Archive for November, 2008

Upcoming Lecture series at MoMA, begins November 25th: “The True, the Beautiful, and the Good: Reconsiderations in a Postmodern, Digital Era”

From the MoMA Adult Education page, these interesting talks on November 25, December 2 and December 9, as follows:

The True, the Beautiful, and the Good: Reconsiderations in a Postmodern, Digital Era

Theater 1 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 1), T1

November 25
Kinds and Degrees of Truths. Moderated by Peter Galison, Pellegrino University Professor in the History of Science and Physics, Harvard University

December 2
Beauty and Its Successors. Moderated by Paola Antonelli, Curator, Department of Architecture and Design, The Museum of Modern Art

December 9
The Good: Seen through the Prisms of Biology, Culture, and History. Moderated by Antonio Damasio, David Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience, and Director, Brain and Creativity Institute, University of Southern California

In this unprecedented lecture series, world-renowned psychologist Howard Gardner offers an extended reflection on the concepts of Truth, Beauty, and the Good in a postmodern, digital age. Drawing from philosophy, history, natural sciences, and cultural theory, Gardner analyzes how a sophisticated understanding of the power and limitations of these concepts can come about; and how best to understand what is essential, expendable, or deceptive about truth, beauty, goodness, and their opposites.

Howard Gardner is widely considered one of the foremost psychologists working today. He is the author of over twenty books translated into twenty-seven languages, and several hundred articles. Gardner is best known in educational circles for his theory of multiple intelligences, a critique of the notion that there exists but a single human intelligence that can be assessed by standard psychometric instruments. Building on his studies of intelligence, Gardner is also the author of Leading Minds, Changing Minds, and Extraordinary Minds. He is the John H. and Elisabeth A. Hobbs Professor of Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Among numerous honors, Gardner received a MacArthur Prize Fellowship in 1981. In 1990, he was the first American to receive the University of Louisville’s Grawemeyer Award in Education and in 2000 he received a Fellowship from the John S. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He has received honorary degrees from twenty-two colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad.

This program is supported by The Fannie and Stephen Kahn Charitable Foundation.

Purchase Tickets ticket icon

Tickets ($10; members $8; students, seniors, and staff of other museums $5) can be purchased online, or at the Museum’s lobby information desk and Film desk.

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Tonight in NYC: Phyllis Galembo speaks at NYU

At 7 pm tonight, photographer Phyllis Galembo will present an illustrated lecture: “Magic of the Masquerade: Africa and the Caribbean” at La Maison Francaise, 16 Washington Mews (corner of University Place).

Galembo’s lecture is presented in conjunction with the exhibitions “The Poetics of Cloth: African Textiles/Recent Art” at the Grey Art Gallery, “The Essential Art of African Textiles: Design Without End” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and “Shrines and Masquerades” at Washington Square East Galleries, which includes the work of Ms. Galembo.

Galembo’s major exhibition “West African Masquerade” was recently on view at George Eastman House, as well as “Masquerade, A Decade” at Steven Kasher Gallery in NYC.

To read the press release for her Eastman House exhibition, click here. To learn the details of bringing this exhibition to your venue, click here.

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BOOK COVERS! “50 Books 50 Covers” at AIGA NYC through November 28, and “Imitation, Influence…and Coincidence” on view at the Boston Public Library through December 31, 2008

Karl Baden of Covering Photography wrote to inform me of the exhibition about books currently on view at the Boston Public Library:

“Just wanted to make sure you were aware of the exhibition ‘Imitation, Influence… and Coincidence’, at Boston Public Library’s Rare Books Exhibition Space, up through December 31st, 2008. The show will appeal to anyone interested in the history of photography, book cover design and popular culture.

For those of you who live too far away to be unable to view ‘Imitation, Influence… and Coincidence’ in the real world, you may view a virtual tour of the exhibition, complete with photographs and text. It’s not the same as actually attending, but it’s probably the next best thing.

