his first colour photographs in 1949, Haas was a member of the prestigious Magnum agency. Known mainly for his commissioned work, whereby he created influential imagery such as iconic Marlboro Man advertisements long before other artists were commissioned to do so, Haas’ work would come to have great influence on later artists, such as Richard Prince, Marc Quinn or Robert Longo. Using colour also for his personal work, with a pictorial language recalling at times the works by painter Edward Hopper, Haas has been described as a poet photographer. By no means the first to use the medium in colour, he was said to be “the first to do it masterfully.” Visionary, Haas early on cropped and abstracted, photographing against the light and out of focus, using reflections, close-up to mystify the visible, abstraction of colour and texture. Interested in the everyday, his photographs remind of the likes of Lee Friedlander or Stephan Shore, but rather than documents his works are “vignettes of personal experience.” The works on display in Color Correction reveal this more abstract side of the artist’s oeuvre.

Haas’ work never received the recognition it deserved. The works presented at Christophe Guye Galerie are based upon this dispute, attempting to reveal the true ability of Haas’ work and restore his rightful place in the medium’s canon.

Haas’ formal language echoes decades past while being extremely contemporary at once. Often shooting inches away from the subject at acute and unexpected angles, Haas work was visionary. Lyrical, evocative, and expressive, while at the same time exact, the artist moved away from obvious reality, finding fascination in transforming it into a subjective point of view. The works on view are to be understood not as informative but as creative; description gives way to suggestion. Color Correction – the exhibition as well as the book – show works that are rich, vibrant, and intelligent alike. With this new view on the body of work of one of the medium’s most important advocates, Color Correction hopes to evoke the excitement Steichen expressed when he first came across Haas imaginarium of seeing: “In my estimation we have experienced an epoch in photography. Here is a free spirit, untrammelled by tradition and theory, who has gone out and found beauty unparalleled in photography.”

Press release from the Christophe Guye Galerie website

 

Ernst Haas (1921–1986)
 'Bronco Rider, California' 1957

 

Ernst Haas (American, 1921-1986)
Bronco Rider, California
1957
C-print, later print
101.6 x 76.2 cm (40 x 30 in.)
Edition of 15
Courtesy of Ernst Haas and Christophe Guye Galerie

 

Ernst Haas (1921 - 1986)
 'California, USA' 1976

 

Ernst Haas (American, 1921-1986)
California, USA
1976
C-print, later print
101.6 x 76.2 cm (40 x 30 in.)
Courtesy of Ernst Haas and Christophe Guye Galerie

 

 

Christophe Guye Galerie
Dufourstrasse 31
8008 Zurich, Switzerland
Phone: +41 44 252 01 11

Opening hours:
Monday to Friday 10am – 6pm
Saturday 11am – 4pm

Christophe Guye Galerie website

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16
Feb
12

Exhibition: ‘The Prints of Martin Lewis: From the Collection of Dr. Dorrance Kelly’ at the Bruce Museum, Greenwich, CT

Exhibition dates: 2nd October 2011 – 26th February 2012

 

Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962) 'Glow of the City' 1929

 

Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962)
Glow of the City
1929 
Drypoint, 11 ¼ x 14 ¼ in.
Collection of Dr. Dorrance T. Kelly
© Estate of Martin Lewis

 

 

One of the great pleasures of presenting this blog is introducing myself and my readers to forgotten artists. Here we have a dazzling Australian artist who died largely forgotten, especially, it seems, in his native country. He does not deserve this fate!

.
How many works does the National Gallery of Australia hold in its collection?

6

Count them … 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

(and none displayed online)

.
AGNSW 5, NGV 0

(and none displayed online)

.
Tell me, is there something wrong with this picture?

Dr Marcus Bunyan

.
Many thankx to the Bruce Museum for allowing me to publish the images in the posting. Please click on the images for a larger version.

 

 

Martin Lewis (1881-1962) was born in Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia on June 7, 1881. He was the second of eight children and had a passion for drawing. At the age of 15, he left home and traveled in New South Wales, Australia, and in New Zealand, working as a pothole digger and a merchant seaman. He returned to Sydney and settled into a Bohemian community outside Sydney. Two of his drawings were published in the radical Sydney newspaper, The Bulletin. He studied with Julian Ashton at the Art Society’s School in Sydney. Ashton, a famous painter, was also one of the first Australian artists to take up printmaking.

In 1900, Lewis left Australia for the United States. His first job was in San Francisco, painting stage decorations for William McKinley’s presidential campaign of 1900. By 1909, Lewis was living in New York, where he found work in commercial illustration. His earliest known etching is dated 1915. However, the level of skill in this piece suggests he had been working in the medium for some time previously. It was during this period that he helped Edward Hopper learn the basics of etching. In 1920, after the break up of a romance, Lewis traveled to Japan, where for two years he drew and painted and studied Japanese art. The influence of Japanese prints is very evident in Lewis’s prints after that period. In 1925, he returned to etching and produced most of his well-known works between 1925 and 1935 Lewis’s first solo exhibition in 1929 was successful enough for him to give up commercial work and concentrate entirely on printmaking. Lewis is most famous for his black and white prints, mostly of night scenes of non tourist, real life street scenes of New York City. During the Depression, however, he was forced to leave the city for four years between 1932 and 1936 and move to Connecticut. When Lewis was able to return to the New York City in 1936, there was no longer a market interested in his work. He died largely forgotten.

Text from the Wikipedia website

 

 

Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962). 'Late Traveler' 1949

 

Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962)
Late Traveler
1949 
Drypoint, 9 7/8 x 11 7/8 in.
Collection of Dr. Dorrance T. Kelly
© Estate of Martin Lewis

 

Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962). 'Fifth Ave Bridge' 1928

 

Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962)
Fifth Ave Bridge
1928
Drypoint , 9 7/8 x 12 in.
Collection of Dr. Dorrance T. Kelly
© Estate of Martin Lewis

 

Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962). 'Grandpa Takes a Walk' 1935

 

Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962)
Grandpa Takes a Walk
1935 
Drypoint and sand ground, 8 7/8 x 11 ¾ in.
Collection of Dr. Dorrance T. Kelly
© Estate of Martin Lewis

 

Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962). 'Quarter of Nine, Saturday's Children' 1929

 

Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962)
Quarter of Nine, Saturday’s Children
1929 
Drypoint, 9 7/8 x 12 7/8 in.
Collection of Dr. Dorrance T. Kelly
© Estate of Martin Lewis

 

Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962). 'Shadow Dance' 1930

 

Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962)
Shadow Dance
1930 
Drypoint and sandpaper ground, 9 ½ x 10 7/8 in.
Collection of Dr. Dorrance T. Kelly
© Estate of Martin Lewis

 

 

The Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut, presents the new exhibition The Prints of Martin Lewis: From the Collection of Dr. Dorrance Kelly from October 2, 2011, through February 19, 2012. Recognised as one of the premier American printmakers of the first half of the 20th-century, Martin Lewis (1881-1962) left an indelible mark on the landscape of the art world. Although not as publicly well known as some of his contemporaries such as Edward Hopper, Lewis was a highly skilled printer who was greatly involved in the artistic scene of New York City during the 1920s and ’30s. This exhibition features more than thirty etchings and several canceled plates by the artist from the private collection of Dr. Dorrance Kelly of West Redding, Connecticut.

The exhibition The Prints of Martin Lewis: From the Collection of Dr. Dorrance Kelly provides a brief biographical account of Lewis and showcases some of the artist’s best technical prints. Lewis was an acknowledged master of the intaglio techniques of printmaking, experimenting with multiple processes including etching, aquatint, engraving, mezzotint, and dry point.

In 1915 he produced his first documented etching, Smoke Pillar, Weehawken. Images like this one documented the scenes of everyday life as they played out in the thriving metropolis around New York City. Lewis portrayed all aspects of city life including dockworkers, skyscrapers, tugboats, and pedestrians – mostly the ladies. He produced magnificent prints that captured the energy, bustle, and occasional solitude of New York. With his move to Connecticut in 1932, Lewis investigated another topic through his printmaking: country life. This firmly entrenched Lewis as a prominent American scene artist, as his prints captured the intersection between the urban and rural environments and shed light on the slowly emerging suburban culture.

