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Review: John Cohen at L. Parker Stephenson

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 9, 2012
Updated: Monday, January 6, 2014

John Cohen Early Work, 1954-1957

Exhibition through April 14


The exhibition at the L. Parker Stephenson gallery coincides with the Library of Congress's acquisition of John Cohen's archive. Cohen's photographs, films, and recordings are a crucial contribution to the public collection. Cohen has a rich and colorful background. Founding member of the New Lost City Ramblers, social documentarian of cultural happenings, recorder of soon-to-be-lost musicians in Appalachia, to mention a few of his pursuits. As a musicologist, photographer, and filmmaker, Cohen has used a range of media to document and preserve crucial cultural history for future generations.

John Cohen Early Work offers just one glimpse at moments saved by the dedication of the artist. Some of the prints have never before been seen. The exhibition includes street scenes and interiors in New Haven, CT and gospel gatherings in New York City. The frames are bold and transportative. The depicted worlds seem to open up around us, and often the work is so powerful it becomes audible.

Street scenes depict children at play. We engage their games, hear footsteps and laughter in the street. Frames of Gypsies and Boxers bring us further into a time and place we would usually not venture into or find comfort in, yet we enter with ease and again find ourselves immediately in the moment. Gypsy women captivate our interest in Gypsies, Oak Street, New Haven, 1955 and Oak Street, New Haven (Gypsy in Mirror) seeming at once accessible and aloof; tension entices and we linger in the frame. The boxers, none of whom are actually shown in the ring, exude determination rather than brute force, and in one frame, Elm City Gym, New Havena figure with a towel over his head seems almost angelic.

The Gospel gatherings explode with energy, passion, and emotion. This work is literally the most vocal, and the figures are absolutely charged. Songs belt from women with heads thrown back, men who harmonize before a microphone, and children who are entranced. Gest often adds to the dynamism of the shot and works to heighten the intensity of the moment, particularly in frames like East New York and Harlem.

This exhibition offers but a glimpse into the life's work of John Cohen. From here we can only imagine the richness of the artist's archive and the contribution Cohen's efforts will continue to make on to America's cultural legacy.

For more information on this exhibition please visitL. Parker Stephenson Gallery

New Yorker Review

Wall Street Journal Review (please download pdf attached)


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Review: Olivo Barbieri at Yancey Richardson Gallery

Posted By Administration, Friday, March 23, 2012
Updated: Monday, January 6, 2014

The Dolomites Project

Through March 31, 2012


Opening Reception and Book Signing:
Thursday, February 16
6:00 - 8:00 pm


Olivo Barbieri continues to examine the monumental landscape from above in his new series, which features images of the north-eastern Italian mountain range. As with his Waterfalls Project perception is pushed away from the norm. Earlier work played with scale rendering the appearance of monumental miniature; this series plays with volume and flatness through the use of coloration.

On the whole this work is in-line with Barbieri's exploration of the role of the natural world in contemporary culture; do these impressive natural structures continue to inspire or has the sublime been replaced or cheapened by a theme-park mentality. Do we feel awe or are we just looking for the tourist snapshot? The foundations of our relationship to nature is questioned by these large scale prints. The strange coloration given to the peaks is careful not be overdone, rather alters the images just enough to push and pull depiction. Our initial response is to question the reality of the image itself, yet as we find our balace we also find depth of perception. The mountain range expands, rises up and we do find ourselves inspired by wonder of the grand, the elegant, the monumental landscape.

For more information on this exhibition please visit Yancey Richardson Gallery

New Yorker Reveiw

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Review: Jonas Mekas/Robert Polidori at Edwynn Houk

Posted By Administration, Friday, March 23, 2012
Updated: Monday, January 6, 2014

Through March 31, 2012


Collaborative exhibition reunites two old colleagues, Jonas Mekas and Robert Polidori. Mekas is typically noted as a cinematographer and Polidori for his architectural interiors; this exhibition features their work in portraiture. Each with their own unique style- Mekas with film strip segments of well known figures from Elvis and Warholl to John Lennon and Yoko Ono; Polidori with frames of anonymous humanity from India, Syria, Mexico and beyond.