From the BPL website:
Covering Photography — Through Dec. 31 in the Rare Books Dept., Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. An exhibit of books and book covers curated by photographer Karl Baden. The exhibit explores the influence of iconic photographs on book cover design by comparing book covers from Baden’s own collection that he believes were either directly appropriated or influenced by famous photographs, with book illustrations of the original photographs, as the photographer meant them to be seen.
Being obsessed with book jacket design myself, COVERING PHOTOGRAPHY.COM, one of my favorite sites. The home page to the website/archive states “Covering Photography is a web-based archive and resource for the study of the relationship between the history of photography and book cover design. The images / book covers contained in our database may be accessed via a number of categories including by Photographer, Author, Publisher, Publication Date and Designer.”
Don’t miss reading Karl Baden’s INTRODUCTION, which I’ll paste here:
The idea for ‘Covering Photography’ first occurred to me in 2002. I had fallen into the habit of haunting secondhand bookstores, spending hours searching, mostly without success, for classic photography books I couldn’t afford when I was younger, and are now as rare as hen’s teeth. While prowling the stacks, I began to notice familiar images from the History of Photography on the covers of novels, textbooks and volumes of poetry; books whose nominal subject matter didn’t necessarily have a literal correspondence with the often iconic photographs that graced their jackets. Curious about this metaphorical relationship between cover and content, I began to assemble a collection that currently numbers more than 1,500 volumes, includes over 350 photographers, and spans the history of the medium, from Niépce, Daguerre and Fox Talbot through Nan Goldin, Cindy Sherman, Carrie Mae Weems and other established contemporary practitioners. Also included in this collection is the work of a number of individuals who, though not primarily known as photographers, have produced photographic, or photographically-based, work which has had an impact on the medium. Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol are two such examples. Eudora Welty, best known as a writer, is another.In the Fall of 2005, Boston College’s Instructional Design and eTeaching Services the undertook the construction of a database and hosting of a website that would allow anyone with a computer and an internet connection to access the collection via five primary categories: Photographer, Author, Publisher, Publication date and Designer.

In the year that followed, covers were scanned, data was collected and cross-referenced, consultants were consulted. Now, within the original five categories, additional information may be found regarding Image Title, Book Genre (novel, poetry, etc), Photo Genre (documentary, portrait, etc) and Group (Photo-Secession, FSA, Magnum, etc). Also noted are instances where two or more books use versions of the same image for their cover design.

During it’s transformation from photograph to book cover, the original image is often cropped, colored, reversed or otherwise altered to fit the aesthetic intent of the designer or the more practical concerns of the publisher. In some cases the image has been re-staged by another photographer, or even copied into another medium. All this manipulation prompts the question: How is a photograph, initially conceived as an independent aesthetic object, re-used as a visual cipher for a book’s subject, or as an attention-getting sales device; i.e., how does a shift in context affect a photograph’s meaning? There is no simple answer to this question. In truth, the relationship between cover image and book content runs the gamut, from strictly literal to highly symbolic.

Clearly, the main determining factor in the outcome of this porocess is the designer of the cover: Most designers rummage through monographs and anthologies of photographs as a matter of course, in search of source material and inspiration. A designer can choose to respect the integrity of an image, and use it unaltered, or simply see it as another visual prop, to be manipulated as need arises, in order to fit parameters posed by layout, typography and, last but not least, budget. (I must note at this point that I neither make nor imply any judgment concerning the ‘ethics’ of how a photograph is re-used. It is all interesting to me).

A second determining factor in image use is book content. A biography, for example, will often have a photo of its subject on the cover; whether that photo is by Richard Avedon or a more obscure talent, it’s connection to the book’s main theme is direct and precise. Similarly, books about global strife and violent conflict may employ images by Robert Capa, W. Eugene Smith, James Nachtwey or similarly well-known war photographers on their covers, but the relationship of those images to text, down to the specific war and battle, is usually a linear one. Other topics allow more wiggle room.

Metaphoric potential increases when a book’s subject involves, say, love and/or sex, particularly when poetry is the form. Verse, by it’s nature, has a more abstract relationship to literary content, and the juxtapositional possibilities of cover and subject for a volume of poetry are often limited only by the designer’s imagination. Karl Blossfeldt and Eugene Atget both seem popular choices for poetry, romance and memoir. Photos by Bruce Davidson or André Kertész contribute urban sophistication and a sense of mystery to romance and seduction, while Brassai adds a gritty realism (Photographs from Davidson’s early ‘Brooklyn Gang‘ series are by far the most popular book cover choice of his many bodies of work; his iconic image of two teens necking in the back seat of a car appears on the softcover editions of at least three books).

