Fundación Telefónica presents the personal project of one of the greatest creators of the XX century, made of more than 300 painted pictures coming from his personal albums. The show includes images from private collections and from the artist himself on which Richter has worked since 1989 until the present. Gerhard Richter is considered one of the most influential artists of our time without ever having limited himself to one single style. His varied production includes sculptures and paintings that range from landscapes to colourist abstractions and monochromatic greys. Dragging the photos over wet paint, Richter creates new images.
Richter has initiated a fruitful dialogue between painting and photography that has resulted in his painted photographs, small-format images taken during his travels, walks or within his own home. Those images that do not fit within his personal album due to their lack of specificity or focus or for being duplicates are subsequently painted. The images that compose the Overpainted Photographs exhibition come from private collections and the artist’s own collection, and they reflect the intensity and perseverance with which Richter has worked on this project from 1989 to the present day.
Gerhard Richter (Dresden, Germany, 1932) was trained in the Dresden and Dusseldorf art academies and learned photography as a laboratory technician. At the end of the nineteen sixties, he worked together with artists such as Polke and Baselitz, forming what was called Capitalist Realism. Following his first exhibition in 1963, he has received prizes such as the Junger Westen, Arnold Bode and Oskar Kokoschka awards. Furthermore, in 1972 he represented Germany in the Venice Biennale and participated in the Kassel Documentas of 1977, 1982 and 1987. In 2001, the MoMA organised Richter’s first large retrospective Forty Years of Painting.
Telefonica Foundation (Fundación Telefónica)’s Art and Technology website. The Foundation, based in Madrid, Spain, creates exhibitions and manages collections related to media art, cyberculture, contemporary art and telecommunications. The site provides information about: temporary exhibitions, held at the Telefonica Museum and Temporary Exhibition Halls; virtuality and cyber art activities, which include installations, exhibitions, commentary, and competitions; and in-house productions of exhibitions, installations and projects. The site also provides information about its two collections: The Historical-Technological Collection, which traces the “evolution of telecommunications from its origins through to the late 1960’s”; and the art collections, of figurative art and Spanish contemporary art. www.fundacion.telefonica.com/
With SUMO, the Helmut Newton Foundation presents what might just be the most spectacular and expensive photography book project ever. Ten years ago, publisher Benedikt Taschen persuaded Helmut Newton to agree to produce a gigantic book with a print run of 10,000 copies, all signed by the photographer. Accompanied by a custom-made book holder by Philippe Starck, the book found its way into the homes of well-heeled buyers. Now, for the first time, its 394 photographs will go on display to mark the 10th anniversary of a photography publication that today is a much sought-after collector’s item. To accompany this presentation, Taschen will publish a smaller and revised version of the book for the regular book market.
In addition to SUMO, Mark Arbeit, George Holz and Just Loomis will be presented at the Helmut Newton Foundation with their photography under the title “Three boys from Pasadena”. In the late 70s, they were students at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California and later became assistants of Helmut Newton.
In recent years, the photo book has attracted particular appreciation, not least of all through Martin Parr’s “The Photobook: A History” that examines some quite unusual photographic publications. A growing number of collectors have turned to this new field, and some photo books can fetch sums that are dazzling. At photo fairs from Paris to New York, photo book dealers appear in increasing frequency with especially valuable publications in tow.
One of the most outstanding photo books of the last decade is Helmut Newton’s SUMO, which appeared in 1999 in poster format with 464 pages and considerable weight. It was Benedikt Taschen who convinced the photographer to this publishing feat; it proved to be a smash hit. Philippe Starck crafted the metal stand for this extraordinary publication that appeared in an edition of 10,000 copies, all personally signed by Newton. The sales price matches the format and exclusivity of the photo book, and has found its way into the hands of only the best-endowed Newton enthusiasts. The limited availability contributed to the book’s legendary status, the contents remained mostly unknown.
