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August 23rd, 2013

Crusade for Collecting: A Controversial Experiment Meant to Create New Photo Collectors

Instagram grid by @crusade4art

Instagram images from the @crusade4art Crusade for Collecting organized by Jennifer Schwartz.


Earlier this year Jennifer Schwartz, a gallerist and the founder of the non-profit arts organization Crusade for Art, traveled to cities around the country in an effort to create demand for the work of emerging photographers by encouraging people she met on the street to consider collecting art. Working with five photographers in each of the cities she visited, Schwartz organized street-side exhibitions, asking the photographers to talk with passersby about their work, and to give away signed, non-editioned prints to those who wanted them. The project drew both criticism and skepticism, but it also, Schwartz says, created positive dialogue between artists and would-be collectors.
PDN invited Schwartz to explain the motivation behind the trip and recap her experiences.

Nearly five years ago I began a journey to cultivate audiences for art, specifically the work of emerging photographers. By creating innovative programs that make art immediately and affordably accessible to new audiences, both online and through special events, my goals have been: to promote and develop the careers of talented, emerging, contemporary photographers and to educate and cultivate a new crop of collectors.

Working with emerging photographers, I recognized from the beginning that the challenge is to find an audience for these artists. Too often as gallery owners, we hang the art and then wait for an audience to come. With that in mind, I created Crusade for Art, a non-profit organization dedicated to cultivating demand for art by creating opportunities to introduce new collectors to artists and their work.

In my Atlanta gallery, I have discovered that the most successful programs to get new people interested in art involve meeting the artist and making a personal connection. They give people who have had only a limited relationship with art a unique, fun experience where they engage with photography and the artists in a thoughtful way. These programs also give photographers an opportunity to interact directly with an audience and advocate for themselves and their work.

In April 2013 I took this concept on the road with a special project, the Crusade for Collecting Tour. Traveling to ten cities over the course of three months in a 1977 VW bus (affectionately named Lady Blue and purchased through funds raised on Kickstarter), I staged spontaneous pop-up events to give away original, signed photographs and bring grassroots art appreciation to the streets, moving outside the traditional boundaries of the art world. (more…)

August 23rd, 2013

Fine-Art Photographer Zwelethu Mthethwa Faces Murder Trial August 26

© Aperture/photo by Zwelethu Mthethwa

© Aperture/photo by Zwelethu Mthethwa

Zwelethu Mthethwa, the South African fine-art photographer, will go on trial on Monday, charged with murdering a woman on a street in a suburb of Cape Town, according to South Africa’s Mail & Guardian. Mthethwa was arrested May 5, accused of beating and kicking Noku­phila Kumalo to death. Die Burger, an Afrikaans-language newspaper, reported in June that a man identified as Mthethwa had been caught on closed circuit television on April 13 getting out of his car and repeatedly hitting Kumalo, then kicking her after she fell to the ground.

Mthethwa has denied the charge. He was released on bail following his arrest.

When contacted by PDN, Mthethwa’s US dealer, Jack Shainman Gallery in New York, would not comment on the case.

In an interview with a South African paper in June, Mark Read, director of the Everard Read Gallery in Johannesburg, which represents Mthethwa, said that when he spoke to the artist, he “was keen to say that it will all be sorted out.”

A graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology and the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, Mthethwa has widely exhibited his portraits of black residents of South Africa, including migrant workers, miners and cane farmers. His work was included in the 2005 Venice Biennale, and his first monograph was published by Aperture in 2010, the year a solo exhibition of his work was shown at the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York. In a 2010 interview with PDN, Mthethwa said that in photographing marginalized South Africans in their homes, “I really wanted to empower the people.”

Related Articles
Zwelethu Mthethwa: Color and Commonality

August 14th, 2013

How to Submit a Book Proposal to Gerhard Steidl

Gerhard Steidl (right) and photographer Mitch Epstein. © Torsten Nyström

Gerhard Steidl (right) at work with photographer Mitch Epstein. ©Torsten Nyström

Photographers who have had books published by Gerhard Steidl tell PDN that the process is an unforgettable creative journey with a master printer who spares almost no expense to realize their visions. “Being there in Steidlville is almost a religious experience,” says photographer Christopher Morris, who had a second book published by Steidl last year. “You don’t want it to end.” No wonder Steidl gets 1,200 unsolicited book proposals every year. Gerhard Steidl reviews every one of them, and publishes only the rare few that challenge him politically or intellectually, or that surprise him in some way, as he explains in a profile that is now available at PDNOnline. For those interested in submitting book proposals, one option is to send e-mail directly to gsteidl@steidl.de with the word “Submission” in the subject line. Steidl says it doesn’t matter whether he receives submissions in analog or digital format, but Morris advises, “Definitely do not send anything in digital format. He’s a man who likes to touch things, and look at paper. Scotch tape and photographs on paper is what you need to send him.” For hard copy submissions, the address is: Gerhard Steidl – Druckerei & Verlag GmbH & Co. OHG, Düstere Straße 4 – D-37073 Göttingen, Germany.