Press release from the Bruce Museum website

 

Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962). 'Windy Day' 1932

 

Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962)
Windy Day
1932 
Drypoint, 9 7/8 x 12 in.
Collection of Dr. Dorrance T. Kelly
© Estate of Martin Lewis

 

Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962). 'Politics' 1936

 

Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962)
Politics
1936 
Drypoint and sand ground, 9 ¾ x 10 5/8 in.
Collection of Dr. Dorrance T. Kelly
© Estate of Martin Lewis

 

Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962). 'Little Penthouse' 1931

 

Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962)
Little Penthouse
1931 
Drypoint, 9 7/8 x 6 ¾ in.
Collection of Dr. Dorrance T. Kelly
© Estate of Martin Lewis

 

Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962). 'Bay Windows' 1929

 

Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962)
Bay Windows
1929 
Drypoint and sandpaper ground, 11 ¾ x 7 7/8 in.
Collection of Dr. Dorrance T. Kelly
© Estate of Martin Lewis

 

Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962). 'Chance Meeting' 1940-41

 

Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962)
Chance Meeting
1940-41 
Drypoint, 10 ½ x 7 ½ in.
Collection of Dr. Dorrance T. Kelly
© Estate of Martin Lewis

 

Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962). 'Relics (Speakeasy Corner)' 1928

 

Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962)
Relics (Speakeasy Corner)
1928 
Drypoint, 11 7/8 x 9 7/8 in.
Collection of Dr. Dorrance T. Kelly
© Estate of Martin Lewis

 

Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962). 'Snow on the "El"' 1931

 

Martin Lewis (Australian, 1881-1962)
Snow on the “El”
1931 
Drypoint and sand ground, 14 x 9 in.
Collection of Dr. Dorrance T. Kelly
© Estate of Martin Lewis

 

 

Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT
Phone: 203.869.0376

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 5pm
Sunday 1pm – 5pm
Closed Mondays

Bruce Museum website

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14
Feb
12

Exhibition: ‘Swiss Photobooks from 1927 to the present – A Different History of Photography’ at Fotostiftung Schweiz, Zurich

Exhibition dates: 22nd October 2011 – 19th February 2012

 

Many thankx to Fotostiftung Schweiz for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

Eduard Spelterini. 'Über den Wolken' Brunner & Co. A.G., Zurich 1928

 

Eduard Spelterini (Swiss, 1852-1931)
Über den Wolken
Brunner & Co. A.G., Zurich
1928

 

Albert Steiner. 'Schnee, Winter, Sonne' Rotapfel-Verlag, Zurich-Erlenbach/Leipzig 1930

 

Albert Steiner (Swiss, 1877-1965)
Schnee, Winter, Sonne
Rotapfel-Verlag, Zurich-Erlenbach/Leipzig
1930

 

 

Albert Steiner was one of the finest Swiss photographers of the twentieth century. Like Ansel Adams, he favoured imposing natural phenomena, landscapes with what might be called good bone structure, (in his case the Alps, in Adams’s comparable work, the American West), and he printed his vision of them in black-and-white, revealing nature in all its majesty. His impressive scenic work has fundamentally shaped the world’s perception of Switzerland as an alpine country of timeless beauty. It spans the period from before World War I – an era of pictorially inspired images that look like oil paintings – to the straightforward and elegantly modern photography of the 1930s. Unlike many other photographers of the same generation active in the same area, Steiner saw photography as a completely appropriate means of creating works of art, and considered himself an artist.

Text from Amazon. Albert Steiner The Photographic Work. Steidl November 21, 2008

 

Jakob Tuggener. 'Fabrik' Rotapfel Verlag, Erlenbach-Zurich 1943

 

Jakob Tuggener (Swiss, 1904-1988)
Fabrik
Rotapfel Verlag, Erlenbach-Zurich
1943

 

 

The Swiss Foundation for Photography (Fotostiftung Schweiz) is marking its fortieth anniversary by presenting a fresh view of Swiss photography – a tour d’horizon covering a range of illuminating photobooks in which not only the great themes of photography are reflected but also the development of photographic styles and modes of expression. Since the late 1920s the book has repeatedly proved itself to be an ideal platform for the presentation of photographic works. Books have not only contributed to the dissemination and transmission of photography but also facilitated the integration of the individual image into a meaningful context.

In the history of photography the photobook plays a major role not only in publicising photographs, but also as an independent means of expression. The significance of many photographers’ works only emerges when presented in book form, in the coherent sequence or series of images. Content, design and printing quality combine to produce an intricate architectural whole.

This jubilee exhibition marking the 40th anniversary of the Fotostiftung Schweiz focuses on a selection of photobooks that have influenced photography in Switzerland since the late 1920s. At that time, technical advances made the reproduction of top quality photographic images possible and promptly gave rise to a first boom in illustrated books that placed greater emphasis on the photographs than on the texts. Since then, Swiss photobooks have continued to develop in various directions and have repeatedly attracted considerable attention at international level as well.

With the help of seven thematic areas – homeland, portraiture, mountain photography, the world of work, aerial photography, contemporary history, travel – this exhibition aims at a kind of typology of the Swiss photobook which draws attention to the potential interplay between book and photograph, while also revealing the extent to which modes of expression have altered over the course of time. Concise excerpts from these books exhibited on the walls highlight the basic principle of each photobook – a photograph positioned on a double page still remains an integral part of a larger sequence. The concept, design and reception of photobooks are examined more closely in display cases. A large wall installation is devoted to photobook covers. The photobook is also presented as an object in film form: “reading” illustrated photography books is not just an intellectual but also a sensual act.

Press release from the Fotostiftung Schweiz website

 

 

Eduard Spelterini (Swiss, 1852-1931)
Über den Wolken (cover)
Brunner & Co. A.G., Zurich
1928

 

 

Swiss balloonist Eduard Spelterini (1852-1931) lived an extraordinary life. Born the son of an innkeeper and beer brewer in a remote village in the Toggenburg area of Switzerland, Spelterini achieved international fame when he became the first aeronaut to fly over the Swiss Alps in 1898. Over the next two decades, Spelterini navigated his balloon through the skies of Europe, Africa, and Asia, and over such sites as the Great Pyramid of Giza and the gold mines of South Africa. Spelterini remains an important figure today because of his achievements in aerial photography. Seeking images to illustrate his lectures, he began taking a camera along with him on his expeditions in 1893, and his breathtaking photographs quickly became the talk of Europe.

Known as the “King of the Air,” the Swiss balloonist Eduard Spelterini enchanted the imaginations of European royalty, military generals, wealthy patrons, and the public alike with his mastery of the most whimsical mode of travel ever invented – the gas balloon. During the course of his storied aviation career, Spelterini flew his balloons over the Swiss Alps, across the Egyptian pyramids, and past the ziggurats of the Middle East, taking breathtaking photographs of landscapes and cities from the sky.

On Spelterini’s first ballooning ventures, he ferried aristocrats between Vienna, Bucharest, Athens, and other European capitals, on flights that became so famous that they were soon jam-packed with an international press corps looking for the next sensational story. Later in his life, Spelterini was the first aeronaut to succeed in the hazardous passage over the Swiss Alps, a trip then thought impossible. Eventually, he decided to bring his camera on every voyage in order to document the full panorama of international vistas he encountered.

Text from Amazon

 

Eduard Spelterini and the Spectacle of Images: The Colored Slides of the Pioneer Balloonist. Verlag Scheidegger and Spiess; Bilingual edition August 15, 2010, presents a selection of around eighty of Spelterini’s never-before-published colored slides, offering readers an altogether new look at the spectacular work of this pioneer of photography and aviation.

Eduard Spelterini – Photographs of a Pioneer Balloonist. Verlag Scheidegger and Spiess; Bilingual edition December 30, 2007 is the first book after 80 years to present these images of his journeys, reproduced directly from the artist’s original glass negatives. Contextualized by essays that explore both Spelterini’s life and his photographic work, the photographs featured in this volume capture the heady mix of danger and discovery that defined the early years of international air travel when balloons ruled the skies.

