AIPAD April 2013

On Friday, April 5th, 2013 I paid my annual visit to the AIPAD (The Association of International Photography Art Dealers) Photography Show located at the Park Avenue Armory in New York. Although it’s a 4-day event, I generally find myself there on the Friday, not only to view the wonderful photography, but also to run into many of my friends and colleagues in the industry. One of the most noticeable changes this year, and perhaps due to the increase in the number of exhibitors, was that the café was no longer located at the back of the exhibition space. Instead, it was in a separate room near the entrance of the building. Although it was better for the exhibitors, who said they could at least disappear there for a quick break without having to continue to talk to people, from my perspective, I missed having the café near all of the booths, as that is where many of us would congregate for a break and run into one another. By having it located outside of the exhibit hall, the event felt a little more serious and less social. The upside is that I was better able to concentrate on the galleries without being so distracted!

Orphan Girl at the Cemetery, after Delacroix, from the Gordian Puzzles 2008 series, Vik Muniz courtesy of Contemporary Works/Vintage Works

My 1st stop was ClampArt to see my pal Julie Grahame and gallery owner Brian Clamp. And who should be chatting with Julie when I got there but Mary Virginia Swanson, the “Queen of Fine Art Consulting” herself, and who is always a delight to run into! Normally Julie and I would be walking the show together, but since she is now the Associate Director at ClampArt, this year she was working, so while I was there, I shared with both Brian & Julie my April ChatterArtist blog post with one of their artists, the wonderfully talented Lori Nix. It was also nice to see Marc Yankus‘ Landscapes/Cityscapes on display and while I was there, a young man purchased one of his little books.

Julie Grahame & Brian Clamp © Louisa J. Curtis

Shortly after my visit with ClampArt, I ran into one of my other buddies Monica Cipnic, the programs director for Adorama Workshops. In fact I just moderated an awesome panel for her last month on Presenting Your Work To Multiple Markets with Julie as my Fine Art representative! So Monica and I then spent an enjoyable afternoon walking the show together, running into yet more friends and examining as much photography as we could manage in about 4 hours! These shows can be both over-whelming and exhausting, and this year’s show had more than 80 galleries exhibiting, compared to last year’s 75. So it is difficult to see everything. We knew we had some specific stops to make, and then in between we explored the rest, to see what took our fancy, or caught our eye.

Charita II, 1996, Dawoud Bey at the Stephen Daiter Gallery

Every year, intentionally or not, there often seems to be some underlying theme(s) that can be seen throughout the show. In past years, it might have been a technical trend, such as Tilt Shift, one time there seemed to be a lot of Chinese photography on display, or another year it might be more subject-related. This year, I found a re-occurring theme of “overhead views” – especially at the Paul Kopeikin Galleryfrom Los Angeles, CA, – including work by Dutch photographer Katrin Korfmann and my absolute favorite of the day by Dominican Republic-born artist Alejandro Cartagena.

From the series Car Poolers, Alejandro Cartagena

Alejandro lives and works in Mexico, and Car Poolers is a series of photographs documenting Mexican workers traveling to or from their jobs. Each truck has its own mini-story contained within the flatbed (which resemble human sardine cans), even if it’s covered with a tarp, you wonder what’s underneath it! All of the images were taken from the same, or similar spot on a bridge looking directly down onto the road beneath, which gave the series a sense of structure. But what also made this series so successful was seeing them all displayed together as a grid on one entire wall – I found them very visually satisfying, and so did a lot of other people apparently, since on my 2ndvisit to the same gallery we witnessed a young collector purchasing 2 of them!

Car Poolers, Alejandro Cartagena

Another recurrent theme we noticed was fire and destruction, and war-related images, starting with a series of rare vintage photographs of the Hindenburg at the Daniel Blau Gallery This gallery’s presentation was “Photojournalism in 20th Century America,” so it also fit nicely into the theme for my April ChatterBulletin, the sign of Aries (who is ruled by the Planet Mars, God of War) and Accidents!

Vintage Photos of the Hindenburg, Daniel Blau Gallery

Another fiery theme was British photographer Damion Berger’s Black Powder series on display at the Lisa Sette Gallery out of Scottsdale, AZ, in which he documents fireworks displays from all around the world, using glass plate negatives, multiple exposures and unusual combinations of focus and aperture.

From the Black Powder series, Damion Berger on display at Lisa Sette Gallery

And how about this next image Last Ditch Effort, 2013 also at the Kopeikin Gallery from a series entitled The Struggle to Right Oneselfby Kerry Skarbakka – fits pretty well with my theme of Aries and Accidents!

Last Ditch Effort, from the series The Struggle to Right Oneself, Kerry Skarbakka

One more tribute to Aries (who also like to wear hats) we have Dutch photographer Hendrik Kerstens at the Danziger Gallery, who photographs his daughter Paula, reminiscent of the style of the famous Dutch painter Vermeer, yet using contemporary props for the costumes. This one had me doing a double-take when I realized that she had a tea towel on her head and some air conditioning duct around her neck!

Portrait of his daughter Paula, Hendrik Kerstens courtesy of the Danziger Gallery

Stephen Wilkes had a strong showing of his Day to Night series in multiple galleries including the Peter Fetterman Gallery where they had giant prints of both Inauguration, 2013 and Jerusalem, 2012, but I was particularly glad to have witnessed his hauntingly beautiful photograph Hurricane Sandy, Seaside Heights, New Jersey, 2012courtesy of the Monroe Gallery of Photography, known primarily for their B&W photography, and yet his Day to Night series is in color, such as the Coney Island image below.

Coney Island, from the Day to Night Series, Stephen Wilkes courtesy of the Monroe Gallery of Photography

One of our less-violent stops was at the Catherine Couturier Gallerywhere Maggie Taylor was signing copies of her exquisite new book No Ordinary Days.

Maggie Taylor with Monica Cipnic signing copies of her new book © Louisa J. Curtis

And another interesting stop was at the Alan Klotz Gallery where we were introduced to Russian visual artists Valera & Natasha Cherkashin, who were showing an interesting series entitled Global Underground, of digitally layered images taken in subways around the world starting with New York in 2005, then Moscow, Stockholm, and after a total of 18 different countries and 27 cities, they are still going strong and working towards their ultimate goal of 50+ cities.

From the Global Underground series, Valera & Natasha Cherkashin

Another of my favorites, because it was so silly, simple and clever, was the series at the Robert Mann Gallery by Jeff Brouws entitled Surveillance Cameras, 2003. Not only was it funny to see photographs of surveillance cameras – but also the irony was made even stronger by placing the images in the top corners of the booth, where a real surveillance camera might have been!

From the Surveillance Cameras 2003 series, Jeff Brouws at the Robert Mann Gallery

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