M+B is pleased to announce Alex Prager: Face in the Crowd, an exhibition featuring new large-scale color photographs of elaborately-staged crowd scenes and a film by the same name that explore the notion of the individual within the masses, the boundary between public and private space and the psychological complexities of human interaction. This body of work was created specifically for Prager’s first major solo museum exhibition in the United States at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. that opened in November 2013. Alex Prager: Face in the Crowd will run at M+B from January 25 to March 8, 2014.
For ten years, Prager has staged imaginary scenes for her camera—dream worlds in Technicolor, rife with tension and melodramatic fictions. Deftly blending archetypes from post-war America, her images have re-enacted and burlesqued media portrayals of women, drawing from classic Hollywood movies, fashion advertising and icons of documentary photography. Face in the Crowd expands on her tradition, but in her most ambitious and complex way to date. Blurring the line between fiction and reality, Prager directed the actions of hundreds of costumed actors on specially constructed sets creating congested public spaces including an airport terminal, a City Hall lobby, a beach and the Sunset 5 movie theatre. Densely detailed and shot from seemingly impossible vantage points, the work enacts psychological narratives of private and public revelation, repulsion, fear, personal safety and the desire for basic human interaction.
“I’m fascinated by the experience of being involved in other people’s lives accidentally,” Prager said, noting that her work has been influenced by time spent in busy cities such as New York and London. “Crowds have always been an interest of mine. It may look like a sea of people, but there are so many interesting stories, all colliding silently.”
The stories of the various characters within these crowds culminate in a new film, featuring actress Elizabeth Banks. Together, the film and the photographs uphold a portrait of the individual within the complexity of the larger crowd. Prager’s focus on this dynamic can be traced to specific influences: silent films like Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times; photographers Martin Parr, Garry Winogrand, Bruce Gilden and Helen Levitt; the darkness and the humor from Roy Andersson’s film Songs from the Second Floor; and the well- known children’s books Where’s Waldo? Throughout Face in the Crowd, each character maintains their own agency within their cinematic circumstances. In exploring the notion of identity and the performative aspects of public life, Prager has created a universe where the crowd that gathers is the true spectacle.
Alex Prager (b. 1979, Los Angeles) is a self-taught photographer and filmmaker who was inspired to take up photography after seeing the color images of William Eggleston. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and institutions worldwide, most prominently in Alex Prager: Face in the Crowd at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 2013 (Washington, D.C.), Alex Prager: Mise-en-scène at SCAD Museum of Art in 2013 (Savannah, GA), Alex Prager: Compulsion at FOAM Museum in 2012 (Amsterdam) and the New Photography 2010 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (New York). Major awards include the Paul Huf FOAM Award in 2012, the London Photography Award in 2006, and Prager’s short film Touch of Evil, commissioned by The New York Times Magazine, garnered her a 2012 Emmy Award. Prager’s work is held in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, North Carolina Museum of Art, Cincinnati Art Museum, Moderna Museet (Stockholm), Kunsthaus Zurich, among others. Alex Prager lives and works in Los Angeles.
Alex Prager: Face in the Crowd will run at M+B from January 25 to March 8, 2014.
For more information please contact Alexandra Wetzel at email@example.com.
M+B is located at 612 North Almont Drive
Los Angeles, California 90069
Phone 310.55. 0050
By Jim McKinniss
Stone Rose Gallery in the East Village Arts District of Long Beach is proud to present Fine Art Photography, Three One Person Exhibitions.
John Montich. “Multiple Sightings”.
Multiple images compressed to a single form have always provided me with thought provoking results. Whether through multi-panel presentation or a multi-image overlay, the tension, sarcasm or satire is elevated. Utilizing alternate processes, non-traditional film techniques and high quality darkroom prints has always brought rich results.
William Livingston, “Desert Discards”.
I take pictures simply to see how the scene I’ve composed in my viewfinder will look as a photograph. The images in “Desert Discards” were put together as Diptychs to juxtapose discarded neon signs from the Las Vegas Strip with abandoned structures off the highway from Los Angeles to Las Vegas in the Mojave Desert.
Ann Mitchell, “Meditative Spaces Found While Traversing the Razor’s Edge”.
This body of work is dedicated to exploring the essential characteristics of change. I wanted to make images about the real challenges we face in everyday life. Each morning we wake up and think of the world as a known quantity. We build a vision in our mind of what our life is and will be, but the truth is, life is more about change, and making peace with that idea is what this series of constructed images seeks to explore. With each image I’m pushing into the feelings that we experience when life changes radically. Fear, happiness, confusion, insight, joy…all of these are on the path we are often forced to take.
While my first inspirations were based on my own experiences, I’ve worked to go beyond the specifics through the use of archetypal elements such as water, nature and the occasional human character. Along the way, I started to create my own set of symbolic references: home, the ocean, trees and the tangle of vines and roots play repeating roles within this series. At the core of each image is also an exploration of the strong push and pull of longing: whether it’s the longing to find a safe place, or even to feel that we are grounded in some manner.