 

Walter Mittelholzer. 'Alpenflug' Orell Füssli, Zurich/Leipzig 1928

 

Walter Mittelholzer (Swiss, 1894-1937)
Alpenflug (cover)
Orell Füssli, Zurich/Leipzig
1928

 

Jakob Tuggener. 'Fabrik' (cover) Rotapfel Verlag, Erlenbach-Zurich 1943

 

Jakob Tuggener (Swiss, 1904-1988)
Fabrik (cover)
Rotapfel Verlag, Erlenbach-Zurich
1943

 

 

Jakob Tuggener’s Fabrik, published in Zurich in 1943, is a milestone in the history of the photography book. Its 72 images, in the expressionist aesthetic of a silent movie, impart a skeptical view of technological progress: at the time the Swiss military industry was producing weapons for World War II. Tuggener, who was born in 1904, had an uncompromisingly critical view of the military-industrial complex that did not suit his era. His images of rural life and high-society parties had been easy to sell, but Fabrik found no publisher. And when the book did come out, it was not a commercial success. Copies were sold at a loss and some are believed to have been pulped. Now this seminal work, which has since become a sought-after classic, is being reissued with a contemporary afterword. In his lifetime, Tuggener’s work appeared – at Robert Frank’s suggestion – in Edward Steichen’s Post-War European Photography and in The Museum of Modern Art’s seminal exhibition, The Family of Man, in whose catalogue it remains in print. Tuggener’s death in 1988 left an immense catalogue of his life’s work, much of which has yet to be shown: more than 60 maquettes, thousands of photographs, drawings, watercolors, oil paintings and silent films.The Family of Man,

Book description on Amazon. The book has been republished by Steidl in January, 2012. The classics never go out of fashion!

 

Andri Pol. 'Grüezi' Kontrast Verlag, Zurich 2006

 

Andri Pol (Swiss, b. 1961)
Grüezi
Kontrast Verlag, Zurich
2006

 

 

Fotostiftung Schweiz
Grüzenstrasse 45
CH-8400 Winterthur (Zürich)
Phone: +41 52 234 10 30

Opening hours:
Daily 11am – 6pm
Wednesday 11am – 8pm
Closed on Mondays

Fotostiftung Schweiz website

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12
Feb
12

Exhibition: ‘Daniel Meadows: Early Photographic Works’ at the National Science and Media Museum, Bradford

Exhibition dates: 30th September 2011 – 19th February 2012

 

Daniel Meadows. '25th wedding anniversary party. Farnborough Park, Kent. August 1985'

 

Daniel Meadows (British, b. 1952)
25th wedding anniversary party. Farnborough Park, Kent. August 1985
from Suburbia, 1984-1987
Gelatin silver print
© Daniel Meadows

 

 

In the 1970s, Daniel Meadows was at the forefront of the independent photography movement. His practice is complex, passionate and sometimes deeply autobiographical.

Daniel Meadows’ early work broke with tradition and infused the medium with new energies and ways of seeing. Between 1971 and 1987, he produced an astonishing record of urban society in Britain, working in a uniquely collaborative way through his interviews with – and writing about – his subjects.

Text from the National Science and Media Museum website

.
Many thankx to the National Media Museum, Bradford for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image. All pictures are copyright © Daniel Meadows except for the June Street, Salford which is copyright © Daniel Meadows and Martin Parr.

Daniel Meadows: Edited Photographs from the 70s and 80s authored by Val Williams

 

Daniel Meadows and Martin Parr. 'Untitled' from 'June Street, Salford', February-April 1973

 

Daniel Meadows (British, b. 1952) and Martin Parr (British, b. 1952)
Untitled
from June Street, Salford, February-April 1973
Gelatin silver print
© Daniel Meadows and Martin Parr

 

Daniel Meadows (British, b. 1952) and Martin Parr (British, b. 1952) From the series 'June Street, Salford', photographed in Salford 1973

 

Daniel Meadows (British, b. 1952) and Martin Parr (British, b. 1952)
From the series June Street, Salford, photographed in Salford
1973
Gelatin silver print
© Daniel Meadows and Martin Parr

 

Daniel Meadows. 'Brighton, Sussex. May 1974' from 'the Free Photographic Omnibus', 1973-1974

 

Daniel Meadows (British, b. 1952)
Brighton, Sussex. May 1974
from the Free Photographic Omnibus, 1973-1974
Gelatin silver print
© Daniel Meadows

 

Daniel Meadows. 'Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria'. Left: identified as James O'Connor. Right: David Balderstone. November 1974

 

Daniel Meadows (British, b. 1952)
Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria
Left: identified as James O’Connor. Right: David Balderstone
November 1974
from the Free Photographic Omnibus, 1973-1974
Gelatin silver print
© Daniel Meadows

 

Daniel Meadows (British, b. 1952) From 'the Free Photographic Omnibus' portrait series, photographed in Hulme, Manchester 1974

 

Daniel Meadows (British, b. 1952)
From the Free Photographic Omnibus portrait series, photographed in Hulme, Manchester
1974
Gelatin silver print
© Daniel Meadows

 

Daniel Meadows (British, b. 1952) From the series 'National Portraits: Now & Then'

 

Daniel Meadows (British, b. 1952)
From the series National Portraits: Now & Then, mother and son Susie and Peter Gatesy, Brighton, Sussex 1974 and London 2000
Gelatin silver print
© Daniel Meadows

 

Daniel Meadows (British, b. 1952) From the series 'National Portraits: Now & Then'

 

Daniel Meadows (British, b. 1952)
From the series National Portraits: Now & Then, twin brothers Michael (left) and Peter McParland, Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, 1974 and 1995
Gelatin silver print
© Daniel Meadows

 

Daniel Meadows. 'The Free Photographic Omnibus' 1974

 

Daniel Meadows (British, b. 1952)
The Free Photographic Omnibus
1974
from the Free Photographic Omnibus, 1973-1974
© Daniel Meadows

 

Daniel Meadows. 'Untitled' from 'Butlin's Filey, Yorkshire', July-August 1972

 

Daniel Meadows (British, b. 1952)
Untitled
from Butlin’s Filey, Yorkshire, July-August 1972
© Daniel Meadows

 

Daniel Meadows (British, b. 1952) 'The Dome of Fun and Fortune' 1972

 

Daniel Meadows (British, b. 1952)
The Dome of Fun and Fortune
1972
From the series Butlin’s by the Sea, Filey, Yorkshire
© Daniel Meadows

 

 

The National Science and Media Museum presents the first retrospective of the career of Daniel Meadows – photographer, documentarian, digital storyteller and unofficial co-founder of a uniquely British photography movement. Daniel Meadows was one of a group of photographers who spearheaded the independent photography movement in the early 1970s, breaking with tradition and infusing the medium with new energies and ways of seeing. His practice is complex, passionate and sometimes deeply autobiographical.

Between 1971 and 1987, he produced an astonishing record of urban society in Britain, working in a uniquely collaborative way through his interviews with – and writing about – his subjects. Meadows is a documentarist and an exceptional storyteller. He reveals historic and culturally significant aspects of people’s lives, dating from the 1970s to the present day. This exhibition displays photographic works alongside oral testimonies by some of the people featured in the photographs and Digital Stories.

Meadows’ practice developed at Manchester Polythechnic, where he trained alongside fellow photographers Martin Parr, Brian Griffin, Charlie Meecham and Peter Fraser. Together they spearheaded a new documentary movement intent on establishing an independent method for making and disseminating photographs, outside the existing conventions of commercial practitioners and photojournalists. Meadows’ resulting work displays complexity and passion, and confers a personal and sometimes deeply autobiographical imprint. During his career he has produced an astonishing record of urban British society, working in a uniquely collaborative way, through photography, digital stories and recorded interviews, to capture extraordinary aspects of everyday life.

His career began in 1972, when he opened a photographic studio in a former barber’s shop in the Moss Side area of Manchester. The Shop on Greame Street features residents from the district who posed for a portrait which they then received free of charge. None has been previously exhibited, and a selection will be on public display for the first time from October.

