Tag Archive | photographer

Exhibits By Julie Blackmon and Ellen von Unwerth at Fotografiska

30 Years of Photographing Women Ellen von Unwerth By Gail Worley
Image from Ellen von Unwerth’s Devotion! 30 Years of Photographing Women (All Photos By Gail)

If you live in the tri-state area and are on Instagram or FaceBook for even a few minutes a day, there is very little chance that you have not at least heard the name Fotografiska. Viral marketing ads for the NYC branch of this museum dedicated to modern photography were plastered all over social media for months prior to its opening to the public on December 14th, 2019. The cryptic ads featured dark, purple-shadowed images of the seven-story Gothic structure (built in 1892) housing the museum, which made it seem very mysterious and alluring. Everyone wanted to know: What the Hell is Fotografiska? Some people still can’t figure it out.

I finally had a chance to visit Fotografiska on March 5th, when I was invited to attend the opening reception for an exhibit by Julie Blackmon entitled Fever Dreams. One week after my visit, Fotografiska was forced to temporarily close its doors in compliance with New York State’s shelter-in-place order in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Elevator Image Fotografiska By Gail Worley
Image By Ellen von Unwerth Inside an Elevator at Fotografiska

My original plan had been to post a review of the Julie Blackmon exhibit in mid-March, to coincided with the celebration of National Women’s Month. But like so many of us on the planet, my life is completely different now than it was three or four weeks ago, so that did not happen. An up-side of being stuck in the house without the ability to visit an art gallery, or museum or cultural institution of any kind is that I get to bring you my take on Art in the Time of Covid right here on The Gig. Even though you cannot currently visit these exhibits in person, you can ‘Live Through Me’ and enjoy the photos vicariously. I hope this post will give you a sweet taste of what’s inside Fotografiska that will get you excited to check out the place once it reopens. Better late than never.

Julie Blackmon Fever Dreams Photo By Gail Worley

This was my first ‘exposure,’ so to speak, to Julie Blackmon’s work, but I immediately fell in love with her hyper-realist style. Fever Dreams is a collection of images that brim with fantasy and subtle satire, capturing a delicate balance between the darkness and charm of contemporary American life. It’s not unusual for a gallery to stage an exhibit in dim lighting, but this one is designed to be viewed almost completely in the dark, save for a bit of light bleeding in from an adjacent gallery, and dedicated spotlights focused on each work. While the lack of lighting presented a challenge in capturing decent images of the photos, it definitely set an important mood, which enhanced the viewing experience.

Dandelion Puff By Gail Worley

Adding to the surreal vibe of Fever Dreams was the wall-to-wall astroturf covering the gallery floors, which included this singular artificial Dandelion Puff. You will understand in a minute why it was helpful to feel like you were standing in someone’s backyard.

Backyard Trailer Photo By Gail Worley

The playfully artful and chaotic nature present in the photographs of Julie Blackmon (b. 1966)  are drawn from the everyday people and places that have shaped the artist’s life. These are the familiar and ordinary scenes of Blackmon’s daily routine in her hometown of Springfield, Missouri, which she describes as “the generic American town” in the middle of the United States.

Fever Dreams By Julie Blackmon Photograph By Gail Worley

Her scenes are often centered around children on their own in backyards, garages and neighborhoods where the absence of adults alludes to a looming potential for danger. Her photographs, otherwise innocuous domestic tableaux, are woven with fantasy and subtle satire that reflect a delicate balance between the darkness and charm of contemporary American life in suburbia.

Fever Dreams By Julie Blackmon Photo By Gail Worley

One my favorite photos in the collection is this scene of children watching a screening of The Sound Of Music in a backyard. To me, it has an almost post-apocalyptic feel. Blackmon carefully sets her scenes, and like film and theater directors, she is in pursuit of unscripted moments that provoke, disturb, and challenged the viewer. Some of the images reference paintings by Dutch Masters, French impressionist, and modernists such as Edward Hopper and Balthus, but they are updated with a satirical, penetrating eye and Blackmon’s belief that artful fiction can capture the truth more memorably than the truth itself.

Fever Dreams By Julie Blackmon Photo By Gail Worley

Speaking  of her work, Blackmon explains, “I suppose I could make a work where everything’s just perfect, where the sun is shining and mom is lying out in the grass and everything’s happening perfectly and the kids are happy . . . but that wouldn’t interest me — and it wouldn’t be truthful. My aim is to create a more nuanced, subtly humorous and satirical portrait of the way we live today.”