Inspired by a love of surrealist painters, such as Magritte, these images often come to me through meditation, dreams, memories and intuitive explorations. My titles are there as guides, rather than explanation, to keep the possibilities open for the viewer. I’ve chosen to print them on matte paper to further their illustration quality.
The Exhibition: January 25th through February 22nd.
Opening Reception, Saturday, January 25th, 7-9 p.m.
The Gallery is located at 342 East 4th Street, Long Beach, CA
Phone: (562) 436-1600
Wednesday and Thursday, 12-6 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 12-7 p.m.
By Jim McKinniss
The Fahey/Klein Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of large-scale photographs from legendary photojournalist and Hollywood photographer, Phil Stern. An intimate chronicler of Hollywood and the Jazz scene, Phil Stern’s iconic photographs and remarkable 75-year career convey an extraordinary access and mutual trust between the photographer and his luminous subjects. Phil Stern pioneered a behind-the-scene approach to documenting Hollywood that contributed to an entire era’s visual vocabulary of cool and still feels undeniably authentic today.
Phil Stern’s career in photography began early on, as a high school student growing up in New York, Stern swept floors in a Canal Street photo studio while working nights taking pictures for the notoriously noir Police Gazette. Phil Stern enlisted in the Army in 1942, and joined the ranks of the elite “Darby’s Rangers” as a combat photographer. Stern was well known among his war colleagues for putting himself front and center as he documented battles in North Africa and Sicily. The credit stamp “Photo by PHIL STERN”, which ran alongside his images in the armed forces newspaper Stars and Stripes, became synonymous with a truly genuine image taken under fire by a daring young photographer. Wounded in action, at the Battle of El Guettar, in Tunisia, Phil Stern was awarded a Purple Heart. After returning home to Los Angeles, he was assigned to cover the homecoming of Darby’s Rangers for LIFE magazine, which helped usher in his second career, as a Hollywood documentary photographer. Phil Stern began working for Look, LIFE, and Collier’s to chronicle what would become a shared American history.
Phil Stern’s straight forward approach and charming demeanor earned him all-access to President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural gala, studio mogul Sam Goldwyn’s inner sanctum, on-set lunches with Frank Sinatra, and holidays in Acapulco with John Wayne and Gary Cooper. Phil Stern photographed on over a hundred movie sets, including the legendary films Citizen Kane, A Star is Born, The Wild Ones, Guys and Dolls, and West Side Story. Stern also became a fixture at studio sessions with Jazz superstars such as Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Art Tatum, and Dizzy Gillespie and shot more than sixty album covers.
“Stern satisfies our affections and erases the distance between his subject and his audience; he draws us intimately close to the American immortals of the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s, freezing in still frame an embodied cultural history. These are the entertainers, ball players, movie directors, jazz musicians, and Hollywood debutantes who dazzled the pages of countless magazines and weekly readers. Several decades later, where we find an entirely new cohort of American idols, we take a renewed interest in the work of Phil Stern and how his philosophy and approach provided not only a timeless body of work, but also a particular insight to what he considers ‘the human element’”. (“Phil Stern and the Human Element”, Dan Cardiel, Manor House Quarterly, Fall 2012)
In 2001, Phil Stern donated his catalogue of extraordinary Hollywood images to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. His photographs have been collected and exhibited internationally, most recently, in July 2013, “PHIL STERN: Sicily 1943” an exhibition of Stern’s photographs documenting the invasion of Sicily at the Credito Siciliano Gallery. At the age of 94, Phil Stern traveled to Catania, Italy to be honored in conjunction with the exhibition. Phil Stern’s publications include, Phil Stern’s Hollywood (Knopf, 1993) and Phil Stern: A Life’s Work (powerHouse Books, 2003). Phil Stern lives in Los Angeles.
Fahey/Klein Gallery is located at 148 North La Brea, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Phone: (323) 934-2250
This show runs January 16 through February 22, 2014
Reception for the Artist Thursday, January 16, 7-9 p.m.
By Jim McKinniss
Long time Photo Exchange member Ellen Butler is presenting photography from her current project in the show “Zen and Now” at Utopia in Long Beach, CA. I asked Ellen to tell me about her work. Her response is printed below.
My background in sociology has influenced much of my photography over the years, but this particular body of work derives from my interest in Buddhism and the fact that it really is always the present moment, no more, no less. The past is gone, the future’s not yet arrived . . . we are here now.
While that is true, we frequently don’t live as if it were, but rather escape in our heads to the past or future. The images in this body of work would not exist if I hadn’t been fully in the present moment; I’d never have noticed the delightful shapes, textures, colors or patterns. Once I started the series, I was compelled to look more carefully and see more fully whatever was right before my eyes. Photographing these images is not meditation, but it is wonderful Buddhist inspired practice.
Some of the images are taken from existing work by other artists: Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate, James Turrell’s Skyscape, Frank Gehry’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago . . . even a custom car in a car show. Some are the floor of the Broad Gallery at Santa Monica City College when an excellent exhibition of work by indigenous Australians was on the walls, and one is my own garage floor, spied when a wet bucket was lifted. A couple are an alley driveway, first seen when walking home from a run; that was such a wonderful find I returned to photograph it more than once. One is my car, discovered while shooting documentary photographs for insurance purposes following an accident.