If a cover idea calls for nudity (or what passes for nudity in mainstream publishing), the list of photographic candidates is long, ranging (alphabetically) from E. J. Bellocq through Edward Weston. One of the most striking uses of the human form on book jackets comes from Bill Brandt’s 1961 opus, ‘Perspective of the Nude’; work from which can be found on the covers of at least a half-dozen titles.

Although the notion of how the ‘idea’ of the original photograph relates to the content of the book still constitutes the core of this collection, I have expanded the philosophical parameters of the collection to include books where the relationship is more direct. Inclusivity, I feel, is more conducive to increasing knowledge.

‘Covering Photography’ is by it’s nature a work in progress, and meant to be interactive. Titles are added on a regular basis, and commentary is encouraged, whether it refers to the site as a whole, to individual photographers or to any of the covers (every page, including the home page, contains a link to post comments). Because the site, due to my own background, emphasizes a photohistorical point of view, I am particularly interested in comments which approach the material from a literary or book design context. My hope is that this website and database may function as an alternative, albeit atypical, take on the nexus of literature, graphic design and photographic history. Karl Baden”

Note: Portions of the above introduction were originally published in Eye Magazine, Issue No. 59.

Continue reading on the site as Karl shares the “Collection Parameters” “Guidelines for Searching” and more.

Thank you, Karl, for creating and maintaining such an important archive!

PS to those in NYC: One of my favorite shows of the year, “50 Books 50 Covers” closed November 26th at the AIGA National Design Center:

This exhibition showcases selections from the “AIGA 50 Books/50 Covers” competition, which aims to identify the 50 best-designed books and book covers of the year. Selections were made by a distinguished jury and become part of the AIGA Design Archives, where images, full credits, project statements and jurors’ comments for all selections are available.

The exhibition will be on display at the AIGA National Design Center in New York.

Gallery hours:

Monday through Thursday: 11:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.
Friday: 11:00 a.m–5:00 p.m.

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Jonas Bendiksen in conversation at Aperture Gallery in NYC, November 24

From the Aperture e-blast:

“On Monday, November 24, Magnum Photographer Jonas Bendiksen will be in conversation with prominent author and editor of the Paris Review Philip Gourevitch about Bendiksen’s latest book The Places We Live (Aperture, 2008), a unique and powerful portrait of slum life today introduced by Gourevitch. A multimedia exhibition of this work is now on view at the Nobel Peace Center, Oslo, Norway, until January 2009.

Don’t miss this thoughtful discussion at Aperture Gallery! Jonas Bendiksen will also be available to sign copies of his book.”

From the event website:

Jonas Bendiksen and Philip Gourevitch
Conversation

6:30 p.m.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Aperture Gallery
547 West 27th Street, 4th floor
New York, New York
(212) 505-5555

FREE
Aperture presents an important conversation between Magnum photographer Jonas Bendiksen and noted author Philip Gourevitch. Their discussion will focus on the subject of Bendiksen’s recent and remarkable book, The Places We Live, which documents life in slums around the world.

2008 has witnessed a major shift in the way people across the world live: for the first time in human history more people live in cities than in rural areas. This triumph of the urban does not entirely represent progress though, as the number of people living in urban slums—often in abject conditions—will soon exceed one billion.

Gourevitch writes in the book’s introduction, “Here are whole families, and all their belongings and their relationships, unfurled before us and at the same time engulfing us as we look in….To see these lives, you must enter their space, and Bendiksen leads you in….You are not simply the viewer, much less a voyeur: you are what the people in the picture are looking at as you look at them.”

Jonas Bendiksen is a member of Magnum Photos and recipient of numerous awards, including the 2003 Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography. His photographs have appeared in National Geographic, GEO, Newsweek, and the Sunday Times Magazine, among many other publications.

Philip Gourevitch is an author, journalist, and editor of the Paris Review. He has published articles for publications including Harper’s and The New York Times Magazine, and is a staff writer for The New Yorker. His books include Standard Operating Procedure and We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda.

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FotoWeek continues: Bruce Gilden speaks in DC, November 19th, 5:30 p.m.

SO much going on at FotoWeek DC! I hope you have all had a look at the offerings and are making plans now to attend the 2009 Festivities!

