Friday, June 29, 2012

Ralph Eugene Meatyard

Ralph Eugene Meatyard... Lucybelle Carter and B.T.F. Friend (c. 1970-72, gelatin silver print). From Ralph Eugene Meatyard at Peter Freeman Inc. "...A unifying concept behind many of the series is 'exactly the right touch of unusual into an authentically banal American usualness,' as poet and close friend of the artist Guy Davenport wrote in 2004. In the influential series The Family Album of Lucybelle Crater, what at first glance could be commonplace family snapshots are transformed by the grotesque masks worn by the subjects. In fact, Meatyard commonly used his family and friends in his compositions. In the Romances series, figures, particularly his children, are set in wooded landscapes and abandoned houses as if on stage; sharing a sense of melancholia with the Lucybelle Crater works, they tempt a yearning to know the story behind the scene, although Meatyard himself never directed the observer how to interpret the images."

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Marguerite Baker Johnson "American Life" (1952-1964)

American Suburb X... Marguerite Baker Johnson "American Life" (1952-1964). "...Marguerite Baker Johnson, a native of Brussels Belgium was a noted female photographer noted as the first woman to take photographs inside the arena at 'Cheyenne Frontier Days', a task formerly conducted by men due to the dangerous setting. Her photos appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Automotive Periodicals, London Times, Daily Mirror, Us Camera Annual, British Photography Yearbook, Popular Photography Annual while her esteemed son’s work appeared in Life Magazine, Fortune Magazine and many advertisements in the 1950s and 1960s. Together their work spans decades 1940s through the 1970s."

The Samurai Trilogy: Musashi Mifune

The Samurai Trilogy: Musashi Mifune by Stephen Prince. "...Hiroshi Inagaki’s The Samurai Trilogy gave Toshiro Mifune one of his most important starring roles, as Musashi Miyamoto, a masterless, wandering samurai whose skill with a sword is so great no one can match him. Musashi is among Japan’s supreme folk heroes, a seventeenth-century warrior whose exploits have inspired books, plays, movies, and television shows. With his power and charisma, Mifune was a natural choice for the role. His career was still in its early years, but he was a bankable and popular Toho star and, with Akira Kurosawa, had found international acclaim with Rashomon (1950). The first film in the trilogy, Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto (1954), inspired two sequels, Samurai II: Duel at Ichijoji Temple (1955) and Samurai III: Duel at Ganryu Island (1956); was a hit at home and overseas, winning the Academy Award for best foreign film; and remains popular and famous to this day. The kind of superswordsman Mifune plays here became an indelible part of his image, inspiring even Kurosawa to tweak it in Yojimbo (1961)."

Chongqing: City of Ambition

Lens Culture... Chongqing: City of Ambition - photographs and text by Ferit Kuyas. "...City of Ambition is a visit to one of the largest and fastest-growing cities in the world, Chongqing, China. The vast cityscapes and sheer dimensions of the city are almost surreal for me. Chongqing was granted municipal status in 1997, rather late compared to Shanghai. But the people of Chongqing are very eager to show the world, and their sister cities in China, how powerful they are. With the booming economy, this has lead to an explosion in city development. Today the municipality is populated by approximately 32 million people." Also... Chinese Smokers at Ferit Kuyas Projects.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Gusmano Cesaretti: East LA Diary

Gusmano Cesaretti: East LA Diary at Anna Kustera Gallery. "...The suite of twenty-four gelatin silver prints created by the artist in the 1970s was recently discovered in his archive and was shown for the first time in Los Angeles. This unforgettable series has come to be known as the East LA Diary. Cesaretti captured slices of subcultures in Los Angeles, from young Chicanos in a graffiti filled world to the burgeoning low-rider and gang scenes. The artist, by gaining the trust of these proud and private individuals, was able to create a time capsule, one that is respectful of differences, nonjudgmental, timeless and striking." More... Works by Gusmano Cesaretti at his personal site.

Helen Levitt: Just Kids

Helen Levitt: Just Kids at Laurence Miller Gallery. "...A selection of color and black & white prints of children, Levitt’s most celebrated subject, presented in recognition of the third anniversary of her death in 2009. The show features prints from the late 1930’s, including the girl bent over a baby carriage while the baby smiles joyously, as well as color dye-transfer prints including a girl crouched spider-like next to a green car at the curb, from 1980."

Mark Steinmetz: Summertime

Mark Steinmetz: Summertime at Charles A. Hartman Fine Art. "...a poignant early body of work by the photographer Mark Steinmetz. The photographs in this exhibition were taken between 1984 and 1991. They were made in Boston and New England, Chicago and rural Illinois, and Knoxville, Tennessee. Like all of Steinmetz's images, they embrace the space between artist and subject with a curiosity that is empathetic and enigmatic."