Related:
Why Gerhard Steidl Is a Book Publishing Master

August 6th, 2013

Now in Beta: Amazon’s Platform for Selling Fine-Art Prints

Amazon-Fine-Art-Print-Cartier-BressonAmazon, the online retailer, has launched the beta version of its new online marketplace for photographic prints. You can take a look here.

Amazon is currently offering over 5,000 photographic prints on the site. Like other goods that are advertised on the Amazon marketplace, fulfillment is handled by another retailer — in this case, art galleries.  If you’ve ever shopped for a hairdryer or a wristwatch on Amazon, you know how it works: A breakdown of categories and prices appears on the left. Click on “Photographs” and Amazon lets you sort them by medium (C-prints, silver gelatin photographs, archival digital photographs), subject (architecture, nature, fashion, people) and “style,” which Amazon defines by terms such as Art Photography, Digital Art, Modern Art, Postmodern & Contemporary Styles. You can also set the price range you would like to browse.

The highest priced print on the site is a one-of-a-kind print by Dieter Blum; it’s $120,000. The site also offers a set of four images, the 32nd in an edition of 35, by Ed Ruscha; it’s offered for $80,000, and is sold through the Richard Levy Gallery (which is selling 43 images on the site by many photographers including Gregory Crewdson). A $75,000 Julius Shulman on the site and a $50,000 print of Sebastiao Salgado’s image “Bombay, India, (Churchgate Station), 1995″ are being sold through Fahey/Klein Gallery, which has 171 images on Amazon. The edition sizes of the Shulman and the Salgado are not listed. The least expensive prints on the site sell for under $30.

Other photographers whose prints are sold through Amazon include Henri Cartier-Bresson, Mark Laita, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Vik Muniz, Michael Kenna, Julie Blackmon, Harry Benson, William Abranowicz, Camille Seaman and Jennifer Shaw. Among the participating galleries are Modernbook Gallery, Oxenberg Fine Art, Holden Luntz Gallery, RoGallery, Afterimage Gallery and Soulcatcher Studio.

It seems that customers will also be able to post reviews of the works once they’ve bought them.  Are you at all curious to know how the buyer of a Julius Shulman “rates” that purchase? We think we might cringe reading it.

*Photo, above: The Amazon page that displays “On the Banks of the Marne, France” by Henri Cartier-Bresson. Photo © Henri Cartier-Bresson/courtesy Fahey/Klein Gallery.

Related Articles:
How To Sell Your Photos Professionally

A Guide to Pricing Your Prints

August 6th, 2013

Judge Dismisses Privacy Suit Against “Voyeur” Artist Arne Svenson

From "The Neighbors," 2012. ©Arne Svenson

From “The Neighbors,” 2012. ©Arne Svenson

The New York photographer who provoked controversy by photographing his neighbors through their apartment windows and exhibiting the images in a gallery has fended off lawsuit for invasion of privacy.

New York State court judge Judge Eileen  A. Rakower dismissed the claim against photographer Arne Svenson, ruling that the photos in question were protected by the First Amendment. She also ruled that the images did not violate New York State civil rights laws, as the plaintiffs had claimed.

“An artist may create and sell a work of art that resembles an individual without his or her written consent,” Judge Rakower wrote in her decision, underscoring a central principle of the case.

Read the complete story at PDNonline.com.

 

August 1st, 2013

Detroit Native Dave Jordano Uses Street Photography to Counter “Ruin Porn”

 

© Dave Jordano 2013

© Dave Jordano 2013

Photographer Dave Jordano’s three-year project “Detroit–Unbroken Down,” featured in this week’s Time magazine and on a recent post on Time’s Lightbox, represent a return to Jordano’s roots – both personally and professionally. Jordano grew up in Detroit, and he began revisiting it three years ago to document how it had changed since 1977, when he moved to Chicago to launch his commercial photography career. The project also represents a return to the documentary street photography he had done before he began shooting ad campaigns. Almost a decade after he began transitioning from advertising work to fine-art photography, Jordano, 65, has had several projects exhibited and sold prints to several museum collections. But, he says, “This Detroit work is the biggest thing I’ve ever done. I don’t think the project’s finished yet.”

In 2010, Jordano noticed that there were many photo books being published about Detroit, all focused on “abandonment and emptiness.” He says, “The term ‘ruin porn’ was used to describe it.” Jordano still had the street photos he’d shot in Detroit as a photo student in the 1970s, and he decided to try a re-photographing the same streets 35 years later. But the project soon changed course. Over the course of 22 trips in the last three years, he’s started focusing on “portraiture and small moments.” He explains, “There are people living here and they’re stuck here because they can’t afford to leave.” His view of Detroit isn’t rosy. City neighborhoods lack grocery stores, bus service or street lights; calls to 911 take at least an hour to rouse a response. “Anyone there will tell you it’s awful, but this is what they deal with every day” he says. His images capture people managing to survive.

As a native of Detroit, Jordano says, “I was just more emotionally connected to the place than photographers who were just coming in and out, and then posting work that made the whole city look bad.” (more…)

July 31st, 2013

How Not to Schmooze a Gallery Owner

In PDN‘s Fine-Art issue, photographers explain how they met the gallery owners who recently signed them: at portfolio reviews, through referrals from colleagues, and by having their work seen in group shows or competitions. They did not, however, make the mistake of trying to introduce themselves when the gallery owners were preoccupied by trying to sell photos. Gallery owners have said that art fairs and gallery openings are the worst times to hand them business cards or promos.