Fever Dreams By Julie Blackmon Photo By Gail Worley

Fever Dreams presents a selection of photographs from Blackmon’s Homegrown series as well as more recent works. It’s a fantastic exhibit and I hope its tenure at Fotografiska can be extended so that more people get to see it.

Story Continues, With More Photos, After the Jump! Continue reading

RIP NYC Gallerist Paul Kasmin

Claude LaLanne Apple Photo By Gail
Apple Sculpture By Claude LaLanne Photogpraphed at Paul Kasmin Gallery By Gail in January 2019

They say that celebrity deaths come in threes. This past week we said goodbye to playwright Terrence McNally, legendary Drummer Bill Rieflin and, on a local scale, NYC Gallerist and Photographer Paul Kasmin, whose renowned Chelsea galleries have provided Worleygig.com with amazing content for more than a decade. Having celebrated his 60th birthday in February, Kasmin was just one year older than me. Mark Ryden, Nir Hod, Will Ryman, Ian Davenport, Erik Parker, Ron Arad, Designer Mattia Bonetti, husband and wife artist team Les Lalannes, and Photographer David La Chapelle are just few of the eye-opening talents I was introduced to at various Kasmin Gallery shows. Geoffrey I had so many good times there.

Getty Sheep Station By Francois Lalanne 2013 Photo By Gail Worley
Getty Sheep Station By Francois Lalanne, September 2013

What follows is the gallery’s official statement on Paul’s passing:

It is with great sadness that we must give news of the loss of Paul Kasmin (19602020). Paul passed away early this morning, March 23, after a long period of illness.

Opening his first New York gallery in 1989, Paul devoted himself to a life celebrating art and artists. Those of us who have worked with Paul learned from his extraordinary eye for talent, his delight in the work of the artists he loved, and his rare sense of openness and generosity.

Paul took great pleasure in overseeing all aspects of the gallery until the very end, and it was his sincere wish, and in his plans, that his vision for Kasmin continue as ambitiously as ever.

In the last few years, Paul continued his lifelong passion for photography with renewed enthusiasm. Taking pictures of his family, friends, and the gallery artists and staff, he built a collective portrait of his artistic community. We invite you to view these works on our website, reflecting on the enormous contribution that Paul made to the arts during his lifetime.

Selections from Paul Kasmin’s photography portfolio can be viewed now via the Kasmin Gallery website at This Link. Thank you for all the great art, Paul, and Rest in Peace.

Public Art Fund Presents Farah Al Qasimi’s Back and Forth Disco

Back and Forth Disco Photo By Gail Worley
Bodega Chandelier, Manhattan Location on Avenue A Between 5th and 6th Streets (Photos By Gail)

If you’re a NYC resident who likes to ‘get your steps in’ by exploring neighborhoods both new and familiar, here’s a Street Art Safari that you can participate in whether you live in Manhattan, Brooklyn or Queens! Back and Forth Disco is an exhibition of newly-commissioned photographs by Farah Al Qasimi (b. 1991 Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates) that celebrate individuality and the aesthetic choices that make spaces and surroundings uniquely personal.

Grace Beauty Salon Photo By Gail Worley
Grace Beauty Salon, Ave C between E 5th St and E 6th St, Manhattan

The 17 photographs in this new body of work isolate and highlight the beauty of seemingly inconspicuous moments amidst New York City’s visual and audible noise. Presented on 100 bus shelters across the five boroughs, the larger than life photographs are inserted into the paths of New York City commuters at eye level. Works are sited in clusters in over 18 neighborhoods to give the public an opportunity to see multiple photographs within walking or bus route distance. The bus shelters — platforms traditionally used for advertising — bring together images of people, street scenes, interiors, and surfaces to explore the experience of being an individual in a hyper-stimulating city.

Ceiling Mirror
Ceiling Mirror, Grand St between Pitt St and Ridge St, Manhattan

The artist has developed a photographic style that reads distinctly as her own, yet is continuously evolving. Over a month-long period in fall 2019, for the first time, Al Qasimi took New York City as her subject, primarily focusing on local communities where small businesses thrive. She has photographed neighborhood stores, barbershops, streets, and homes from Astoria, Queens to Chinatown, Manhattan to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Drawn to the idea of visual excess, rich textures, and brightly saturated colors—familiar to her from growing up in the Emirates — Al Qasimi captures vibrant instances of self-expression. The works highlight individual style and cultural traditions that break through the chaos and anonymity of the city.