Two further early projects are also included in the exhibition, both undertaken in partnership with Martin Parr. June Street, 1973, is an intimate portrayal of working class households in an area of Salford, which have since been demolished. Butlin’s by the Sea, 1972, presents a fascinating record of the holiday camp in Filey, North Yorkshire, just after the heyday of this style of British resort.

In 1973, Meadows, aged 21, also bought a 25-year-old Leyland PD1 double-decker bus for £360.20. He removed the seats to make space for a darkroom and living quarters and named it the Free Photographic Omnibus. He spent 14 months taking his Greame Street studio philosophy of free portraits on tour around England. Original photographs from the journey appear in the retrospective, along with a selection from a follow-up project in which Meadows sought out his Photobus subjects more than 20 years later to re-photograph them for National Portraits: Now and Then, 1995 – 2000.

Other notable works displayed include Decline in the Cotton Industry, 1975 – 1978, Welfare State International, 1976 – 1983, and Nattering in Paradise, 1984 – 1987. The gallery will also screen a selection of Meadows’ Digital Storytelling films. Condensing personal stories into two-minute features of approximately 250 heartfelt words and 12 images, he created “multimedia sonnets from the people”, leading American commentator J.D Lasica to call him “one of the icons of the Digital Storytelling movement.”

This exhibition and the accompanying publication is the product of research by Professor Val Williams as part of an ongoing study into British photography of 1970s and 1980s at the University of the Arts London. It is preceded by the research project, The New British Photography, 1968-1981, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Together Val Williams and Daniel Meadows have brought to light the photographer’s incredible archive of prints and negatives, along with ephemera and audio recordings. They have unearthed unpublished and sometimes forgotten treasures which add to a remarkable document – a dramatic, moving and empathetic evocation of a recognisable, yet increasingly alien era.

Press release from the National Science and Media Museum website

 

 

Daniel Meadows: Early Photographic Work

 

 

Daniel Meadows (British, b. 1952)
Foster mother and children
1972
from the free photographic studio on Greame Street, Moss Side, Manchester, February-April 1972
Gelatin silver print
© Daniel Meadows

 

 

Daniel Meadows (British, b. 1952)
Portrait of Angela Loretta Lindsey, aged 8, with her brother Mark Emanuel Lindsey
1972
from the free photographic studio on Greame Street, Moss Side, Manchester, February-April 1972
Gelatin silver print
© Daniel Meadows

 

 

Daniel Meadows (British, b. 1952)
Hell’s Angels
1972
from the free photographic studio on Greame Street, Moss Side, Manchester, February-April 1972
Gelatin silver print
© Daniel Meadows

 

 

Daniel Meadows (British, b. 1952)
Untitled
1972
from the free photographic studio on Greame Street, Moss Side, Manchester, February-April 1972
Gelatin silver print
© Daniel Meadows

 

Daniel Meadows (British, b. 1952) From 'The Shop on Greame Street' portrait series, Moss Side, Manchester 1972

 

Daniel Meadows (British, b. 1952)
From The Shop on Greame Street portrait series, Moss Side, Manchester
1972
Gelatin silver print
© Daniel Meadows

 

 

National Science and Media Museum
Bradford,
West Yorkshire,
BD1 1NQ

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Sunday 10.00 – 18.00

National Science and Media Museum website

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09
Feb
12

Text/Exhibition: “George Platt Lynes, Minor White and ‘The Temptation of Saint Anthony Is Mirrors’ ” on the exhibition ‘HIDE/SEEK: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture’ at the Brooklyn Museum, New York

Exhibition dates: 18th November 2011 – 12th February 2012

 

Minor White. 'Tom Murphy (San Francisco)' 1948

 

Minor White (American, 1908-1976)
Tom Murphy (San Francisco)
1948
from The Temptation of St Anthony is Mirrors 1948
Gelatin silver print
4 5/8 x 3 5/8 in. (11.7 x 9.2 cm)
The Minor White Archive, Princeton University Art Museum Bequest of Minor White, MWA 48-136
© Trustees of Princeton University

 

 

“The possibility of using our bodies as a possible source of very numerous pleasures is something that is very important. For instance, if you look at the traditional construction of pleasure, you see that bodily pleasure, or pleasures of the flesh, are always drinking, eating and fucking. And that seems to be the limit of the understanding of our bodies, our pleasures ….

It is very interesting to note, for instance, that for centuries people generally, as well as doctors, psychiatrists, and even liberation movements, have always spoken about desire, and never about pleasure. “We have to liberate our desire,” they say. No! We have to create new pleasure. And then maybe desire will follow.” (My bold)

.
Michel Foucault 1

 

 

George Platt Lynes, Minor White and The Temptation of Saint Anthony Is Mirrors

I had the great privilege of visiting The Minor White Archive at Princeton University while I was researching for my PhD. While there I studied the work cards and classic prints of the great photographer, paying particular attention to his photography of the male. What was a great surprise and delight to me were the presence of photographs of explicit sexual acts, men photographed with erections – images that have, to my knowledge, never been published. I don’t think that many people would even know that Minor White took such photographs. Although these images would have never been for public consumption it is still very unusual to find a classical photographer with such a public profile taking photographs of erect penises, especially in the 1940s!

Disturbed by having been in battle in the Second World War and seeing some of his best male friends killed, White’s early photographs of men (in their uniforms) depict the suffering and anguish that the mental and physical stress of war can cause. He was even more upset than most because he was battling his own inner sexual demons at the same time, his shame and disgust at being a homosexual and attracted to men, a difficulty compounded by his religious upbringing. In his photographs White both denied his attraction to men and expressed it. His photographs of the male body are suffused with both sexual mystery and a celebration of his sexuality despite his bouts of guilt. After the war he started to use the normal everyday bodies of his friends to form sequences of photographs, sometimes using the body as a metaphor for the landscape and vice versa. In the above photograph (Tom Murphy, left), based on a religious theme, we see a dismembered hairy body front on, the hands clutching and caressing the body, the lower hand hovering near the exposed genitalia, the upper hand cupping the breast. We see the agony and ecstasy of a homoerotic desire cloaked in a religious theme.

The image comes from the The Temptation of St Anthony is Mirrors (1948), four pages of which can be seen below. While at The Minor White Archive I looked at the only complete, undamaged book in existence. What an experience!

The book has a powerful and intense presence. It was beautifully sequenced as you would expect from Minor White and features photographs of Tom Murphy. There is a series of his hands over the back of a chair in different positions: hanging, curled, splayed, held slightly upwards, and these are paired with photographs of bare feet and turned up jeans, bare feet and rocks, and three other photographs of Tom Murphy. In an excellent paper Cruising and Transcendence in the Photographs of Minor White (Nd. Later published as an online-only feature accompanying Aperture magazine’s Spring 2015 issue, “Queer”), author Kevin Moore observes that the hand-bound volume with images paired on facing pages – “mirrors” to both one another and the artist – is a personal account as well as a meditation on the sins of the flesh.

“Temptation (which was never published or exhibited) begins with a sort of prologue, comprising a single full-length nude of Tom Murphy, White’s student and the model most commonly associated with his work. The pose is similar to those found in the beefcake pictures White was producing at this time: Murphy adopts a classical contrapposto stance and is entirely nude, his pale, wiry body positioned against a dark backdrop. A piece of driftwood at the model’s feet proposes a theme of innocence – man in his natural state. The sequence then moves to pairings of images describing man in his civilized state, featuring several loving close-ups of Murphy’s gesturing hands, a shot of his bare feet, and a single shoulder-length portrait, in which he wears a buttoned shirt and looks intently off to the side. Next, there is an interlude suggesting growing dissolution: an image of Murphy’s feet and a petrified stone is paired with a shot of Murphy in full dress slouched on a mass of rocks and staring vacantly off into the distance. The next pairing [images 9 and 10 below] accelerates the descent into temptation. Here, the pose in a second picture of Murphy’s feet suggests agitation, while a three-quarterlength portrait of Murphy, crouched in the bushes and looking back over his shoulder, is as emblematic an image of cruising as White ever produced. The photographs that follow descend further into lust and self-recrimination, conveyed through photographs in which Murphy’s naked body alternates between expressions of pain and pleasure. The sequence ends with a series of beatific nudes [images 27 and 28 below], which express redemption through nonsexual treatments of the body and in the body’s juxtaposition with natural forms – a return to nature.

