Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Photography at the 2010 ADAA Art Show

In contrast to the bustling chaotic supermarket of the Armory, the ADAA Art Show was a decidedly more serene affair. Most of the exhibitors opted for solo shows or tightly edited groups of work, meticulously hung against colored walls or linen wallpaper (no hand scrawled wall labels here). The overall mood was much more urbane and serious, the hushed voices appropriately reverent.

The photography displayed in this controlled environment was generally of very high quality; lots of big prices and top names, with a minimum of secondary clutter and distraction. Like our Armory posts, for each booth, a list of photographers has been provided, with the number of works on display in parentheses. Additional commentary, prices, editions, and pictures of the installation are also included where specific images stood out.

Fraenkel Gallery (here): Hiroshi Sugimoto (12). This booth was a sophisticated solo show of Sugimoto's work, with a selection of images from a variety of different projects. There were 5 seascapes (4 small in a grid and 1 large), 2 lightning fields (1 small and 1 large), 2 theaters, 1 mechanical still life, 1 blurry building, and 1 Fox Talbot floral. This was the first time I had seen the lightning fields in person; up close the electricity branches out like the wash of a river, or feathers into delicate traceries. The large lightning field image (see below) was $80000 (and already sold); the small lightning field was $18000.

Weinstein Gallery (here): Alec Soth (14). This booth was a solo show, displaying Soth's Fashion Magazine work from 2007. I have to say it was a totally unexpected and yet thoroughly pleasant (and appropriate) surprise to find Soth's work in this rarefied environment. The work held its own with the rest of the art world elite arrayed nearby, and I imagine there were plenty of well heeled collectors in this crowd who had never heard of Soth but came away suitably impressed. All of the prints were pigmented ink prints, in editions of 7. There were three sizes on display (36x30, 40x48, and 58x48) with three sets of prices ($9000 or $10000, $13000, and $17500 respectively, helpfully printed right on the wall labels). In addition to the fashion project (which included the Chanel runway, Yves Saint Laurent's dog, Sophia Loren, lavish meals and interiors, backstage fussing, and up close portraits), I was also able to see some of Soth's mini-projects and recent commissions in a soft portfolio on the table. These included Goth women from the South, the Most Beautiful Woman in Georgia (the country), and the Loneliest Man in Missouri - there is a particularly poignant/sad image from this last project where the man sits in front of a birthday cake, flanked by a woman straight out of a strip club.

Howard Greenberg Gallery (here): Edward Weston (3), Charles Sheeler (1), Jacques-Henri Lartigue (1), Man Ray (2 rayographs), Laszlo Moholy-Nagy (1 photogram), Frantisek Drtikol (1 nude), Edward Steichen (1), Robert Frank (2), Saul Leiter (3 color images, 1 painted diptych), Miroslav Tichy (5), William Klein (1). This booth was a carefully selected group of vintage rarities. The stand out image for me among these astonishing treasures was the Sheeler stairway (priced at $600000, see below); I could have stood and looked at it all day. The elegant Weston still lifes were priced at $475000, $450000, and $190000. The 2 Man Ray rayographs were $390000 and $250000 respectively; the Moholy-Nagy was also $250000. The Drtikol nude was $90000.

Metro Pictures Gallery (here): Cindy Sherman (2), Olaf Breuning (1), Louise Lawler (1). The Sherman history portrait below was priced at $300000.

Skarstedt Gallery (here): Barbara Kruger (1), Richard Prince (1), Cindy Sherman (1). Both the Kruger and the Sherman were priced at $275000 (see below).

Barbara Mathes Gallery (here): Hiroshi Sugimoto (1). This was the single most expensive photograph I saw for sale during the entire week of fairs; it was priced at $650000.

Zabriskie Gallery (here): Alfred Stieglitz (3), Constantin Brancusi (1), Edward Steichen (1), Paul Strand (2). This booth was a tribute to 291, Alfred Stieglitz' famous gallery. Drawings, prints and pages from the various gallery magazines were displayed, along with a selection of photographs. My favorite image was the platinum print of Taos by Strand (priced at $100000, see below).

Hans P. Kraus Jr. Fine Photographs (here): Edouard-Denis Baldus (1), Frederick Evans (2), Roger Fenton (2), Joseph Vicomte Vigieur (2), Felix Teynard (2), Gustave Le Gray (1), Alvin Langdon Coburn (1), Humphrey Lloyd Hime (2), Louis-Constant De Clercq (1), Carleton Watkins/Eadward Muybridge (1), Charles Negre (1), Erneste Benecke (1), William Henry Fox Talbot (2), Eugene Cuvelier (1), Dr. John Murray (2). This booth was an edited group show called The Horizon in 19th Century Photographs, and included a selection of images bisected by the line of the horizon. The most startling of these works was the print by Humphrey Lloyd Hime, where the land and horizon became solid areas of black and white, the black land decorated by a small skull and bones (priced at $95000 and already sold, see below).

Pace/MacGill Gallery (here): Brassai (1), Diane Arbus (1), Philip-Lorca DiCorcia (1), Paul Graham (1 series), Garry Winogrand (1), Weegee (1), Henri Cartier-Bresson (1), Robert Frank (1), Harry Callahan (1), Lucas Samaras (1). This booth was a collection of top tier images. I enjoyed seeing the large Brassai exhibition print out front (priced at $70000, see below) and the Callahan head from the 1950s.

McKee Gallery (here): Richard Learoyd (1)

David Zwirner Gallery (here): Christopher Williams (8). This was a solo booth, filled with Williams' recent conceptual works (2007-2009). There were cut away cameras and lenses, upside down shoes on a large format camera, and socks being put on feet. Each of the prints was priced at $32000, in editions of 10+4.

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