Thursday, August 6, 2009

A JGS/Forward Thinking Museum Update

I've been meaning to do an update on all the changes over at the Joy of Giving Something (here) and the Forward Thinking Museum (here), and the summer lull is the perfect time to catch up on their activities.

As a reminder, JGS is the philanthropic non-profit organization that houses the private collection of Howard Stein. Aside from the more than 10000 photographs in the collection (all online, found here), the foundation supports traveling and local exhibitions, funds artist books, publishes its own journal (Witness), and runs juried contests. I think it is perhaps the best example of what happens "after collecting", when the hunting and gathering of individual images becomes routine and the collector wants to get more involved in actively and personally supporting the community. Keep your eyes peeled for the JGS logo when you're out at museum exhibitions, reading books or attending fund raisers; the foundation is a consistent, low key supporter of a lot of what is going on in photography.

The Forward Thinking Museum is another of JGS' many projects, an online experiment in museum building. The newest iteration of the museum has left behind some its more original quirks and streamlined the viewing process a bit. Gone are the Japanese museum guide, the elevator, the hand held assistant, and the hot dog stand; the museum is now a more straightforward place, and much easier to navigate quickly.

One amazing thing about a virtual museum is that it lacks space constraints; it can keep exhibits up indefinitely, and add more and more as time passes. Since I last visited, there are at least 15 new shows on view, with many others from before that I still haven't had time to check out. Here's a list of what's new:

Solo Shows:

Zhang Dali
Jason Florio
Adam Fuss
Fernando Gonclaves
Kevin Kallaugher
Yuki Onodera
Selina Ou
Gilles Peress
Judith Joy Ross
Fazal Sheikh

Group Shows:

Hope Photographs
Trends to Watch (with another 12 shows underneath)

Features in the 21st Century Galleries:

Christophe Agou
Water Chappell

There are also plenty of excellent artist interview videos in the Theater. I've recently watched the following, but there are many more worth your time:

Daido Moriyama, Memories of a Dog
Toshio Shibata, Borrowing a Place
Danwen Xing, Urban Fictions

Overall, the Forward Thinking Museum has plenty of top tier photography to entice viewers of all kinds. It's open all the time, there are no crowds, and it's free. For those of you out there starved for some photography excitement in the doldrums of the summer, this is a terrific place to find it.

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