Back and Forth Disco Photo By Gail Worley
Bodega Chandelier, Detail

Central to Bodega Chandelier is an elaborate crystal light fixture that dominates the ceiling of a Yemeni-owned bodega in Ridgewood, Queens, dwarfing the products on display. In Parked Car, garlands of artificial flowers from an Indian wedding decorate a polished gray car in Al Qasimi’s neighborhood.

Parked Car
Parked Car, Delancey St between Lewis St and Columbia St, Manhattan

Al Qasimi’s portraiture challenges traditional ideas associated with figuration by utilizing elements of camouflage, concealment, and revelation. Her process is both spontaneous and deliberate. She photographs friends and strangers alike, often returning to familiar places repeatedly or recreating moments she has seen in public space in more controlled environments. Her enigmatic portraits demonstrate her approach to the genre: the faces of her subjects are partially obstructed or altogether absent, while their vitality is instead accentuated through garments, hairstyles, and poses.

Woman in Leopard Print By Gail Worley
Woman in Leopard Print, Ave C between E 5th St and E 6th St, Manhattan

In Woman in Leopard Print, a single eye is revealed through a reflection in a compact mirror as the woman in a leopard-print headscarf studies herself. In Coco, a cockatoo who resides at a curtain store in Ridgewood, Queens is paid a visit by regulars in the neighborhood. A young boy looks at the bird but his eyes are hidden by his mother’s extended arm, allowing other features — such as the woman’s bright red nails — to become the focal point.

Bakery Window
Bakery Window, Grand St between Jackson St and Columbia St, Manhattan

The photographs in Back and Forth Disco aim to draw out expressive details that spark recognition within communities. Acts of adornment, both to oneself and to the city, highlight the idiosyncrasies and beauty in environments that are often overlooked.

Bleached Sign By Gail Worley
Bleached Sign, Grand St between Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive and Lewis St, Manhattan

Back And Forth Disco Is On View Through May 17th, 2020. Visit This Link For a Map of All Locations.

Woman on Phone By Gail Worley
Woman on Phone, E Houston between 2nd Ave and Bowery, Manhattan

Dollar Store Photo By Gail Worley

Dollar Story (Flipside of  Grace Beauty Salon), Ave C between E 5th St and E 6th St, Manhattan

Stewart Studio Graffiti Door

Stewart Studio Graffiti Door
All Photos By Gail

Vision or vandalism? New Yorkers had different reactions to the “tags” scrawled on subway trains in the 1970s. Many saw them as a sign of urban blight. Artist and photographer Jack Stewart saw them as a new American Art Form.

Stewart Studio Graffiti Door

Stewart befriended many of the young graffiti writers, who by 1973 gathered regularly in his studio. Recognizing their irrepressible urge to mark every surface, he offered the inside of his bathroom door as a canvas, with the understanding that they would leave the rest of his studio untouched.

Stewart Studio Graffiti Door Detail

Stewart Studio Graffiti Door, Details

Stewart Studio Graffiti Door Detail

Stewart Studio Graffiti Door Detail

The door is a remarkable relic of 1970s New York City.

A Gift of Regina Serniak Stewart, the Stewart Studio Graffiti Door was Photographed in the New York Historical Society in NYC.

Stewart Studio Graffiti Door

Modern Art Monday Presents: Aïda Muluneh, All In One

All In One
Photo By Gail

In Aïda Muluneh’s photograph All In One (2016), a single figure embodies multiplicity through the addition of extra hands of different hues. Muluneh’s use of colorful makeup is inspired by body art from across Africa and allows her to physically construct a character out of her model. After living around the world, Muluneh (b. 1974) returned to her homeland of Ethiopia, where she founded the Addis Foto Fest, the first international festival in Africa. Though she was born in Ethiopia, she has sometimes felt like a outsider due to many years spent elsewhere. Her photographs, such as this one, bear the influence of that complicated experience, and are drawn from her series The World is 9, which is named after a saying  of her Grandmother’s: “The World is nine; it is never complete and it’s never perfect.” With this series, the artist also recognizes the capacity of photography to convey the multiplicity inherent in any individual.

Photographed as part of the Exhibit Being: New Photography, Up Through August 19th, 2018 at the Museum of Modern Art, NYC.