White may have thought at first that the sequence format would help him transcend the limits of personal biography, that he could use the breadth and fluidity of the sequence to emphasize a universal narrative while exercising control over the potentially explosive and revealing content of individual images. This proved to be overly optimistic, at least in his earliest uses of the form. White’s colleagues, for example, immediately understood Temptation for what it really was: an agonized portrayal of White’s love for his male student.”

Moore goes on to conclude that White obsfucated his sexuality, displacing gay ‘cruising’ “by a universalized mystical searching – sexual longing setting in motion a heroic search” using photography as his medium, and that his photographs became a dreamscape, perhaps even a dream(e)scape: “in which meanings are obscured, not clarified; signs are effaced, not illuminated; beauty is closeted, not set out for all to see. White was attracted to the ambiguity of the dream because it offered cover and protection but also freedom to maneuver. The dream supported the irrational, maintained a sense of mystery, and beautified frustration.”

I have to disagree with Kevin Moore. Anyone who has seen The Temptation of Saint Anthony Is Mirrors in the flesh (so to speak) can feel the absolute presence of these images, their reality, the connection between image and viewer. Maybe White was a Romantic but he was realistically romantic; his images are not dreamscapes, they offer multiple readings and contexts, insights into the human condition. Even though there was anguish and guilt present about his sexuality, channelled through his photography, anyone bold enough to take photographs of erections in 1940 has some ticker. It takes a clear eye and a courageous heart to do this, knowing what was at stake in this era of sexual repression. Beauty is not closeted here, unless I am looking at different images from Kevin Moore. In fact the magic of the photography of Minor White is his ability to modulate space, to modulate bodies so that they are beautiful, ambiguous and mystical whatever their context. Not everything in this world has to be in your face. Like a Glen Gould playing the Goldberg Variations revelation of beauty takes time, concentration and meditation.

Also, an overriding feeling when viewing the images was one of loneliness, sadness and anguish, for the bodies seemed to be observed and not partaken of, to be unavailable both physically and in a strange way, photographically. For a photographer who prided himself on revealing the spirit within, through photography, these are paradoxical photographs, visually accessible and mysteriously (un)revealing, photographs of a strange and wonderful ambivalence. Two great words: obsfucation, ambivalence. Clouded with mixed feelings and emotions, not necessarily anything to do with sexuality. Not everything has to be about sexuality. It is the difference between imbibing Freud or Jung – personally I prefer the more holistic, more inclusive, more spiritual Jung.

.
And so to the image of George Platt Lynes that I have paired with the nude of Tom Murphy (below).

Platt Lynes was another artist who struggled with is sexuality, but seemingly not to such an extent as Minor White did. GPL worked as a fashion photographer and had his own studio in New York where he photographed dancers, artists and celebrities among others. He undertook a series of mythological photographs on classical themes (which are amazing in composition and feature Surrealist motifs). Privately he photographed male nudes but was reluctant to show them in public for fear of the harm that they could do to his reputation and business with the fashion magazines. Generally his earlier male nude photographs concentrate on the idealised youthful body or ephebe.

As Lynes became more despondent with his career as a fashion photographer his private photographs of male nudes tended to take on a darker and sharper edge. After a period of residence in Hollywood he returned to New York nearly penniless. His style of photographing the male nude underwent a revision. While the photographs of his European colleagues still relied on the sun drenched bodies of young adolescent males evoking memories of classical beauty and the mythology of Ancient Greece the later nudes of Platt Lynes feature a mixture of youthful ephebes and heavier set bodies which appear to be more sexually knowing. The compositional style of dramatically lit photographs of muscular torsos of older men shot in close up (see photograph below for example) were possibly influenced by a number of things – his time in Hollywood with its images of handsome, swash-buckling movie stars with broad chests and magnificent physiques; the images of bodybuilders by physique photographers that George Platt Lynes visited; the fact that his lover George Tichenor had been killed during WWII; and the knowledge that he was penniless and had cancer. There is, I believe, a certain sadness but much inner strength in his later photographs of the male nude that harnesses the inherent sexual power embedded within their subject matter.

When undertaking research into GPL’s photographs at The Kinsey Institute as part of my PhD I noted that most of the photographs had annotations in code on the back of them giving details of age, sexual proclivities of models and what they are prepared to do and where they were found. This information gives a vital social context to GPL’s nude photographs of men and positions them within the moral and ethical framework of the era in which they were made. The strong image (below) is always quoted as an example of GPL’s more direct way of photographing the male nude in the last years of his life. The male is solid, imposing, lit from above, heavy set, powerful, massive. The eyes are almost totally in shadow. Later photos have more chiaroscuro than earlier work, more use of contrasting light (especially down lit or uplit figures) but are they more direct? Yes. The men look straight into camera.

This monumentality of body and form was matched by a new openness in the representation of sexuality. There are intimate photographs of men in what seem to be post-coital revere, in unmade beds, genitalia showing or face down showing their butts off. Some of the faces in these later photographs remain hidden, as though disclosure of identity would be detrimental for fear of persecution. The photograph above is very ‘in your face’ for the conservative time from which it emerges, remembering it was the era of witch hunts against communists and subversives (including homosexuals). Conversely, this photograph is quite restrained compared to the most striking series of GPL’s photographs that I saw at The Kinsey Institute which involves an exploration the male anal area (a photograph from the 1951 series can be found in the book titled ‘George Platt Lynes: Photographs from The Kinsey Institute’). This explicit series features other photographs of the same model – in particular one that depicts the male with his buttocks in the air pulling his arse cheeks apart. After Lynes found out he had cancer he started to send his photographs to the German homoerotic magazine Der Kries under the pseudonym Roberto Rolf, and in the last years of his life he experimented with paper negatives, which made his images of the male body even more grainy and mysterious.

I believe that Lynes understood, intimately, the different physical body types that gay men find desirable and used them in his photographs. He visited Lon of New York (a photographer of beefcake men) in his studio and purchased photographs of bodybuilders for himself, as did the German photographer George Hoyningen-Huene. It is likely that these images of bodybuilders did influence his later compositional style of images of men; it is also possible that he detected the emergence of this iconic male body type as a potent sexual symbol, one that that was becoming more visible and sexually available to gay men.

.
The differences between the White and GPL nudes is instructive. White: introspective, haunted, religious with an unrequited sense of longing – hands clutching self, inward pointing; GPL: more closely cropped, more open, one hand firmly grasping but the other hand open, receptive, presented to the viewer above the available phallic organ. It reminds me for some unknown reason, some quirk of my brain association, of the shell of Botticelli’s Birth of Venus (1486) inverted. There is difference between the two artists – one struggling with his sexuality, being realistically romantic, the other physically doing something about it – posting his photographs to one of the first gay magazines in the world. But both were taking photographs of intimate sexual acts that could never have been published in their lifetimes – that are still are hidden from view today. When, oh when, will someone have the courage to publish this work?

Dr Marcus Bunyan

 

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

1. Gallagher, Bob and Wilson, Alexander. “Sex and the Politics of Identity: An Interview with Michel Foucault,” in Thompson, Mark. Gay Spirit: Myth and Meaning. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1987, p.31.

