This weekend marks Printed Matter's annual New York Art Book Fair: a glorious, highly curated, jam packed, sweaty gathering of some of best mainstream and independent art book publishers. Hosted at New York City's MoMa PS1 in Long Island City, it's filled with frequent book signings, people watching and an opportunity to spend a downpayment on way too many photobooks (which you should.) We hope the renegade book appropriating bootleggers Flat Fix are back for an attack. Oh, and there's also the Independent Art Book Fair happening close by in Greenpoint, which is worth a walk over the Pulaski Bridge. Below are some of our anticipated favorites, in no particular order.
In his latest exhibition, n e w f l e s h, opening this Friday, September 9th at Rubber Factory in NYC, curator Efrem Zelony-Mindell raises the question "What does queer look like beyond the body?" Moving past concrete or literal examples, Zelony-Mindell selects work that pulls apart obvious, or expected assumptions of gender in an attempt to better understand, redefine and ultimately reclaim what "queer" is. The exhibition, which includes photography-based work from Joy Drury Cox, Thomas Albdorf, Ruth van Beek, Ryan Oskin, Dillon DeWaters, and others, uses manipulation and intervention - some digital, some sculptural - as a metaphor for the continuous malleability of the self. Ruth Van Beek, for example, cuts and folds found images of pets, creating a puzzling distortion of how we understand them, and our relationship to them. Playing on similar ideas, Ryan Oskin integrates photographs into three dimensional structures from tarp, vinyl and other construction-site materials, flipping how we interpret their traditional functions. In light of its concurrent publication in Dear Dave Magazine, we invited the magazine's founder (and head of the School of Visual Arts' photography program), Stephen Frailey to interview Zelony-Mindell about his ideas behind the show.
We know. This headline might imply an association between these photographers and the many ills a certain small-handed circus leader denies knowing when called to task, and we apologize. This has nothing to do with Mr. Trump, though we suspect he (maybe) collects the "great" work of Peter Lik, right? Why are we even rambling about this? Moving on, here are some of our favorite photographers working right now, all who've hung out with us over the past few months for weekly Humble Arts Foundation Instagram residencies. Some are making Instagram their visual diary or sketchpad, while others are using it as a wider domain for sharing long term photo projects. Have a look, give them your follows, and be moved to keep up with their ever-inspired work.
In June 2016, the International Center of Photography (ICP) reopened after a two-year hiatus. Now situated in a custom-designed site at 250 Bowery in Lower Manhattan, the Center announced its intentions as a 21st-century institution with the controversial exhibition Public, Private, Secret and a rotating curatorial program. Curator Charlotte Cotton fulfilled the first Curator-in-Residency position, collaborating with ICP staff and guest contributors to present a timely exhibition that considers the implications of self-representation and visibility in a visually saturated world. Cotton spoke with Roula Seikaly about the exhibition, the Aperture Summer Open as an extension of the Photography is Magic project, and the pros and cons of independent curatorial work.
Three years ago, while on a redeye flight, '90s news reporter-turned photographer Tabitha Soren was reading a PDF on her iPad to pass the time. By the fourth chapter, the lamp above her seat was her only source of light, and at a certain angle she noticed it illuminating strange lines across the screen. As she continued reading, these lines grew into convoluted, gestural smudges – her fingerprints abstracted from continuous scrolling as she repeated the same motions over and over again. “At the end of the fourth chapter,” says Soren, “they had accumulated enough that I almost wiped the screen clean of them so I could read more easily, but before I did that I noticed how beautiful the marks were.” And thus began Surface Tension, a series of photographs that pulls apart the many layered ways people consume and engage with images online.