The some 400 photographs in the book, many of which were published here for the first time, capture the essence of Newton’s work. His first and award-winning photo book in 1976, “White Women,” was followed by numerous publications with decidedly descriptive titles, such as 1981’s “Big Nudes,” whose circulation of over 100,000 copies to date has been Newton’s most successful book; or “World Without Men” from 1984. At irregular intervals between 1987 and 1995, Helmut Newton published his own magazine and showcase for his newest images, “Helmut Newton’s Illustrated.”
But it was with SUMO that the Newton/Taschen team topped them all in the field of photo books. Such monumental tomes already existed in the history of books and bookmaking, but these were bibles, books of hours and atlases, followed later – in the second half of the 19th century – by illustrated travelogues with inserts of original large format prints.
This presentation of the corpus of images comprising SUMO traces the book’s unique history. All of the book’s pictures appear 1:1 as framed pages; additionally, there is a selection of original photographs, in black & white and color. Still other prints document the book’s own elaborate production and glamorous presentation. Newton’s fashion and nude photography, portraiture as well as advertising images hang side by side in equal standing. Some of these images can be found in other Newton publications, while others premiered in the book and may only now for the first time be seen on exhibit.
This “best of” selection overlooks not a single aspect of Newton’s opus. His portraits are intensely individual: Debra Winger returns our gaze while her half-hidden face fills the frame; David Bowie stoically bares his chest on the beach at Monte Carlo; and Liz Taylor bathes in the pool for Newton’s camera, a green parrot perched on her finger. Helmut Newton visually escorted the exclusive and eccentric lives of the rich and beautiful including all of its eroticism and gluttony. While doing so, he both served and questioned the clichés at the same time.
In order to understand both his work and the vehement reactions it often evoked, one should try to imagine the cultural tenor and the dominant public conventions at the time of their publication. It is only then that the controversy and provocation of many photographs fully emerges. In the early 1970s for example, his portrayal of two women passionately kissing – the one naked, the other in a tuxedo – was seen as a direct affront on social mores. It is since these times that Helmut Newton became known for his insertion of subtle as well as radical nudity into his fashion and product photography.
Finding the borders and overstepping them belong to the trademark of the photographer who scorns in constant battle the established notions of “good taste”. With his close-up reduction of a black stiletto heel, or the bulging fingers of a woman’s hand reaching greedily for dollar bills, Newton succeeded in producing symbolic images beyond compare. Helmut Newton’s seminal work remains singular and nonpareil. It is at the very latest while perusing SUMO that one realizes just how many icons of photographic history the photographer has indeed created.
As with previous exhibitions at the Helmut Newton Foundation, the work of Newton’s companions will be presented in parallel to SUMO. Mark Arbeit, George Holz and Just Loomis were students at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, when they met Newton in the late 1970s; later they would assist him regularly.
Some of Mark Arbeit’s pictures are formally quite unusual. In his photo-technical experiments with deconstructed Polaroids enlarged onto photo paper, he reveals the other, flip side of the photographic image and its creation. Here and in his collages with African tribal art, Arbeit makes reference to experimental phases in the history of nude photography, for example in Surrealism. In another series, he portrays nudes in Parisian artist ateliers. The painters themselves are absent, represented only through their works on the easels and walls. The nudes in the studio medially paraphrase the paintings through their presence.
In addition to his contract celebrity portraiture that includes the likes of Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Madonna, George Holz also looks to the female form, naked and life-sized, in interiors or natural settings. Some of his more stylized images evoke stills from early Fritz Lang films, while others are strictly unaccessorized – such as his photograph of Rachele, reclining poolside in Hollywood. The reciprocal sexual attraction often evident in his images evokes a pastoral affinity reaching towards a mystical fusion of man and nature. What captures Holz’s eye here is timeless, natural nudity, occasionally cast by refined shadows varying subtly across the body’s surfaces.
Just Loomis opts for a direct and unadorned look at American everyday life. In black & white and color, we see the faces of young waitresses, skateboarders or passers-by looking back at us, uninvolved and unaffected. Independent projects that have emerged from his magazine work in fashion and beauty, such as his documentations of the fashion industry backstage or images from on the road, are now on display at the Helmut Newton Foundation. Hardly anything seems staged – these are intensely visual encounters with strangers. Timeless and yet contemporary, the portraits of Just Loomis play with the beauty and the banality of the moment.