The human connection unites the work; all the figures are seen with the same prominence famous or unknown. The immediate impact of each work holds inviting longer looking. The film strips of Mekas engage with shift, change of moment, gest, or visage. Equally playful and engaging are Polidori's characters. Personality oozes from the car packed with laughing children in Mexico, an elderly Indian gentleman with dreadlocks, and defiant young girl in Cuba.

For more information on the exhibition please visit Edwynn Houk Gallery

New Yorker Review

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Artist's Reception: Michael Schnabel and Ursula Kraft at Esther Woerdenhoff Gallery

Posted By Administration, Monday, March 19, 2012
Updated: Monday, January 6, 2014

Recent Works

Exhibition Dates: March 3 - May 5, 2012

Reception with the Artists:
Wednesday, March 21
6:00 - 9:00 pm


The work of Ursula Kraft and Machael Schnabel is fantastic, grand, mythic. Kraft's work leans to the narrative while Schnabel to the landscape.

Ursula Kraft presents the end of her series Emerentia where she questions the dimension of the dream, metamorphosis, and myth. The works remind us immediately of ferry tales or legends, and it is true that the passage between childhood and adulthood is important to Kraft. These stories, old or new, repeated or invented seem to be the space between adult and child, story teller and audience, and form the middle ground between belief and disbelief. We are encouraged to form narrative around the introspective worlds Kraft frames, doing so is not only natural it is revealing of our own inner worlds, our own soul. Her use of reappearing characters lends well to spark our interest in a larger framework. The frames work well alone, but the more we see the more we can invent. The work is delightful and dark, mysterious and, though never before seen, hauntingly familiar. We want to spend time with the frames, reach back to an inner child, and create stories to recount to ourself.

In Michael Schnabel's Stille Berge we are presented with a divine sublime view of the Alpes. The giants rise through somber skies with a certain tranquility. It was in the evening that Schnabel caught the glimpse of the mountains that inspired the series- the Alpes in the dim light were to him idilic; he began to work to capture in still frame this vision, this sentiment. The immensity, the purity of these views present a grandeur of scale, do achieve the kind of sublimity that had only been achieved by painting int he past.

For more information on the exhibition please visit Esther Woerdenhoff Gallery

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Review: Yury Rybchinsky in the Wall Street Journal

Posted By Administration, Monday, March 19, 2012
Updated: Monday, January 6, 2014

Underground: Russian Photography 1970's - 1980's

Nailya Alexander Gallery
Through March 24


There is something heavy about the frames of Yuri Rybchinsky. The everyday shots he captured are pedestrian moments, natural every day occurrences in Soviet life at the time. From the outset the work presents an ominous tone; this natural sense is revealed to be true the more time we spend with the work. We feel something secret, something hidden, something else is going on under the surface of every frame. Some of the shots are street scenes: a man with a bucket, a morning in the park, a man with tulip, people by the beach. It is the images taken in prisons help to place and frame the work in a larger context: the shadow of a guard looms over two inmates, prisoners line one end of a long table visit with their families who line the other, a secret view of prisoners barracks reveal one inmate's feet tied to the bed while a guard stands watch over the lot. It is perhaps these prison shots that cause us to pause and look back more carefully at the others: a woman picks skeptically over a pile of ribs in Meat?, a spider tarnishes the face of an Apollo sculpture in Apollo with SpiderUntitled depicts a back alley's refuge alongside reliefs of Marx and Lenin. We learn from these frames that all is not what it seems. Looking farther at the thin frames of the figures, the drunkards who fall in the streets, the overall dis-engagement of the people with the camera and each other stirs emotion within us. We feel the weight and oppression suffered, we see the fear in their eyes, we feel the hunger in their bellies, we feel ourselves drawing inward. The power of Rybchinsky's work is visceral and honest.

For more information on the exhibition pelease visit Nailya Alexander Gallery

Wall Street Journal Review

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