Rabu, 03 Maret 2010

Armory week, day 1. All day at the piers.

Well, we're off and running. As promised, here is installment number 1 of my personal preferences for the photographic work I saw  in my 6 hour slog through piers 92 and 94. In no particular order and without much elaboration, definition, or comment from me:

Iran do Espirito Santo had 4 photograms at Sean Kelly which were overlaid with graphite pencil. The photogram was on a mirrored surface, so the silver of the backing referred to the silver of the emulsion, which referred to the silver in the graphite. Very satisfying and a beautiful counterpoint to the mirrored wall constructions next to it by the same artist.
Jack Shainman had his usual spectacular booth. I never tire of seeing new Nick Cave soundsuits or El Anatsui wall hangings. The Rashid Rana photo construction was a bit disappointing, though. We've seen too much of this kind of computer generated photomontage, and Joan Fontcuberta still did it best.
Gallery Sfeier-Semler showed a typology easily mistaken for a Becher grid. But instead of watertowers, we were looking at Israeli watchtowers - heavily armed and fortified - by Palestinian artist, Taysir Batniji. A wonderful political twist on the flat, formal constructions of the Bechers.
 I saw some of the photo collage and video of Croat artist David Maljkovic at one of the Berlin Biennials. I was impressed and wrote a brief paragraph here in May of 2008. Galerie Georg Kargl from Vienna has a solid display of new work which continues to explore architecture and it's role in memory. Take a look. My crappy jpegs really don't communicate the work:
London's Corvi-Mora had Anne Collier's ongoing exploration of representations of the eye. The work continues to speak to me and impress.

Zeno-X from Antwerp had a few Dirk Braeckmans. These photos break no new ground, but I always love to see them.
 Barbara Probst was the principal photo artist at Murray Guy, but there was also an intriguing series from Moyra Davey(whose work deserves wider play). I have not always been a fan of Probst's work, but she continues to grow within her practice of multiple perspectives from multiple cameras fired simultaneously. I liked these especially:
 Galerie Filomena Soares had a few examples from Helena Almeida. I love many of the explorations this artist creates with photos, but this was not high on my list. Still, an artist not seen enough in the US.

Seventeen Gallery was showing Graham Dolphin which is not strictly photographic but a personal favorite. On the photo front, they had Abigail Reynolds' collages; manipulated constructions made of found pages from guide books and atlases. She successfully breaks the 2 dimensional plane of a photograph while simultaneously traversing multiple moments of time. Great work.

If more proof were needed that San Francisco has a vibrant gallery scene, Altman Siegel would be fine evidence. Trevor Paglen's cosmic musings (introduced to me by Becky Smith of the departed Bellwether Gallery) and Matt Keegan's photo deletions were both examples of the excellent program at this gallery. Sorry, no pics.

Last and by no means least I would like to praise Sicardi Gallery from Houston. Year after year this gallery puts together a remarkable booth with spectacular examples from Latin America especially the op-artists. Leon Ferrari, Jesus Rafael Soto, and Carlos Cruz-Diez are particular favorites of mine, but there were others as well. On the photographic front, I was introduced to the modernist work of Geraldo de Barros. The negatives date from the 50s and are made from visually arresting combinations of photogram, negative manipulation, and reflection. Unfortunately, these were not vintage prints, but perhaps this can be forgiven in the cause of wider posthumous distribution for a neglected artist. If I'm the only one who hasn't heard of him (I hope so!), then I'll enjoy my new, personal find. If he's new to you, too, check it out. Great work.

Tomorrow, Volta and whatever other fairs I can cover. Comments and additions welcome.

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