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Christer Strömholm: Les Amies de Place Blanche

Christer Strömholm: Les Amies de Place Blanche at the ICP in New York. "...Christer Strömholm (1918–2002) was one of the great photographers of the 20th century, but he is little known outside of his native Sweden. This exhibition presents his most powerful and acclaimed body of work: Les Amies de Place Blanche, a documentation of transsexual 'ladies of the night' in Paris in the 1960s. Arriving in Paris in the late 1950s, Strömholm settled in Place Blanche in the heart of the city's red-light district. There, he befriended and photographed young transsexuals struggling to live as women and to raise money for sex-change operations. Strömholm's surprisingly intimate portraits and lush Brassaï-like night scenes form a magnificent, dark, and at times quite moving photo album, a vibrant tribute to these girls, the 'girlfriends of Place Blanche.'"

Photographs by Horacio Coppola

Photographs by Horacio Coppola. "...Horacio Coppola is without a doubt the great master of Argentine photography of the twentieth century, and also the artist who memorialized the Buenos Aires of the thirties, the modern and educated city where the intellectual and artistic vanguards that had originated in contemporary Europe made a significant impact. RIP: Horacio Coppola.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Caged/Uncaged - A Rock / Experimental Homage To John Cage

Joey Ramone... The Wonderful Widow Of Eighteen Springs (.mp3 audio 2:21). From the album Caged/Uncaged - A Rock / Experimental Homage To John Cage (1993, Cramps Records CRSCD097) at UbuWeb Sound.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Storied Past: Four Centuries of French Drawings from the Blanton Museum of Art

Storied Past: Four Centuries of French Drawings from the Blanton Museum of Art at Grey Art Gallery NYU. "...Throughout history, artists have sought new ways to tell stories through visual means. Comprised of works from collections at the Blanton Museum of Art at The University of Texas at Austin, Storied Past presents French perspectives on dramatic narrative from the 16th through 19th centuries. Biblical, historical, mythological, and contemporary characters abound in drawings by artists such as Jacques Callot, François Boucher, Théodore Rousseau, Jean-Louis Forain and Théophile Alexandre Steinlen. Featuring more than fifty works, the exhibition reveals the expressive and technical range of French drawing through preliminary sketches, figure studies, and finished compositions - executed in a variety of media on paper."

Yoshiichi Hara's Mandala Zukan

Japan Exposures... Yoshiichi Hara's Mandala Zukan. "...Mandala Zukan is a thick, square-shaped book, containing exactly 300 black and white photographs. Most of the photographs are in a square format, with 'sloppy borders' to emphasize that we are seeing them full-frame, without cropping. They fill most of the right-hand page, giving them a sense of scale that is nicely counterweighted by the subject matter itself, which is rarely grand. On the left-hand page, there’s an almost completely empty page except for a simple caption denoting the number of the photograph, the city and district where the photograph was taken (in Japanese only), and the year the photo was taken."

Chasing Fury

Chasing Fury - photographs by Camille Seaman at Soulcatcher Studio. "..."The storms we were chasing were Supercells, capable of producing grapefruit sized hail, and spectacular tornadoes; they were 50 miles wide and reached as high as 65,000 ft. into the atmosphere. These clouds were so large that they had the capability of blocking all daylight, making it very dark and ominous standing under them."

Friday, June 08, 2012

Where Did You Sleep Last Night?

Leadbelly... Where Did You Sleep Last Night? (1944, MUSICRAFT 312 .mp3 audio 02:59). Recorded in New York City on February 17, 1944.

La Luz de Jesus Presents Jaime Zacarias aka GERMS: Fasho

La Luz de Jesus Presents Jaime Zacarias aka GERMS: Fasho. "...South Los Angeles native Jaime Zacarias aka GERMS is seemingly infected with an innate ability to channel the spirits of our surrealist predecessors, slapping our eyeballs with his grotesque yet amusing iconography and ameoba like characters while simultaneously referencing post-Chicano culture and imagery. He is known for cleverly stylized Luchador masks given life by their protruding tentacles, surrounded by floating amoebas that playfully flirt with their viewers' imaginations."

André Breton, Paul Éluard & Suzanne Muzard: 33 Collages

André Breton, Paul Éluard & Suzanne Muzard: 33 Collages at Ubu Gallery in New York, NY. "...Never before exhibited in the United States, these collages were originally contained within a spiral-bound sketchbook and were part of Breton's estate, which was dispersed in 2003. Although individual authorship cannot be confirmed for each work, the set is a unique contribution to Surrealism. Figures are in transformative or ambiguous states; disembodied heads, hands and eyes float out from the frames; and symbols of magic and chance are repeated throughout. A prevalent juxtaposing of religious and war imagery emphasizes the wit and mockery typical of the Surrealists."