World renown Fashion and editorial photographer Robert Maxwell presents some of his latest work in a feature entitled The Originals. Capturing iconic figures in various fields of art and design, The Originals gives us a look into the minds of Japanese intellectuals: Takashi Murakami, Rinko Kikuchi, Kabuyoshi Araki, Limi and Yohji Yamamoto, Toshio Hara and Verbal & Yoon of Ambush Design. Definitely a very well composed, insightful look into a handful of influential personalities of Japanese heritage. Check it out at The New York Times.
Just Add Water is the first book of large format color photographs by American master Burk Uzzle. A self-described “hard puppy to keep under the porch,” Uzzle created the images in Just Add Water by traveling across the United States with his 8 x 10 camera, capturing the vivid, celebratory, sometimes eccentric personality of the American landscape in the unique style that has become his trademark. This book can be bought from Amazon.
The myth of surfing has done as much to advance the sport as to destroy it. From Gidget to Stussy, each generation of marketers has subsequently sold out the sport to masses yearning for the liquid myth and its resulting treasure chest of youth fantasy. But at its core, surfers understand that the site-specificity of surfing is what needs to be protected—not the resulting myths or fantasies.
While surf photographers focus their lens on the myths of wave riding, bikinis and eternal youth, Moses Berkson covers the improvised secrecy of surfing’s territoriality—the engineering of paths that lead to places where surfers find their oblivion. Not only does he ignore the myth, he completely extracts it from such discourse, leaving only the context of his own experientiality.
A key formal construct inherent in Berkson’s images is his ability to evoke the most ephemeral moments of the environment’s perennially varying qualities of light, thus engaging the viewer to question his own notions of actuality and space as well as universal temporality. By rooting out the myth through the formalism of landscape, Berkson’s work both maintains the self-imposed marginalization of these locations and bypasses the detriment of modern “cultural” branding.
Berkson’s first solo U.S. exhibition, Coastal Access, is a document of the photographer’s ongoing relationship with his home state of California. Recognizing that regionalism is ultimately a socially constructed notion, Berkson incorporates intimations of localism and physiologically recluse spatialities of non-places vis-à-vis emerging contentions of authenticity, artificiality and conflation in his captured moments.
Without disclosing the locations of these elsewheres, he manifests historical apocrypha amidst the proliferating breeds of the feigning and the desiring.
Moses Berkson was born in Bolinas, California. After studying at San Francisco State University, he relocated to New York City where he worked as assistant to photographers Hiro and Craig McDean. In 2003 he exhibited works in Rome, Italy and continues to work around the world. Berkson currently lives in Los Angeles.
The Constant Gallery, an experimental space, focuses on the visual intersections of culture(s) throughout globalization.
The Constant Gallery presents
Coastal Access: Photographs by Moses Berkson
Exhibition Dates: November 1, 2008 through November 29, 2008
Opening Reception: November 1, 6:00 pm-8:00 pm
Location: The Constant Gallery, 2673 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90034
I would have to agree 100% with Wooster Collective here, I am really “diggin” the work of Li Wei. Creating the illusion of dangerous reality makes his imagery really fascinating, almost that the attraction is more the installation than imagery. Check out more here.
The Michael Kohn Gallery is pleased to present “Photographs,” which is an exhibition of Andy Warhol photographs that were taken between 1976 to 1987. Many of you are familiar with his trademark silkscreened paintings, but he also had amazing ability behind the camera. This is the first time for his photographs to be on displayed on the West Coast, so this is certainly a special occasion. 200 black and white photographs have been selected for showing, with all of them being taken during this art legend’s last 10 years. This show will be running through August 22nd.
This exhibition is the first major retrospective of the artist’s work since his death in 2004. After the Louisiana Museum (24 August 2007 to 13 January 2008), it is being presented this summer at the Jeu de Paume Concorde, where it will occupy the entire space. The exhibition brings together 270 works spanning Richard Avedon’s career from 1946 to 2004. There are of course fashion photographs, but above all there are photographs of figures from the worlds of politics, literature, the arts and show business.