 

 

Minor White (American, 1908-1976) 'The Temptation of Saint Anthony Is Mirrors' 1948

 

(top)
Minor White (American, 1908-1976)
Images 9 and 10 in the bound sequence The Temptation of Saint Anthony Is Mirrors
1948
9.3 x 11.8 cm; 11.2 x 9.1 cm

(bottom)
Minor White (American, 1908-1976)
Images 27 and 28 in the bound sequence The Temptation of Saint Anthony Is Mirrors
1948. 5.3 x 11.6 cm; 10.6 x 8.9 cm

 

 Minor White. 'Tom Murphy (San Francisco)' 1948  George Platt Lynes. 'Untitled' Nd

 

(left)
Minor White (American, 1908-1976)
Tom Murphy (San Francisco)
1948
from The Temptation of St Anthony is Mirrors 1948
Gelatin silver print
4 5/8 x 3 5/8 in. (11.7 x 9.2 cm)

(right)
George Platt Lynes 
(American, 1907-1955)
Untitled
Nd
Gelatin silver print

 

George Platt Lynes. 'Untitled (Frontal Male Nude)' Nd (early 1950s)

 

George Platt Lynes
Untitled (Frontal Male Nude)
Nd (early 1950s)
Gelatin silver print

 

Thomas Eakins (American, 1844-1916) 'Walt Whitman' (American, 1818-1892) 1891

 

Thomas Eakins (American, 1844-1916)
Walt Whitman (American, 1818-1892)
1891
10.3 x 12.2cm
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institute

 

Charles Demuth. 'Dancing Sailors' 1917

 

Charles Demuth (American, 1883-1935)
Dancing Sailors
1917
Watercolour and pencil on paper
20.3 x 25.4cm
Cleveland Museum of Art, Ohio; Mr and Mrs William H Marlatt Fund

 

George Wesley Bellows (American, 1882-1925) 'Riverfront No.1' 1915

 

George Wesley Bellows (American, 1882-1925)
Riverfront No.1
1915
Oil on canvas
115.3 x 160.3 cm
Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio: Howald Fund Purchase

 

Marsden Hartley (American, 1877-1943) 'Eight Bells Folly: Memorial to Hart Crane' 1933

 

Marsden Hartley (American, 1877-1943)
Eight Bells Folly: Memorial to Hart Crane
1933
Oil on canvas
Gift of Ione and Hudson D. Walker
Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota

 

 

Harold Hart Crane (July 21, 1899 – April 27, 1932) was an American poet. Finding both inspiration and provocation in the poetry of T. S. Eliot, Crane wrote modernist poetry that is difficult, highly stylised, and very ambitious in its scope. In his most ambitious work, The Bridge, Crane sought to write an epic poem in the vein of The Waste Land that expressed something more sincere and optimistic than the ironic despair that Crane found in Eliot’s poetry. In the years following his suicide at the age of 32, Crane has come to be seen as one of the most influential poets of his generation…

Crane visited Mexico in 1931-32 on a Guggenheim Fellowship and his drinking continued as he suffered from bouts of alternating depression and elation … While on board the steamship SS Orizaba enroute to New York, he was beaten after making sexual advances to a male crew member, seeming to confirm his own idea that one could not be happy as a homosexual. Just before noon on April 27, 1932, Hart Crane jumped overboard into the Gulf of Mexico. Although he had been drinking heavily and left no suicide note, witnesses believed his intentions to be suicidal, as several reported that he exclaimed “Goodbye, everybody!” before throwing himself overboard. (The legend among poets is: He walked to the fantail, took off his coat quietly, and jumped.) His body was never recovered. (Wikipedia)

 

Peter Hujar (1937-1987) 'Susan Sontag' (1933-2004) 1975

 

Peter Hujar (American, 1937-1987)
Susan Sontag (American, 1933-2004)
1975
Gelatin silver print
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institute
© Estate of Peter Hujar

 

Keith Haring (American, 1958-1990). 'Unfinished Painting' 1989

 

Keith Haring (American, 1958-1990)
Unfinished Painting
1989
Acrylic on canvas
100.0 x 100.0 cm
Courtesy of Katia Perlstein, Brussels, Belgium
© Keith Haring Foundation

 

David Wojnarowicz. 'A Fire In My Belly' (Film In Progress) (film still), 1986-87

 

David Wojnarowicz (American, 1954-1992)
A Fire In My Belly (Film In Progress) (film still)
1986-87
Super 8mm film
black and white & color (transferred to video)
Courtesy of The Estate of David Wojnarowicz and P.P.O.W Gallery, New York and The Fales Library and Special Collection

 

 

One day before World AIDS Day, the renown painter, photographer, writer, filmmaker, performance artist and activist David Wojnarowicz, who died in 1992 at the age of 37 from AIDS-related complications, has had one of his most important works, A Fire In My Belly, pulled from The Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery’s HIDE / SEEK exhibit because of pressure from conservative politicians and the Catholic League.”

 

 

HIDE/SEEK: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, the first major museum exhibition to explore how gender and sexual identity have shaped the creation of American portraiture, organised by and presented at the National Portrait Gallery last fall, will be on view at the Brooklyn Museum from November 18, 2011, through February 12, 2012. With the cooperation of the National Portrait Gallery, the Brooklyn Museum has reconstituted the exhibition in concert with the Tacoma Art Museum, where it will be on view from March 17 through June 10, 2012.

HIDE/SEEK includes approximately a hundred works in a wide range of media created over the course of one hundred years that reflect a variety of sexual identities and the stories of several generations. Highlighting the influence of gay and lesbian artists, many of whom developed new visual strategies to code and disguise their subjects’ sexual identities as well as their own, HIDE/ SEEK considers such themes as the role of sexual difference in depicting modern Americans, how artists have explored the definition of sexuality and gender, how major themes in modern art – especially abstraction – have been influenced by marginalisation, and how art has reflected society’s changing attitudes.

Announcing the Brooklyn presentation, Museum Director Arnold L. Lehman states, “From the moment I first learned about this extraordinary exhibition in its planning stages, presenting it in Brooklyn has been a priority. It is an important chronicle of a neglected dimension of American art and a brilliant complement and counterpoint to ‘Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties’, a touring exhibition organised by the Brooklyn Museum, also on view this fall.”

In addition to its commentary on a marginalised cultural history, HIDE/ SEEK offers an unprecedented survey of more than a century of American art. Beginning with late nineteenth-century portraits by Thomas Eakins and John Singer Sargent, it includes works from the first half of the 1900s by such masters as Romaine Brooks, George Bellows, Marsden Hartley, and Georgia O’Keeffe; the exhibition continues through the postwar period with works by Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Agnes Martin, and Andy Warhol, and concludes with major works by late twentieth-century artists such as Keith Haring, Glenn Ligon, Nan Goldin, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, and Catherine Opie.

The Brooklyn presentation will feature nearly all of the works included in the National Portrait Gallery exhibition. Among them are rarely seen paintings by Charles Demuth, whose better-known industrialised landscapes are on view in the Brooklyn Museum exhibition Youth and Beauty; a poignant portrait of New Yorker writer Janet Flanner wearing two masks, taken by photographer Bernice Abbott; Andrew Wyeth’s painting of a young neighbour standing nude in a wheat field, much like Botticelli’s Venus emerging from her shell; Robert Mapplethorpe’s photograph riffing on the classic family portrait, in which a leather-clad Brian Ridley is seated on a wingback chair shackled to his whip-wielding partner, Lyle Heeter; and Cass Bird’s photographic portrait of a friend staring out from under a cap emblazoned with the words “I look Just Like My Daddy.” The exhibition will also include David Wojnarowicz’s A Fire in My Belly, an unfinished film the artist created between 1986 and 1987.

Press release from the Brooklyn Museum website

 

Berenice Abbott (1898-1991) 'Janet Flanner' (1892-1978) 1927

 

Berenice Abbott (American, 1898-1991)
Janet Flanner (American, 1892-1978)
1927
Photographic print
23 x 17.3 cm
Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C
C Berenice Abbott / Commerce Graphics Ltd., Inc.

 

Thomas Eakins (American, 1844 -1916) 'Salutat' 1898

 

Thomas Eakins (American, 1844-1916)
Salutat
1898
Oil on canvas
127.0 x 101.6 cm
Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts
Gift of anonymous donor

 

Walker Evans. 'Lincoln Kirstein' 1930

 

Walker Evans (American, 1903-1975)
Lincoln Kirstein (American, 1907-1996)
1930
Gelatin silver print
16.1cm x 11.4cm
The Metropolitan Msuem of Art, Ford Motor Company Collection
© Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

 

Lincoln Edward Kirstein (May 4, 1907 – January 5, 1996) was an American writer, impresario, art connoisseur, philanthropist, and cultural figure in New York City, noted especially as co-founder of the New York City Ballet. He developed and sustained the company with his organising ability and fundraising for more than four decades, serving as the company’s general director from 1946 to 1989. According to the New York Times, he was “an expert in many fields,” organising art exhibits and lecture tours in the same years.

