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Revival of Studio Practice

Posted By Administration, Monday, December 16, 2013
Quentin Bajac, who left the Pompidou Center in Paris last year to become chief photography curator at the Museum of Modern Art, has organized his first show at MoMA. Called "A World of Its Own: Photographic Practices in the Studio" and culled from the museum's own holdings, it will explore the ways in which photographers and artists who use photographs in their work create images within the confines of a traditional studio. Running from Feb. 8 through Oct. 5, it is to include about 200 works, some new acquisitions that have not been exhibited before as well as more famous seminal images.

"I see a revival of interest for studio practice," Mr. Bajac said. This trend, he added, may be a reaction to the ubiquity of photographic devices like smartphones and tablets, networks like Instagram and programs like Photoshop. "It's not just about taking an image but making an image," he added.

Organized thematically, the show will address the use of theatrical tableaus by practitioners like Julia Margaret Cameron and Cindy Sherman. There will also be examples of work by Richard Avedon and Robert Mapplethorpe, who used stark, blank backgrounds, and by photographers like Thomas Demand who construct architectural sets within their studios.

Among the recent acquisitions will be works by two artists featured in "The Encyclopedic Palace," the main exhibition at this year's Venice Biennale: the Romanian-born Geta Bratescu and the Nigerian photographer J. D. 'Okhai Ojeikere. There will also be a few films by William Wegman and the Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss.

The New York Times

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Death of David Vestal

Posted By Administration, Sunday, December 8, 2013
Updated: Monday, December 16, 2013

Portrait of David Vestal taken by Len Kowitz; Courtesy of Robert Mann GalleryNew York School Photographer is remembered as an artist & educator

Portrait of David Vestal taken by Len Kowitz; Courtesy of Robert Mann Gallery
New York School photographer, David Vestal was born in Menlo Park, CA in 1924; he passed away this past week at the age of 89. Vestal studied painting at the Art Institute of Chicago. He became involved in photography during the late 1940s after moving to New York and received two John Simon Guggenheim Fellowships in the medium in 1966 and 1973.

Vestal held many professorial positions, and is remembered as an artist and educator. His personal work focused on New York City in all light, and in any condition. Day or night, rain or shine his images contain the poetics of place, its atmosphere and architecture. His work is included in the public collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Vestal taught at such notable institutions as Parsons School of Design, the School of Visual Arts, and Pratt Institute. He also wrote various essays on photography and published two books on photography and printing: The Craft of Photography (1975) and The Art of Black-and-White Enlarging (1984).

For more information on this artist and his work, please visit Robert Mann Gallery

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Shortlist Announced for Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2014

Posted By Administration, Saturday, November 30, 2013
Updated: Monday, December 16, 2013

Alberto García-Alix, Jochen Lempert, Richard Mosse and Lorna Simpson

The Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2014 is presented by The Photographers' Gallery, London. The annual award of £30,000 rewards a living photographer, of any nationality, for a specific body of work in an exhibition or publication format, which has significantly contributed to photography in Europe between 1 October 2012 and 30 September 2013.

The four artists shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2014 are Alberto García-Alix, Jochen Lempert, Richard Mosse and Lorna Simpson. The winner will be announced at a special ceremony at The Photographers' Gallery on 12 May 2014. Works by the shortlisted photographers will be shown in an exhibition at The Photographers' Gallery followed by its presentation at the Deutsche Börse headquarters in Frankfurt/Eschborn.

The four shortlisted artists have been nominated for the following projects:

Alberto García-Alix (b. 1956, Spain) is nominated for his publication Autorretrato/Selfportrait, La Fabrica Editorial (2013). The book features black and white self-portraits which offer an insight into the artist's life over nearly four decades. These include the upheavals at the end of Franco's dictatorship in the early 70s through newly gained liberties in the mid-80s and into the present day. The works reflect a life of both intimacy and excess, where photography is used to mediate experiences, fears, neuroses and inner battles. His tense and lyrical images blur – visually and metaphorically – the line between self-reflection and staged portraits. In his wider practice, García-Alix also combines photography with writing and video work.

Jochen Lempert (b. 1958, Germany) is nominated for his exhibition Jochen Lempert at Hamburger Kunsthalle (22 June – 29 Sept 2013). Originally trained as a biologist, Lempert has been using photography since the early 1990s to study humans and the natural world. His approach is scientific and poetic as well as humorous. Always working in black and white, his work engages with a diverse range of subjects and genres, ranging from everyday views, to abstracted details. Photographic series alternate with single pictures, highly contrasted images with almost blank papers, through which multiple links and subtle associations are woven.