ArtBusiness.com, the website of an art appraisal and consulting service for artists and collectors, has a new article on the etiquette of attending art openings. It lists “behavioral blunders” artists sometimes make, such as: “Ask the artist to introduce you to the gallery owner,” “Whip out your cell phone and start showing people images of your latest art.” It also lists the blunders the rest of us make. A personal favorite is, “Stand in front of a single piece of art with your friends and talk for half an hour straight without ever moving or even thinking about occasionally checking to see whether you’re blocking anyone’s view.”

We don’t agree that every item on their list is a frequently seen “blunder.” A few are matters of common courtesy rather than some plague on the art world. But it’s a useful reminder that while an opening looks like a party, it’s a professional setting, and impressions count. We can imagine how wider adoption of these tips would give more people at an opening a chance to actually see the art, and maybe get more helpings of the cheese cubes or pretzels, too. The full list can be found here.

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July 1st, 2013

PDN Video Pick: Scott Strazzante on iPhone Street Photography

Chicago Tribune staff photographer Scott Strazzante has built an Instagram following of more than 18,000, and is also author of a popular blog called Shooting from the Hip. He sat down for a video interview with PDN at the Look3 Festival of the Photograph in Charlottesville, Virginia last month to explain the tools and techniques he uses to capture unguarded moments of everyday people on the streets of Chicago, New York and other cities he visits while covering news and sports assignments for the Tribune.

Scott Strazzante on iPhone Street Photography from PDNOnline on Vimeo.

June 27th, 2013

Obituary: Fine-Art Photographer Sarah Charlesworth, 66

© Sarah Charlesworth

“Carnival Ball, 2011″ from “Available Light.” © Sarah Charlesworth/courtesy of Susan Inglett Gallery, NYC.

 

Sarah Charlesworth, a fine-art photographer, teacher and member of The Pictures Generation, died on June 26 in Falls Village, Connecticut, of a cerebral hemorrhage. She was 66 years old.

Charlesworth was born in East Orange, New Jersey, and graduated from Barnard College in 1969 with a Bachelor of Arts in art history. She cofounded the nonprofit art magazine BOMB in 1981, and her work was featured on the cover of its launch issue. She began teaching art and photography in 1983, and has regularly instructed classes at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, Rhode Island School of Design and New York University. Recently, she was appointed a lecturer at Princeton University.

The Baldwin Gallery in Aspen, Colorado, along with the Susan Inglett Gallery in New York City and the Margo Leavin Gallery in Los Angeles, represented Charlesworth in the United States; the Galerie Tanit represented her in Munich. In her current solo show, “Available Light,” which opened at the Baldwin Gallery on June 21, Charlesworth used the sunlight from her studio window and objects, like a crystal ball, a bowl and prisms, to add an element of mystery and illusion to her conceptual, still-life photographs.

Kiki Jai Raj, an associate from the Baldwin Gallery, wrote in an e-mail: “[Charlesworth’s] work, has always embodied, for me, a formal elegance that for all its austerity illuminated the spiritual edge of the great beauty and purity of the scientific properties of light and form in our universe.”

In an Arts & Culture article published in 1999, the Boston Herald noted that Charlesworth’s images “challenge the mind and seduce the eye at the same time.” Her work has appeared in numerous solo and group exhibitions at many notable institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and the Whitney Museum of Arts.

Charlesworth is survived by Lucy Poe and Nick Poe, her two children with filmmaker Amos Poe.

June 18th, 2013

Pop-up Shop Brings Indie Photo Books to Brooklyn Subway Travelers

Photo courtesy ALLDAYEVERYDAY

Photo courtesy ALLDAYEVERYDAY

If you’re riding on the New York City subway and happen to notice photo books and ‘zines replacing iPads or free newspapers in the hands of your fellow passengers, this may be why: This past Saturday a subway newsstand at the Metropolitan Avenue subway station in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, opened as a temporary shop featuring independent photography and art books produced by a handful of well-respected small publishers.

Aptly called The Newsstand, the store is put together by creative firm ALLDAYEVERYDAY in partnership with 8-Ball, a ‘zine fair created by photo editor and curator Lele Saveri.

The shop will be open through July 20th, from 9am-8pm on weekdays and 12pm-5pm on weekends, which is probably a good idea given the level of pawing the books would be subjected to by the Williamsburg weekend night crowd. Participating publishers, artists and bookstores include:

Desert Island books
Dashwood Books
Ed Varie
Jason Polan
Hamburger Eyes
Nowork
Miniature Garden
MOSSLESS
Pau Wau Publications
Peradam
Swill Children
Rumore Nero
Toilet Paper Magazine
Karma
Dan Murphy Zines

The shop also has a selection of magazines put together by McNally Jackson bookstore in Manhattan, and a selection of music from Co-Op 87 record store in Brooklyn.

The Newsstand is accessible by both L and G subway lines.