Friday, April 10, 2009

Cloud 9: Imogen Cunningham, Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Weston @Silverstein

JTF (just the facts): A total of 9 vintage gelatin silver prints (thus the clever show title): 2 by Imogen Cunningham, 4 by Alfred Stieglitz, and 3 by Edward Weston, all small prints, variously framed and hung on one blue wall in the front gallery. All of the images are from the 1920s and 1930s. (Installation shot at right.)

Comments/Context: Virtually every human being has at some point in their lives looked up into the sky and seen meaning in the clouds, even if it was simply a cluster of wisps that looked momentarily (to us) like a rabbit or a dog. Master photographers are no different, and this small amuse-bouche of a show gathers together a handful of examples of what three of them found when they pointed their cameras skywards.
The most recognizable images in the show are the four Stieglitz Equivalents, images of diaphanous clouds, designed to evoke emotional states. Stieglitz made many of these images over his career; most are printed in the same small size, requiring intimate attention. The Weston clouds have more form to them; in one, the thin clouds are transformed into energetic fingers of fire. The Cunningham clouds were a surprise to me, as we had never seen cloud images made by her before. Her choice of puffy, cotton ball clouds gave her more freedom to play with negative and positive space.

Collector's POV: The Stieglitz images are priced between $55000 and $65000 (though not all are for sale), the Weston prints are between $25000 and $75000, and the Cunninghams are $20000 each. While clouds are not a part of our particular collection, I like the idea of having a small appetizer show in the front of the gallery that can explore a smaller theme in thoughtful detail, as a warm up for larger exhibit(s) in the back.

Rating: * (one star) GOOD (rating system described here)

Through April 25th

535 West 24th Street
New York, NY 10011

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