Eye On Design: Wolf Kahan Tuxedo Owned By Adolf De Meyer

Adolph De Meyer Tuxedo
Photos By Gail

A member of the “international set” in fin-de-siècle Europe, Baron Adolf de Meyer (1868–1946) was also a pioneering photographer, known for creating works that transformed reality into a beautiful fantasy. De Meyer likely acquired this tuxedo from the venerable tailor Wolf Kahan during a visit to Vienna. Kahan’s shop, designed by the modernist architect Adolf Loos, catered to the city’s leading artists. The tailor’s son Louis worked from 1925 to 1927 as a designer for the Paris couturier Paul Poiret, whose collections De Meyer photographed.

De Meyer was considered an arbiter of style; he wrote columns for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar that instructed American women on the latest European trends in fashion and interior decoration. His columns  also offered tips on hostess etiquette and entertaining. For a time, De Meyer produced his own couture line, Gayne House, sold through his New York shop, Zarah.

Adolph De Meyer Tuxedo
Wolf Kahan Tuxedo Circa 1930. Jacket and Trousers: Black Wool Broadcloth and Silk Satin
Vest: Black Wool Twill, Rayon Grosgrain, and Silk Plain Weave

Photographed as Part of the Exhibit, Quicksilver Brilliance: Adolf De Meyer Photographs, on View Through April 8th, 2018 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.

Yes, It Exists: Place Setting Place Mats By Stephen Shore

Place Mats by Steven Shore
All Photos By Gail

The International Center of Photography in New York sold these Bob’s Your Uncle disposable placemats, featuring photographer Stephen Shore’s images of food and plates, in 2007, when the institution hosted a survey of Shore’s work that had toured throughout Europe and the US.

Photographed as Part of the Stephen Shore Career Retrospective, on Exhibit Through May 28th, 2018 at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

Place Mats by Steven Shore

William Eggleston’s The Democratic Forest at David Zwirner

Red Diner
All Photos By Gail

David Zwirner Gallery is currently hosting its first exhibition with William Eggleston since having announced the gallery’s exclusive worldwide representation of the artist. On view at the space on West 20th Street in New York are works from Eggleston’s monumental project The Democratic Forest.

Two Cars

Over the course of nearly six decades, Eggleston has established a singular pictorial style that deftly combines vernacular subject matter with an innate and sophisticated understanding of color, form, and composition. His photographs transform the ordinary into distinctive, poetic images that eschew fixed meaning.

Room Interior with Viewer

His 1976 solo exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, curated by John Szarkowski, marked the first presentation of color photography at the museum. Although initially criticized for its unfamiliar approach, the show and its accompanying catalogue, William Eggleston’s Guide, heralded an important moment in the medium’s acceptance within the art historical canon, and it solidified the artist’s position as one of its foremost practitioners to this date. Eggleston’s work continues to exert an influence on contemporary visual culture at large.

Pool

The Democratic Forest is among Eggleston’s most ambitious projects and a prime example of his uniquely recognizable aesthetic. Likened to an epic journey or an enduring narrative, it comprises a careful selection of works from over ten thousand negatives he took in the mid-1980s across the southern and eastern parts of America and in several European countries.

Road

These low profile casters of rural back roads, industrial and residential environs, architectural details, restaurant interiors, and parking lots, among other locales, eluded the conventions of both reportage and the black-and-white art photography practiced by many of the artist’s peers at the time, and instead shaped their own definition of what a photographic image could be—intuitive and charged with imaginative possibilities.

Cars with Viewer

Palm Tree

Collectively, the project echoes Eggleston’s predilection for the “democratic” vision of the camera, able to render equally what is in front of the lens.

Blue Picnic Table

The show will include over forty works from The Democratic Forest, the majority of which have not been exhibited previously. Although taken thirty years ago, the photographs appear to cast their subjects in a timeless light.

Diner Table

As the art historian Alexander Nemerov writes in a new catalogue published by David Zwirner Books/Steidl on the occasion of the show:

Eggleston’s work—the great flow of it— feels…impelled by the world. It feels, to put it another way, pulled along by the world, by things outside the artist, rather than compelled by something inside him….[O]ne feels him being borne along by a current… [T]he current [he] rides along is simply the proliferation of scenes — the great panoramic film strip of it, never ending in its flow of gas stations and horse buggies and parking lots and roadside trees and filigreed urns stamped in tin. But more than that…there is the feeling that the infiniteness of the world, the sheer extent of it, is its own kind of eternity.

Car Wash

William Eggleston was born in 1939 in Memphis, Tennessee, where he continues to live today.

