Archive for September, 2008

Fall at the Griffin Museum: Exhibitions, Bookmaking Workshop and MORE

The ambitious GRIFFIN MUSEUM in Winchester, just outside of Boston, hosts three exhibitions commencing on the 11th through November 2nd as well as a fourth exhibition off site at its Atellier Gallery at The Stoneham Theatre. Here is the roster of exhibitions, workshop and artist discussions:

Anna Tomczak‘s exhibition SANCTUARY, opens on the 11th with a reception for the artist from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. Related events include a two-day book making workshop with Anna on September 12 & 13th “on various methods of integrating photographs into the surface of a variety of art papers, cloth, canvas, plexi, or metal. You will learn skills you can continue to use in art and bookmaking in your home or studio.”

Barbara Hitchcock, the respected Curator of the Polaroid Corporation Collection and author of Anna’s book with have a public dialog with Tomczak on September 14th at 7 p.m.

Also on view at at, or organized by, The Griffin:

The McCann Family, Photographs by Karen Davis with a members-only opening preceding the public opening at 6:15 p.m. The exhibition continues through November 2nd.

PINS, Photographs by Pelle Cass in the Atelier Gallery at the Griffin, with an artist talk on October 1 at 7 p.m.; the exhibition continues through November 2.

On view at The Atelier Gallery at the Stoneham Theatre:

Hudson Valley of the Dolls, Photographs by Charise Isis opened on September 4th and continues through October 18, with an artists reception on October 5th from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.

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NEXT week in Minneapolis! Returning to Art, and Commerce with Exhibitions and Lectures

I’ll be in Minneapolis September 9-21st to visit family and friends, and consult with photographers on their presentation and marketing efforts.

During that trip, several key things are happening in the community:

The LEE FRIEDLANDER: PHOTOGRAPHY exhibition is on view at The Minneapolis Institute of Art through Sunday, September 14th. Not to be missed! The museum is open until 5, late night is Thursday (until 9). Special tickets are necessary for this exhibition.

And, next Wednesday and Thursday, September 10 & 11th across the MIA patio, the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) brings lectures and exhibitions that I am anxious to share with readers. Creativity, imagery in the media, and more. Another interesting exhibition, and TWO EVENINGS of LECTURES:

WEDNESDAY, September 10th: KEVIN SWANEPOEL, President of The One Club, joins the community for a discussion of the award-winning work of The One Show. This lecture is held in conjunction with MCAD’s hosting the touring exhibition THE ONE SHOW: Advertising + Design + Interactive, “the world’s best work in print, radio and television, design, interactive, and new media as selected by The One Club, the leading non-profit organization for the recognition and promotion of excellence in advertising.”

Click here to view a preview of the works featured in the exhibition. Click here for MCAD gallery hours and directions.

Reception: 5:30, lecture at 7 p.m. in Auditorium 150 at MCAD.


THURSDAY, September 11th: MARY VIRGINIA SWANSON and DEBRA WEISS will bring their presentation from PDN On The Road to the Twin Cities! From the ASMP-MSP website:

“For years a photographer was either a commercial shooter or in the art market. Sure you could dabble in one or the other market but you risked diluting your brand and doing neither very well. You had to decide, specialize and commit to one or the other: Art or Commerce. There are two words to for that kind of thinking: OLD SCHOOL.

In today’s market, today’s reality, the art and the commercial markets can merge and complement each other. In fact being involved in both can prove to be a competitive if not a financial advantage.

Sound good, sure, but one question remains: “How do you do it?“ As with any marketing effort in this hyper competitive world, participation in multiple markets is not necessarily an easy move, it has got to be done well, with nuance and smarts. The good news? Have we got a meeting for you!

ASMP-MSP and ADBASE are proud to present two of the leading experts on the subject of multiple market promotion: Mary Virginia Swanson and Debra Weiss.

They have put together a program packed with imagery and information that has received rave reviews. You will discover how to navigate and effectively promote yourself in both the commercial and fine art markets. They will guide you through the similarities and differences between these two market segments. Participants will gain insights on maintaining market awareness and increasing business savvy, and in-depth information regarding how to research target clients. Mary and Debra will share work from photographers active in both arenas, including those who have successfully crossed over from one market to the other.

Mary Virginia Swanson makes it her goal to guide photographers towards their strengths and to identify appreciative audiences for their work. She is considered an expert in the area of marketing and licensing fine art. During her tenure heading special projects at Magnum Photos, she recognized the opportunities for artists to develop second markets for their work and founded SWANSTOCK, an innovative agency that managed licensing rights for fine art photographers. Swanson currently works with photographers as a marketing consultant, and is a much sought-after portfolio reviewer. Her seminars, workshops and public lectures on the subject of marketing opportunities have aided countless photographers in moving their careers to the next level.

