AIPAD – my dose of paradise
I spent four blissful hours at AIPAD on Thursday – The Association of International Photography Art Dealers’ annual exhibit at The Park Avenue Armory in NYC. If you are a photographer, curator, dealer or photographs afficionado and have not darkened this annual event’s doors, you can not begin to imagine what you are missing.
Approximately 70 dealers from all over the world set up booths to present the photographs they sell – whether vintage, historic or contemporary. With only a 15 minute break for lunch, I spent four solid hours taking my time, visiting every exhibitor’s display and enjoying being in a place that is about nothing but photographs. And nothing short of absolute bliss.
But I was instantly in familiar territory – within the first 10 minutes on the floor, I met Kim Bourus of Higher Pictures – Scott Peterman’s dealer. In that booth, I saw the very work by Sam Falls I had just included in my 3/11 blog posting “ARTnews continues the discussion”. Immediately after I saw eight new (2010) Cig Harvey images at the Joel Soroka Gallery and then at another gallery discovered that last year Harvey published a book of her work titled “The Hope Chest” and I spent a long time looking at it.
The best single moment for me was seeing my first arrowroot print – an Atget from 1921 of a scene on L’ile Saint-Louis. When I got back to my computer to look up exactly what that means, I found that some photographers thought it gave their work better color and detail. Every time I go to AIPAD, I see historic processes photographs by the great photographers – and opportunities to study them are important occasions for a photographs dealer based in Maine.
The “master photographer prize” of the show goes to Irving Penn as far as I’m concerned. Was there ever a photographer who created more consistently arresting images than Penn? Every time I saw an image of his at AIPAD I knew the Penn “handwriting” immediately – the clarity, the drama, the absolute originality – his work jumped off the walls as the work of a master. AIPAD does that for you – there is so much classic and contemporary work being presented for comparison, it’s the best place to understand what makes the giants of the medium tower above everyone else.
The next best thing is discovering new (to me) contemporary photographers. My favorite discovery this year was Kamil Vojnar – a very new artist on the scene and represented by VERVE Gallery of Photography in Santa Fe, NM. I’m going to do a separate blog posting on him in the next week, but here’s a sneak preview of his style:
Along with this Vojnar, here is the short list of photographs I saw at AIPAD that I would snap up in a minute if I had a pocketful of cash:
AIPAD is an extraordinary opportunity to see the masters’ work – I had a blast seeing some J.H. Lartigue prints at Halsted Gallery (Michigan). His “Bibi at Eden Rock” is an ektacolor print that is almost too beautiful to bear. If I owned this image I would never tire of its pastel power -and even though it is very different from any other Lartigue I’ve seen, it is unforgettable.
Masao Yamamoto – his exquisite Nakazora #1151 with its tiny hint of blue on the butterfly wings (4.5×7.5 silver print/mixed media) is only $1200. His work was represented by five exhibiting galleries at AIPAD.
Susan Paulsen, represented by Deborah Bell Photographs has a show opening fall 2011 called “Sarah Rhymes with Clara” and the book and works I saw at AIPAD are standouts. This young artist works hard and it shows. I will be very interested in following her work through the years ahead.
Keith De Lellis Gallery has a show up now “Paesaggio – Post-War Italian Landscape Photography” that is simply inspired. I noticed the ad in PHOTOGRAPH with the 1955 image by Augusto Cantamessa “Breve orrizonte” and saw the print at AIPAD. I’ll take it.
Rita Bernstein, represented by Gallery 339 (Philadelphia) had a show there last fall called “Ghost of Summer”. Her 10″x10″ (liquid silver emulsion applied to Japanese Gampi paper) images are terrific, very beautifully presented and are a steal at $1200.
Catherine Edelman Gallery had a lot of work by Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison. Talk about original. I was unaware of this couple, but I have a feeling I’m in the minority. Surrealist, uniquely crafted work that I would love to own.
Pentti Sammallahti (for a feast, visit this link at Nailya Alexander Gallery) is an artist I discovered at the last AIPAD I attended and I recognized his work immediately. I would kill for a (very reasonably priced) print of ” Paanajarvi, Karelia, 1992, Dog Chasing Bird”.
“Chicago, 1959″ a silver gelatin print by Kenneth Josephson joined my list. Josephson is represented by five galleries but this link is to the Stephen Daiter Gallery (IL).
I don’t think you could name a master photographer whose work is not represented at AIPAD. A major high point for me was viewing the three Hill & Adamson calotypes and salt prints from the 1840′s. I’ve never seen originals of their work, so couldn’t believe my good fortune.
So… AIPAD – land of discovery of the new, and endless opportunity to see historic works from the beginning days of photography. The four hours I spent there doesn’t end when I walk out the Armory door, I can assure you. What’s not to like? For $35 including a thick show directory and catalog, it’s a steal.