William Eggleston Signage

William Eggleston’s The Democratic Forest will be on Exhibit Through December 17th, 2016 at David Zwirner Gallery, Located at 537 West 20th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.

Pink Snack Bar

Limited Runs Presents the Marilyn Monroe Red Velvet Collection

Marilyn Monroe Red Velvet Series
Marilyn Monroe Red Velvet Series By Tom Kelley, 1949 (All Post Photos By Gail)

There would probably be little argument that Marilyn Monroe is the most legendary and iconic Hollywood Movie Star to have ever lived. Countless contemporary artists — from Andy Warhol to Ron English, Ad Infinitum — have captured and re-appropriated her likeness into their own works, and her image still turns heads wherever it appears. While she did not have a long life, she certainly has achieved immortality in a sense. Limited Runs, a company that specializes in Classic Hollywood and other Fine Art Photography has just released the Marilyn Monroe Red Velvet Collection, which  features her famous nude shots circa 1949 that originally appeared on promotional calendars. Now you can all own prints of these gorgeous photographs that were at one time so controversial, they had to be “dressed” in superimposed lingerie in order to be sent through the mail.

Marilyn Monroe Red Velvet Series Calendar

Above is an example one of these calendars, where Monroe’s breasts have been blocked out to avoid being labeled as pornography — pretty hilarious when you consider the types of fashion photography and figure modeling that has become acceptable, and even mainstream, in the past 70 or so years. One of the Red Velvet poses made her the first Playboy Sweetheart — the prototype for the centerfold-featured Playmates who would follow in years to come.

I had the chance to see this series in person at a reception held by the 360 Design Gallery in Tribeca, where they were on view for only two days as part of a 2015 Summer Tour, which traveled to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Chicago and finally New York.   It’s easy to forget how stunning and arguably perfect-looking Monroe  was a until you see photos like this and remember that she was really and truly an original.

Marilyn Monroe By Gene Lester

The series  is also features a number of candid shots of Monroe, such as these captured in 1954 by photographer Gene Lester while she was on a cigarette break during filming of one of her movies.

Marilyn Monroe By Gene Lester

Marilyn Monroe By Gene Lester

This one, which captures multiple reflections, is really fantastic.

Marilyn Monroe Birthday Cake 1960

Marilyn Monroe, Birthday Cake, 1960 (Photographer Unknown)

This one is also amazing.

Marilyn Monroe Jane Russell Howard Hawks

Here she is with co-star  Jane Russell and Director Howard Hawks during the filming of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in 1953.

See the full collection and buy online at Limited Runs Dot Com.

Ken Regan’s Uncovered at Morrison Hotel Gallery

The Beatles
All Photos By Gail

It’s been a while (i.e. way too long) since we had the chance to stop by an opening reception at Morrison Hotel Gallery on Prince Street in Soho. Fortunately, we remedied that situation by hitting the party for Uncovered, a selection of 60s-era Black & White photography from New York based legend, Ken Regan.

The Beatles
The Beatles

For me, the sign of an excellent music photography exhibit is one that shows me at least one photo of The Beatles that I’ve not seen before. So: score, a direct hit. The above shot of the Fab Four is not only previously unknown to me, it’s  simply a fucking fantastic photo. You could live an entire lifetime in that photograph — and Ken Regan took it.

Batman Party
Left, Batman Party. Right, JFK

Regan, who passed away in November of 2012, was not an artist who let himself be pigeonholed into just one area of photography, as his portfolio included not only pop music icons and movie starts, but also sports, politics, fashion and landscape photography. Featuring mostly photographs from between 1960 to 1970, Uncovered provide an excellent cross section of Ken’s vast body of work.

Here are a few of our favorite pieces from the show.

Bridget Bardot
Bridget Bardot

Black Panthers
Black Panthers

YSL
Yves Saint Laurent (On the Right)

This one is blurry because I was trying to hold a glass of wine in one hand and take a picture with the other. Multi-tasking!

Rich Lady

I don’t know who this lady is, but she looks pretty fabulous.

John John and Jackie
John John and Jackie

This photo breaks my heart a million times.

RFK
Bobby Kennedy

Social Unrest

Ken was also a great news photographer, because he was able to distill the action with just one shot. Amazing.

Uncovered: A Decade of Images by Ken Regan will be on Exhibit Only Through July 3rd, 2015 at Morrison Hotel Gallery, Located Upstairs at 116 Prince Street, Soho, NYC.

Ken Regan Uncovered Signage

MHG Signage