As part of FotoWeek DC, Bruce Gilden will be speaking at 5:30 at the School of Communications, Weschler Theater, Mary Graydon Center at American University

4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, room 31 (Free Parking is available after 5 pm in the Sports Center Garage)

“As part of the Camera as Catalyst Magnum Photographers Series, Bruce Gilden will

lecture on his work.

Gilden’s curiosity about strong characters and individual peculiarities has been

present from the beginning of his career. His first major project, which he

worked on until 1986, focused on Coney Island, and on the intimacy of the

sensual, fat or skinny bodies sprawled across the legendary New York beach.

During these early years Gilden also photographed in New Orleans during

its famous Mardi Gras festival. Then, in 1984,he began to work in Haiti,

following his fascination with voodoo places, rites and beliefs there; his

book Haiti was published in 1996.

In June 1998 Gilden joined Magnum. He returned to his roots and tackled a new

approach to urban spaces, specifically the streets of New York City, where he

had been working since 1981. His work culminated in the publication of Facing

New York (1992), and later A Beautiful Catastrophe (2005); getting ever

closer to his subject, he established an expressive and theatrical style that

presented the world as a vast comedy of manners. His project After the Off,

with text by the Irish writer Dermot Healey, explored rural Ireland and its

craze for horseracing. Gilden’s next book, Go, was a penetrating look at

Japan’s dark side. Images of the homeless and of Japan’smafia gangs

easily bypassed the conventional visual clichés of Japanese culture.

Gilden, who has travelled and exhibited widely around the world, has

received numerous awards, including the European Award for

Photography, three National Endowment for the Arts fellowships,

and a Japan Foundation fellowship.

He lives in New York City. (www.magnumphotos.com”

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PAUL FUSCO Talk/Booksigning November 21 at National Arts Club, NYC

From the Aperture e-blast:
PAUL FUSCO
TALK AND BOOK SIGNING
Coinciding with the release of PAUL FUSCO: RFK

Join Magnum photographer Paul Fusco for a discussion on his illustrious career coinciding with the release of Paul Fusco: RFK (Aperture, September 2008), published on the fortieth anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination in Los Angeles, while campaigning for the presidential nomination. This long-awaited follow-up to Fusco’s acclaimed RFK Funeral Train, a body of work heralded as a contemporary classic, features over seventy never-before-seen images, many selected from the untapped treasure trove of slides that comprise the Library of Congress’s Look Magazine Photograph Collection.

Paul Fusco will discuss the spirit behind these powerful images capturing the thousands of Americans from every section of society—black, white, rich, poor—who stood by the railroad tracks to pay their final respects to Bobby Kennedy. Fusco also photographed the mourners gathered at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, and the dramatic night burial in Arlington National Cemetery with members of the Kennedy family. Paul Fusco: RFK helps solidify the status of this classic body of work as one of the great efforts in photographic reportage and an incomparable document of this pivotal moment in U.S. history.

Paul Fusco (born in Leominster, Massachusetts, 1930), a member of Magnum Photos since 1974, began his career photographing for the U.S. Signal Core during the Korean War. He studied photojournalism at Ohio University and his work has been widely published and exhibited, including exhibitions at the Photographers’ Gallery, London, and the International Festival of Photojournalism, Perpignan, France.

WHEN AND WHERE:

Friday, November 21
8:00 p.m.

National Arts Club
15 Gramercy Park South
New York, NY
(212) 475-5555

Free

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John Balessari Lecture at the Whitney Museum, November 20th, 7 p.m.

From the WHITNEY MUSEUM’s Educational Programs web page:

The Walter Annenberg Annual Lecture
John Baldessari
Thursday, November 20, 7 pm

In honor of the late Walter H. Annenberg, philanthropist, patron of the arts, and former ambassador, the Whitney Museum of American Art established the Walter Annenberg Annual Lecture to advance this country’s understanding of its art and culture. In this fourth Annenberg Lecture, John Baldessari will speak about his work in conversation with Adam D. Weinberg, the Whitney’s Alice Pratt Brown Director. For more than fifty years, Baldessari has masterfully juxtaposed painting, photography, sculpture, and other media to probe how meaning is created through images, objects, and text.

Tickets are no longer available online. You may be able to pick up tickets at the Museum Admissions Desk on the night of the event.

This lecture is made possible in part by generous gifts from the friends and family of Walter H. Annenberg.

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