Summer Seeing: 10 Must-See Photos in September
As mentioned in my first post, this summer I joined Baxter St at CCNY to present a monthly selection of ten not-to-be missed photographs in New York City.
Observing how social movements shape themselves around photography is often rewarding study. This list presents several works linked to modern movements supported by visual shape shifting: Soviet era optic tactics, Japanese avant garde, American experimental culture, Mexican revolutionaries, the aftermath of colonialism, and two first shows by European women in the US.
Images function both within and outside a matrix of contexts, reading photographs requires more and more attention to nuance. What people define as the digital revolution is only a natural continuation of a medium that, despite it’s historical dependence on this word, has never been “fixed.” Contemporary digital imaging has grown from strong conceptual legacies in photography that raises expectations of, and contextualize, our visual potentials.
With so many excellent shows going on this month, I’d like to highlight a few artists/curators part of the CCNY community at large who continue evolving with the social roles within image cultures: “I need my memories. They are my documents” at Sepia EYE, curated by Nandita Raman; Marvin Heiferman organized an excellent show closing this week, “Watching You, Watching Me;” Nona Faustine has an upcoming exhibition and panel discussion this weekend, co-curated by Qiana Mestrich; Christian Erroi has an upcoming show at Duvernois Gallery.
Much to see and explore.
Hope you enjoyed this “Top 10” monthly series!
Yakov Khalip, Large-Bore Cannon, Baltic Fleet, 1935.
Currently showing in the “Soviet Photography 1920s-1930s” group show at Nailya Alexander Gallery.
September 9 –October 30, 2015
Artists in the 1920s were still processing ideas from the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, maintaining that a new era required new ways of seeing, new tools, new constructions.
Hiroshi Yamazaki, Heliography, 1978.
Currently showing in the “Experiments in Japanese Art and Photography, 1968-1979” group show at Grey Art Gallery.
September 11 –December 5, 2015
A not-t0-be-missed exhibition in general, Yamazaki’s series of photographs of the sun’s travel are a luminous treat. As we prepare for the upcoming Supermoon Eclipse that will most likely dominate our social media feeds, it’s a good time to experience how pre-digital photography recorded such events.
Yola Monakhov Stockton, Untitled (Post-Photography)[P93], 2015
Currently showing Rick Wester Fine Art.
September 12 –October 24, 2015
Fusing the dominant subject matter present in the last two photographs (disorienting space, travel around the globe), Monakhov Stockton shows us the strange orbit of pinhole photographs made en route, from photo boxes mailed to herself.
Anne Schwalbe, See/Lake, 2008.
Currently showing in “The Life Within” at L. Parker Stephenson
July 1 – September 12, 2015
The first solo show of this German photographer who makes their own C prints.
Juan Guzmán. Frida holding a mirror in the hospital, ca.1951
Currently showing in the “Frida Kahlo, Mirror Mirror…” show at Throckmorton Fine Art.
Closes September 19th.
Combined with a small exhibition of Kahlo’s paintings at the Haupt Conservatory of the New York Botanical Garden, New York City art goers can now examine the importance of mirrors in Kahlo’s process: From seeing her representation in photographs by her father to relying on mirrors as a tool for painting. Notably absent in both shows are images by photographer Tina Modotti.
Joseph Modica, A Night at Danceteria (Ethyl Eichelberger, Keith Haring, Cookie Mueller & John Sex), 1984.
Currently showing in the “Party Out Of Bounds: Nightlife As Activism Since 1980” group show at La Mama Galleria.
September 18–October 10, 2015
Not quite holding court from the bed as Kahlo was known to do, Modica’s photograph of Ethyl Eichelberger at Danceteria registers the heightened emotions of a time when nightlife in the East Village belonged to artists and friends, famous or not, who knew how make an art event also a site for political awareness—social media experts, do take note! As the next artist, Bill Beckley, said: “We didn’t call it ‘Soho’ it was just ‘downtown’.”
Bill Beckley, Deirdre’s Lips, 1978.
Currently showing in Beckley’s solo show “The Accidental Poet (The Avoidance of Everything)
Bill Beckley—1968-1978” at Albertz Benda.
September 10 – October 3, 2015
Beckley has been engaging conceptually with photography, and through impeccable mastery of color, since the late sixties. Seeing this show in relation to #2 on this very list, “Experiments in Japanese Art and Photography, 1968-1979” shows us a variety of experimentation when photography as an art form wasn’t yet institutionally considered an art form.
Helen Keller at home in Forrest Hills, circa 1920s. Courtesy of the American Foundation for the Blind.
Currently shown in the group show “Leading the Way: Six Outstanding Women of Queens” at Queens Historical Society.
Closes May 2016.
Found in a small exhibition big on community engagement, Keller’s gesture demonstrates the importance of touch as another form of seeing, reading, and communicating.
Delphine Burtin, Encouble.
Currently showing at Benrubi Gallery.
September 10 – October 24, 2015
The first solo show of a Swiss photographer continuing in the photographic tradition of abandoning expected perceptions of physical space.
Ractliffe’s continued engagement with Angola’s post-colonial complexity has led to a body of work focused on restoring “a place for memory” in sites marked by conflict, erasure, and displacement. Photographs from this series are featured in the South African pavilion of this year’s Venice Biennale.
Grey Art Gallery, 100 Washington Square East, New York, NY
La Mama Galleria, 47 Great Jones Street, New York, NY
Albertz Benda, 516 West 26th Street, New York, NY
Benrubi Gallery, 521 West 26th Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY
Rick Wester Fine Art, 526 West 26th Street, Suite 417, New York, NY
Nailya Alexander Gallery, 41 E 57th Street, Suite 704, New York, NY
Throckmorton Fine Art, 145 East 57th Street, 3RD floor, New York, NY
L. Parker Stephenson, 764 Madison Ave #4f, New York, NY
Queens Historical Society, 143-35 37th Avenue, Flushing, New York
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue (at 82nd Street), New York, NY