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Obscure Records (1975-78)

Still more from UbuWeb Sound... Obscure Records (1975-78). "...Obscure Records was a U.K. record label which existed from 1975 to 1978. It was created and run by Brian Eno, who also produced the albums (credited as executive producer in one instance). Ten albums were issued in the series. Most have detailed liner notes on their back covers, analyzing the compositions and providing a biography of the composer, in a format typical of classical music albums, and much of the material can be regarded as 20th century classical music. The label provided a venue for experimental music, and its association with Eno gave increased public exposure to its composers and musicians. In their original editions, all albums used variations of the same cover art of a collage by John Bonis, covered up by an overprinting of black ink. The picture beneath the ink can be seen somewhat clearly under a strong light. Each volume except the seventh has one small window in the black overprint to reveal a different portion of the picture on each album. The red and white label design is a blurred photo that appears to be spires on roofs of buildings."

Saturday, June 02, 2012

The Big Problem ≠ The Solution. The Solution = Let It Be

Crispin Hellion Glover... These Boots Are Made For Walking (.mp3 audio 4:03). From the album The Big Problem ≠ The Solution. The Solution = Let It Be (1989, Restless Records – 7 72316-2) at UbuWeb Sound. "...Sounding like a cross between King Missile and circus music, The Big Problem is one crazy slab of sound. Glover's voice (which has an thin, endearing tremble) serves as the narrator to the world of nonsense he's documented on this album. Occasionally he takes the listener by surprise with a melody. Both the hypnotic 'The New Clean Song' and the soothing 'Never Say Never to Always' are actually pretty good songs hidden among the madness. But mostly he rants and raves in a stream-of-conscious manner over the genre-hopping music. Most of the time this works in his favor; in fact, his Residents-esque cover of 'These Boots Are Made for Walkin'' is a nervy delight."

Friday, June 01, 2012

RIP: Mr. Imagination

RIP: Mr. Imagination. "...The Chicago artist known as 'Mr. Imagination,' who charmed his audience with riotous, joy-filled works made of thousands of bottle caps and found materials, has died in Atlanta."

Fred Stein: Paris / New York

Fred Stein: Paris / New York at Robert Mann Gallery. "...Virtuoso of the Leica, Fred Stein is a largely unsung master of a generation of photographers whose talents were swept across Europe by the dark geopolitical events of the 1930s and 1940s, only to land in the safe haven of New York. Captured with verve and wit, an eye for the poignant as well as the surprising, Stein's images of the urban life and iconic portraits of the luminaries of the 20th century are ripe for rediscovery. With a selection of vintage prints spanning over three decades, Fred Stein: Paris / New York will introduce 21st century audiences to the range of the photographer's work."

Randolph Bezzant Holmes Photographs, 1910-1919

Randolph Bezzant Holmes Photographs, 1910-1919 - Northern India and the North-West Frontier Province at Duke University Libraries. "...British photographer Randolph Bezzant Holmes (1888-1973) learned the art of photography from his father William Dacia Holmes who opened the Holmes Studio in Peshawar in 1889. Randolph Holmes took over the business from his father and operated the studio as Randolph Bezzant Holmes Co. until 1947. He lived in the North-West Frontier Province of British India for over fifty years and travelled extensively throughout the region photographing much of northern India and Central Asia. Many of the detailed landscapes and topographical photographs in this exhibit were taken by Holmes when he accompanied the British colonial army during the Third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919."

The Family

Lens Culture... The Family - photographs by Jocelyn Bain Hogg. "...Gritty, grainy, and up close to an old-school London-based gangster family, the photos in this book document the day-to-day dealings of the Pyles - a tough, proud, criminal family that has been in 'business' for generations. They stare directly into the camera, unthreatened. They snort drugs, whisper secret deals, argue, flirt, run illegal boxing matches, and ham it up at little kids’ birthday parties. They celebrate their victories, intimidate their enemies, talk strategies and alternatives, and look out for each other, no matter what it takes. All in front of the camera, without a care about what is being captured on film." More... Works by Jocelyn Bain Hogg at her personal site.

NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert: Nick Lowe

NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert: Nick Lowe (Flash Video 12:56). The Basher plays Man That I've Become, Rome Wasn't Built In A Day, All Men Are Liars, and House For Sale. Thank you BK.