 

Marsden Hartley. 'Painting No. 47, Berlin' 1915

 

Marsden Hartley (American, 1877-1943)
Painting No. 47, Berlin
1915
Oil on canvas
39 7/16 x 32 in. (100.1 x 81.3 cm)
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
Gift of Joseph H. Hirshhorn, 1972

 

George Platt Lynes. 'Marsden Hartley' 1942

 

George Platt Lynes (American, 1907-1955)
Marsden Hartley
1942
Gelatin silver print
23.5 x 19.1 cm
Bates College Museum of Art, Lewiston, ME, Marsden Hartley Memorial Collection
© Estate of George Platt Lynes

 

Beauford Delaney (American, 1901-1979) 'James Baldwin' 1963

 

Beauford Delaney (American, 1901-1979)
James Baldwin
1963
Pastel on paper
64.8 x 49.8 cm
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

 

 

Cass Bird (American, b. 1974)
I Look Just Like My Daddy
2003
C-type print
72.6 x 101.6 cm
Collection of the artist, New York
© Cass Bird

 

 

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Phone: (718) 638-5000

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07
Feb
12

Exhibition: ‘Bernd and Hilla Becher: Mines and Mills – Industrial Landscapes’ at Fotomuseum Winterthur, Zurich

Exhibition dates: 26th November 2011 – 12th February 2012

 

Bernd and Hilla Becher.
 'Grube San Fernando, Herdorf, D' 1961

 

Bernd and Hilla Becher
Grube San Fernando, Herdorf, D
1961
Gelatin-silver print
50 x 60 cm
© Bernd and Hilla Becher / Courtesy of Schirmer/Mosel

 

 

“The pictures were stripped of any artistic frills and reduced to an essentially topographic state, conveying substantial amounts of visual information but eschewing entirely the aspects of beauty, emotion and opinion.”

.
William Jenkins, Curator of the ‘New Topographics’ exhibition, 1975

“The Ruhr Valley, where Becher’s family had worked in the steel and mining industries, was their initial focus. They were fascinated by the similar shapes in which certain buildings were designed. In addition, they were intrigued by the fact that so many of these industrial buildings seemed to have been built with a great deal of attention toward design. Together, the Bechers went out with a large 8 x 10-inch view camera and photographed these buildings from a number of different angles, but always with a straightforward “objective” point of view. They shot only on overcast days, so as to avoid shadows, and early in the morning during the seasons of spring and fall. Objects included barns, water towers, oal tipples, cooling towers, grain elevators, coal bunkers, coke ovens, oil refineries, blast furnaces, gas tanks, storage silos, and warehouses. At each site the Bechers also created overall landscape views of the entire plant, which set the structures in their context and show how they relate to each other.”

.
Wikipedia entry for Bernd and Hilla Becher

“The German artists Bernd and Hilla Becher, who began working together in 1959 and married in 1961, are best known for their “typologies” – grids of black-and-white photographs of variant examples of a single type of industrial structure. To create these works, the artists traveled to large mines and steel mills, and systematically photographed the major structures, such as the winding towers that haul coal and iron ore to the surface and the blast furnaces that transform the ore into metal. The rigorous frontality of the individual images gives them the simplicity of diagrams, while their density of detail offers encyclopedic richness. At each site the Bechers also created overall landscape views of the entire plant, which set the structures in their context and show how they relate to each other. The typologies emulate the clarity of an engineer’s drawing, while the landscapes evoke the experience of a particular place.”

.
Peter Galassi, Chief Curator of Photography, MOMA

 

 

Let’s not beat around the bush. Despite protestations to the contrary (appeals to the objectivity of the image, eschewing entirely the aspects of beauty, emotion and opinion; the rigorous frontality of the individual images giving them the simplicity of diagrams, while their density of detail offers encyclopaedic richness) these are subjective images for all their objective desire. The paradox is the more a photographer strives for objectivity, the more ego drops away, the more the work becomes their own: subjective, beautiful, emotive.

Even though the Bechers’ demonstrate great photographic restraint with regard to documenting the object, the documentary gaze is always corrupted / mutated / distorted by personal interpretation: where to position the camera, what to include or exclude, how to interpret the context of place, how to crop or print the image, and how to display the image, in grids, sequences or singularly. In other words there are always multiple (con)texts to which artists conform or transgress. What makes great photographers, such as Eugène Atget, Walker Evans, August Sander and the Bechers, is the idiosyncratic “nature” of their vision: how Atget places his large view camera – at that particular height and angle to the subject – leaves an indelible feeling that only he could have made that image, to reveal the magic of that space in a photograph. It is their personal, unique thumbprint, recognisable in an instant. So it is with the Bechers.

These are intimate images, a personal reaction to space and place, to being. They make my heart ache for their stillness and ethereal beauty. Bravo!

Dr Marcus Bunyan

.
Many thankx to the Fotomuseum Winterthur, Zurich for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

Bernd and Hilla. 'Becher 
Zeche Germania, Dortmund, D' 1971


 

Bernd and Hilla Becher

Zeche Germania, Dortmund, D
1971
Gelatin-silver print
50 x 60 cm
© Bernd and Hilla Becher / Courtesy of Schirmer/Mosel

 

 

For more than forty years, the photographer couple Bernd (1931-2007) and Hilla Becher (*1934) worked on creating an inventory of industrial architecture. Warehouses, shaft towers, gas tanks, blast furnaces as well as half-timbered houses are among the subjects they photographed throughout Germany, England, France, Central Europe, and the USA. Calling these buildings “anonymous sculptures,” they refer to the artistic quality of the constructions, which played no role for the buildings’ largely unknown builders and users. Their photographs attempt to draw attention to these hidden sculptural qualities and to document them historically as a building tradition in decline.

Bernd and Hilla Becher have always held particular interest for the industrial architecture in the Ruhr region. The exhibition Mines and Mills – Industrial Landscapes systematically examines this aspect of their work for the first time. Even today, names such as the Concordia and Hannibal collieries or Gutehoffnungshütte stand for the industrial history of the Ruhr region. Instead of concentrating on individual buildings, the exhibition approaches the mining facilities (where coal was produced for the smelting works) as a whole and in the context of their urban or natural surroundings. This typology, which the Bechers described as “industrial landscape,” compares the Ruhr region with similar complexes elsewhere in Europe and the USA.

As with their typological multiple and serial views of buildings, Bernd and Hilla Becher strive for a comparative perspective in their industrial landscapes. Demonstrating great photographic restraint in their approach and in the name of a “New Objectivity” dedicated solely to the object, they stand in a long tradition of proponents of the documentary gaze that includes Eugène Atget, Karl Blossfeldt, Walker Evans, Albert Renger-Patzsch and August Sander. Their influence on the history of photography extends from the establishment of the “Dusseldorf School” into the present.

“The main aim of our work is to show that the forms of our time are technical forms, although they did not develop from formal considerations. Just as medieval thought is manifested in the gothic cathedral, our era is revealed in technical buildings and apparatuses,” Bernd and Hilla Becher stated in a conversation from 2005.

The industrial landscapes can be read from historical and social perspectives, to an even greater extent than the familiar photographs of simple building typologies. Next to the monumental, industrial buildings one often sees residential constructions, gardens, and allotment gardens, which convey how intertwined the organisation of life and work was at the time and how deeply rooted people were in this city-like structure. Photographed at waist-height, the broad, open views of the horizontally composed photographs have an aesthetic that is almost atypical of the Bechers. However, the images adhere systematically to the archival thinking of the artist couple.