Debra Weiss has been an agent for some of the top names in the business, a consultant for Black Book and did a stint as CEO of APA National. Besides lecturing, seminars and moderating panels, she now primarily works with photographers one-on-one and guides a photographer’s career as an artist and a business. Debra presents seminars annually at PhotoPlus Expo and is a frequent guest speaker at Art Center College of Design. She recently curated an exhibit of the Best of The International Photography Awards 2005, which has traveled to nine countries. Debra is curator of the PLUS (Picture Licensing Universal System) Coalition Web site and is also the PLUS Industry Committee Coordinator.

Well there it is, this will be an amazing meeting and a mind opening experience, can you seriously think of not attending? We don’t think so, see you there!”

PLEASE NOTE: STUDENTS PAY ONLY $5.00! I look forward to meeting many of you there!

Date/Time: 11 September 2008 …note: Date Change!
Social hour: 6-7
Meeting: 7
Admission: ASMP-MSP & MCP Members: $10
MCAD Students w/id: Free
Students w/id: $5
Non-Members: $20
Location: Minneapolis College of Art and Design
Auditorium 150
2501 Stevens Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN. 55405

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UPDATE: Suzanne Opton’s billboards of soldiers denied space near St. Paul Convention

9/5/08 George Slade sent me this note:

An alternative contract was signed with another billboard company, so one of Suzanne’s billboards went up, just as the RNC is packing up to leave town.

Suzanne Opton has been working on a compelling project making portraits of soldiers; I hope you know the work. She had expanded the project to billboards, and had planned on showing them during the conventions.

From a press release I have received:


Powerful portraits of American soldiers between tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan were scheduled to be displayed on billboards in downtown St. Paul next week, but the billboard company has abruptly canceled the contract on the eve of the Republican National Convention.
The intimate images of soldiers’ faces by New York-based photographer Suzanne Opton are part of a series called “Soldier Billboard Project.” The photos were taken in 2004 and 2005 at Fort Drum in upstate New York, with the permission of the soldiers and their commanders. The images are included in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum, The Cleveland Museum of Art, the Library of Congress and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and have been widely exhibited in the U.S. and Europe. In addition, Opton’s work has appeared in Fortune and Newsweek. The Billboard Project is sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA).
The billboard company, CBS Outdoor, said its decision was based on “how the image would be perceived by a motorist passing it in transit.” In an email to Opton this week, CBS Outdoor Executive Vice President of Marketing Jodi Senese wrote, “The reason we have advised you that we cannot post these as billboards is that out-of-context (neither in a museum setting or website) the images, as stand-alone highway or city billboards, appear to be deceased soldiers. The presentation in this manner could be perceived as being disrespectful to the men and women in our armed forces.”
All of the soldiers are very much alive. Far from being disrespectful, the images are vivid reminders of the hundreds of thousands of soldiers serving the country. The series simply shows them in a more vulnerable pose than the public is accustomed.
Describing the project, Opton said, “My son and his friends would have been of draft age had there been a draft, though none of them volunteered for military service. Since the war began, I wondered about the young men and women who opted to serve and put their lives on the line. I wondered about what they would experience at war and how they would manage their transition to civilian life. In making these portraits I wanted to look into the face of a young person who had seen something unforgettable. And I wanted to make that a serious and intimate view, the way I would look at my own son.”
Upon learning this week that the billboard contract had been canceled, the mother of one of the men who was photographed said, “Viewing these portraits of soldiers causes one to pause and think of the many sacrifices and efforts these men and women have experienced to protect us and defend this great country. The portraits are a stark reminder of the reality of it all.” Gayanne Birkholz added, “For me, looking at their faces serves also as a reminder to remember our service men and women and to thank them for all they do and have done. I am disappointed that the billboards have been canceled, and strongly hope the company will reconsider.”
“Soldier Billboard Project” was launched earlier this month in Denver, where an image of a solider who served for 120 days in Afghanistan is on view at Lincoln Street between 19th and 20th Avenue. That location, also controlled by CBS Outdoor, was made possible through a partnership with the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art. Opton originally lined up partners in four additional locations: Minneapolis/St. Paul (Forecast Public Art), Houston (DiverseWorks ArtSpace), Atlanta (Atlanta Contemporary Art Center) and Miami.
“We have every intention of moving forward with our plans,” said Susan Reynolds, curator of the Billboard Project. “Barring these images from billboards in the Twin Cities, or any city for that matter, not only deprives the public of seeing these beautiful portraits, but it isan insult to the young soldiers who posed for these pictures.”
The nine images that make up “Soldier Billboard Project” are on view at

An article in the Minnesota Independent appeared today and can be read at:

And another article appears in

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