Richard Mosse (b.1980, Ireland) is nominated for his exhibition The Enclave at Venice Biennale, Irish Pavilion (1 June – 24 November 2013). Mosse documents a haunting landscape touched by appalling human tragedy in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, where 5.4 million people have died of war related causes since 1998. Shot on discontinued military surveillance film, the resulting imagery registers an invisible spectrum of infrared light, and renders the jungle warzone in disorienting psychedelic hues. At the project's heart are the points of failure of documentary photography. It is an attempt to find an alternate strategy to adequately communicate this complex and horrific cycle of violence.

Lorna Simpson (b. 1960, USA) is nominated for her exhibition Lorna Simpson (Retrospective) at Jeu de Paume, Paris (28 May - 1 September 2013). Simpson's work links photography, text, video installations, most recently archival material and found objects. Emphasizing a conceptual and performative approach, she explores themes of gender, identity, culture, memory and body. Simpson works within the charged duality of past and present, word and image but also plays with the interplay between still and moving images.

The members of the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2014 jury are: Kate Bush, Curator; Jitka Hanzlová, Artist; Thomas Seelig, Director/Curator, Fotomuseum Winterthur; and Anne-Marie Beckmann, Curator, Art Collection Deutsche Börse, Germany. Brett Rogers, Director of The Photographers' Gallery, is the non-voting Chair.

Brett Rogers, Director of The Photographers' Gallery and Chair of the Jury said: Each of this year's nominees proposes compelling new ways to expand our thinking about the medium. Image and text underpin Lorna Simpson's unique approach to interrogating gender and identity, whilst for Garcia-Alix, the camera becomes an extension of his psyche - 'a way of seeing which is a way of being'. In drawing our attention to anthropomorphism, Jochen Lempert combines the precision of a scientist with the lyricism of a poet. For Richard Mosse, discontinued military surveillance film provides both the medium and the message, transforming the horror and brutality of war into a surreal form of documentary.

Frank Klaas, Managing Director Global Public Affairs, Deutsche Börse said: This year's shortlist once again shows the vitality and broad variety of approaches to contemporary photography. We are impressed by the jury's excellent selection and very much look forward to the 2014 exhibition– especially as it marks our 10th anniversary as sponsor of Europe's most renowned photography prize.

For more information on this story, please visit The Photographers' Gallery

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In the Balance: LA Philanthropy is Being Put to the Test

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 28, 2013
Updated: Monday, December 16, 2013

Can the City of Angels Muster a Miracle?

Now more than ever the city's relatively young tradition of cultural philanthropy is being put to the test. With the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) engaged in a major capital campaign and Lacma preparing to embark on one of its own, we are entering what appears to be a do-or-die moment in fundraising for museums in Los Angeles.

The stakes are high for both museums and for Los Angeles's credibility as a world-class cultural destination. While the history of museum-building here has depended heavily on lone-wolf collectors (think J. Paul Getty, Norton Simon, Armand Hammer and, most recently, Eli Broad), its future clearly depends on a more diverse network of patrons working with existing institutions.

Full story by Jori Finkel in Mutual Art

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Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize Awarded to Spencer Murphy

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Updated: Monday, December 16, 2013

for a photograph of jockey Katie Walsh.

The £12,000 award was presented to the Kent photographer at the National Portrait Gallery, London, Tuesday 12 November 2013. The winning portrait will be on view at the National Portrait Gallery from November 14, 2013 until 9 February 2014.

The award-winning image by Murphy was taken at Kempton Park Racecourse and was made while the artist was shooting a series of jump jockeys' portraits for Channel. 'I was keen to include Katie,' says Murphy: 'I wanted to show both her femininity and the toughness of spirit she requires to compete against the best riders in one of the most demanding disciplines in horse racing. I chose to shoot the series on large format film, to give the images a depth and timelessness that I think would have been hard to achieve on a digital camera'.

This is the seventh time the work of the London-based photographer has been exhibited at the Gallery's annual photographic exhibition and last year Murphy's portrait of actor Mark Rylance won him Third Prize.

Spencer Murphy (22.09.1978) grew up in Kent and studied at the Kent Institute of Art and Design before gaining a BA in Photography at Falmouth College of Arts.

Learn more at The National Portrait Gallery

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