Press release from the Fotomuseum Winterthur, Zurich website

 

Bernd and Hilla Becher. 'Gutehoffnungshütte, Oberhausen, D' 1963


 

Bernd and Hilla Becher
Gutehoffnungshütte, Oberhausen, D
1963
Gelatin-silver print
50 x 60 cm
© Bernd and Hilla Becher / Courtesy of Schirmer/Mosel

 

Bernd and Hilla Becher.
 'Charleroi-Montignies, B' 1971

 

Bernd and Hilla Becher
Charleroi-Montignies, B
1971
Gelatin-silver print
50 x 60 cm
© Bernd and Hilla Becher / Courtesy of Schirmer/Mosel

 

Bernd and Hilla Becher. 'Duisburg-Huckingen, D' 1970

 

Bernd and Hilla Becher
Duisburg-Huckingen, D
1970
Gelatin-silver print
50 x 60 cm
© Bernd and Hilla Becher / Courtesy of Schirmer/Mosel

 

Bernd und Hilla Becher. 'Zeche Concordia, Oberhausen, D' 1967

 

Bernd und Hilla Becher
Zeche Concordia, Oberhausen, D
1967
Gelatin-silver print
50 x 60 cm
© Bernd und Hilla Becher – Courtesy of Schirmer/Mosel

 

Bernd und Hilla Becher. 'Ensley, Alabama, USA' 1982

 

Bernd und Hilla Becher
Ensley, Alabama, USA
1982
Gelatin-silver print
50 x 60 cm
© Bernd und Hilla Becher – Courtesy of Schirmer/Mosel

 

Bernd und Hilla Becher. 'Hannover Mine 1/2/5, Bochum-Hordel, Ruhr Region, Germany' 1973

 

Bernd und Hilla Becher
Hannover Mine 1/2/5, Bochum-Hordel, Ruhr Region, Germany
1973
Gelatin-silver print
50 x 60 cm
© Bernd und Hilla Becher – Courtesy of Schirmer/Mosel

 

Bernd and Hilla Becher. 'Duisburg-Bruckhausen' 1999

 

Bernd and Hilla Becher
Duisburg-Bruckhausen
1999
Gelatin-silver print
50 x 60 cm
© Bernd und Hilla Becher / Courtesy of Schirmer/Mosel

 

 

Fotomuseum Winterthur
Grüzenstrasse 44 + 45
CH-8400
Winterthur (Zürich)

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Sunday 11am – 6pm
Wednesday 11am – 8pm
Closed on Mondays

Fotomuseum Winterthur website

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04
Feb
12

Exhibition: ‘CLOUD STUDIES – The Scientific View of the Sky’ at Fotomuseum Winterthur, Zurich

Exhibition dates: 26th November 2011 – 12th February 2012

 

 

Wolken im Luftmeer (Clouds in a sea of air) (cover)
1917

 

 

I desire (I feel that is the correct word) to own a copy of the above book. Has anyone got a one for sale?
Please let me know as I would love to own one!

Marcus

.
Many thankx to the Fotomuseum Winterthur, Zurich for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

Unknown photographer.
 'Wolkendecken, die ineinander übergehen. S.-Cu. und S., from: Wolken im Luftmeer' (Merging cloud covers. S.-Cu. and S., from: Clouds in a sea of air)
 Photographs taken by German fighter pilots during WW1, Berlin, 1917

 

Unknown photographer
Wolkendecken, die ineinander übergehen. S.-Cu. und S., from: Wolken im Luftmeer (Merging cloud covers. S.-Cu. and S., from: Clouds in a sea of air)
Photographs taken by German fighter pilots during WW1, Berlin, 1917

 

Unknown photographer.
 'Feine Schäfchen. Ci.-Cu, from: Wolken im Luftmeer' (Delicate fluffy clouds. Ci.-Cu, from: Clouds in a sea of air)
 Photographs taken by German fighter pilots during WW1, Berlin, 1917

 

Unknown photographer
Feine Schäfchen. Ci.-Cu, from: Wolken im Luftmeer (Delicate fluffy clouds. Ci.-Cu, from: Clouds in a sea of air)
Photographs taken by German fighter pilots during WW1, Berlin, 1917

 

Unknown photographer Flying above a sea of clouds - altostratus from an aircraft (Plate Nr. 103 from: Wolken im Luftmeer / Clouds in a sea of air)

 

Unknown photographer
Flying above a sea of clouds – altostratus from an aircraft (Plate Nr. 103 from: Wolken im LuftmeerClouds in a sea of air)
Photographs taken by German fighter pilots during WW1, Berlin, 1917

 

Unknown photographer (Plate Nr. 90 from: Wolken im Luftmeer / Clouds in a sea of air)

 

Unknown photographer
(Plate Nr. 90 from: Wolken im Luftmeer / Clouds in a sea of air)
Photographs taken by German fighter pilots during WW1, Berlin, 1917

 

 

The English pharmacist and meteorologist Luke Howard wrote in 1802 in the preface to his manuscript On the Modification of Clouds: “Clouds are subject to certain distinct modifications, produced by the general causes which affect all the variations of the atmosphere; they are commonly as good visible indicators of the operation of these causes, as is the countenance of the state of a person’s mind or body.” Eighty years later, meteorologists had still not reached a consensus on how to classify, label, and read the forms of clouds. It was during this time that scientists first began using photography to record and measure clouds. With its help, they attempted to gain precise and accurate images that would provide insight on the interplay between clouds and the atmosphere and which could be used to create and convey a classification of cloud forms.

The exhibition CLOUD STUDIES – The Scientific View of the Sky presents six stages of meteorological cloud photography, from its infancy in the 1880s – in Switzerland with the first images by Albert Riggenbach photographed from Mount Säntis – up to the newspaper images in the United States that were captured by the first weather satellites in the 1960s. At the beginning of the 20th century, cloud formations and cloud systems were investigated foremost by the military and led to fundamental insights into interrelated weather situations.

CLOUD STUDIES – The Scientific View of the Sky is a rich collection of photographs, notes, records and atlases from diverse research sources and depicts the origins of contemporary weather forecasting. Each of the six parts of the exhibition represents a different scientific and photographic view of clouds while reflecting on the “history of the gaze” as well as the history of the medium with its various photographic mechanisms and reproductive technologies.

An additional theme running throughout the exhibition is the development of science and its varying ideas about clouds. The protagonists and working methods change over time – from the ambitious, wealthy amateur Ralph Abercromby to the anonymous teams of weather satellite technicians. Whereas Riggenbach still wished to capture images of ideal cloud types, the view of the cloud constellations and their chaotic systems expands with the introduction of film, at the latest, and with the constant recording and measuring capacities of digital cameras, which transmit images to earth, where they are evaluated and publicised.

Conceived by curator Helmut Völter (Leipzig), the exhibition CLOUD STUDIES – The Scientific View of the Sky explores the question as to how all these changes influenced the intentions, concepts, and technical developments associated with images of the clouds. It shows how similar or dissimilar photographs of clouds can be, when photographed according to individual specifications. Ultimately it is left to the viewer to decide if and how scientific cloud photography differs from related and frequently published motifs from the history of art and photography.

Press release from the Fotomuseum Winterthur, Zurich website

 

Masanao Abe.
 'Cloud Film No. 116 b' Gotemba, Japan, 1932


 

Masanao Abe
Cloud Film No. 116 b
Gotemba, Japan, 1932
Filmstill
© Archive Masanao Abe

 

Ralph Abercromby. '
Raggy, Inky Cloud' London, 1884

 

Ralph Abercromby
Raggy, Inky Cloud
London, 1884
Gelatin-silver print
© Met Office National Meteorological Archive

 

Ferdinand Quénisset.
 'Alto-Cumulus et Cirro-Cumulus' Dugny near Paris, 1916

 

Ferdinand Quénisset
Alto-Cumulus et Cirro-Cumulus
Dugny near Paris, 1916
Gelatin-silver print
© Société Astronomique de France

 

'Cloud photo over north midwest United States by Tiros II' 1960


 

Cloud photo over north midwest United States by Tiros II
1960
Gelatin-silver print
© Collection Günter Karl Bose

 

 

Fotomuseum Winterthur
Grüzenstrasse 44 + 45
CH-8400
Winterthur (Zürich)

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Sunday 11 am – 6 pm
Wednesday 11 am – 8 pm
Closed on Mondays

Fotomuseum Winterthur website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, a photographic archive and form of cultural memory, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Dogs, chickens, cattle’ 1994-95

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