The point is, had I not been in present time, fully aware and really looking, I’d never have found these treasures. My hope is that in looking at them, others will learn to look more carefully, too, and learn to be more fully here . . . now.
Artist reception: January 25 from 4:00-6:00 pm
Exhibition dates: January 16 through March 8
Utopia is located at 445 E. First St, Long Beach, CA
By Jim McKinniss
Jonas Yip is a Los Angeles based photographer. I met Jonas at a print salon through the Open Show LA.
This set of images is from his project Paris: Dialog.
Modernists across the globe looked to Paris as the source of movements and ideas that revolutionized art in the 20th century. Photographer Jonas Yip (American, b. 1967) and his father, poet Wai-lim Yip (born in China in 1937), chose Paris to be the focal point of a dialogue between text and image, classical and modern, East and West, and father and son.
In his photographs of rain-washed streets and empty parks peopled by indistinct, ghostly figures, Jonas Yip has embraced the spontaneous and accidental. Unforeseen effects of homemade lenses, misaligned planes of focus, and light leaks have become part of the photographer’s palette—his language of expression.
Inspired by these photographs, Wai-lim Yip, influential poet, critic, and member of the Taiwanese avant-garde, composed minimalist poems that link the aesthetics of Classical Chinese poetry with mid-twentieth-century Anglo-American Imagism. With only a few words the verses conjure a mood of melancholy nostalgia, perhaps for the vibrantly intellectual Paris of the mid-twentieth century. Shown side by side, these evocative pictures and the poems presented in both Chinese and English, suggest a cross-cultural, multi-generational dialogue whereby image and text are mutually enriched.
—Sonya Quintanilla, Curator of Asian Art, San Diego Museum of Art
To see more of Jonas’ work visit his website: http://jonasyip.com/photography
By Jim McKinniss
Merry Karnowsky Gallery is proud to present Vivian Maier – A Life Discovered: Photographs
from the Maloof Collection. Unearthed by John Maloof in 2007 at a local auction house in
Chicago, Maier is only now beginning to be recognized as an iconic street photographer
from the 40’s, through the 70’s. A body of work that spans not only the US, but the globe,
Maier took more than 2,000 rolls of film, printed over 3,000 photographs and produced more
than 150,000 negatives representing the street life and architecture of New York, Chicago,
Los Angeles, and the American Southwest, as well as destinations as far off as Manila,
Bangkok, Beijing, Egypt, and Italy.
Invested in her bird’s eye view of the people who made industrious cities thrive and pulse, Maier captures gentle and
poignant moments between parents and children, the disenfranchised and forgotten, in a country on the verge of
social and political upheaval. Maier recorded historic landmarks and their demolition as developments were built to
replace them over several decades.
Maier’s ability to grab the right frame at exactly the right moment, with elements of lighting, movement and essence all aligning, is revealed in the remarkable fact that she seldom shot more than one picture of the same moment in time. An intensely private person who kept most of her work hidden, Maier also created a series of homemade documentary films and audio recordings that have yet to be released to the public.
Having worked as a nanny most of her adult life, Maier was described by those she cared for as “a free spirit, but also a proud soul,” – “a quasi ‘Mary Poppin’s’ figure.” She was, in the accounts of the families for whom she worked, very private, spending her days off walking the street taking photographs, most often with a Rolleiflex camera. At the end of her life Maier became impoverished, but several children she had cared for in the early 50’s pooled their money
together and paid for an apartment and other necessities in her later years. Unbeknownst to them, a storage locker that contained a slew of negatives Maier had secretly hidden away was auctioned off due to delinquent payments. Maier died in 2009 at the age of 83, before the extent of her legacy had been fully understood or revealed.
The Maloof collection is comprised of roughly 90% of Vivian Maier’s work, which has been meticulously reconstructed, archived and catalogued. The collection consists of 100,000 to 150,000 negatives, over 3,000 vintage prints, hundreds of rolls of film, home movies, audio tape interviews, original cameras of Vivian Maier, documents and various other items. The prints in the Karnowsky exhibition will consist of 100 plus pieces including silver gelatin prints in limited edition of 15, as well as 40 plus one-of-a-kind vintage prints, developed by Maier during her lifetime.
The book Vivian Maier: Street Photographer published by Powerhouse Books will also be available during the exhibition, and a feature-length documentary film about Maier and Maloof’s discovery of her work, titled Finding Vivian Maier, is scheduled for release in 2012. The opening reception at Merry Karnowsky Gallery will be filmed as part of the documentary film.
The exhibition will be hosted by actor and photographer Tim Roth, who will be in attendance
at the January 7th opening reception. John Maloof of the Maloof collection will also be in
Exhibition Dates: January 7 – January 28, 2012
Opening Reception: Saturday, January 7, 8-11pm
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 12 – 6pm
Merry Karnowsky Gallery is located at 170 S. LA BREA AVENUE • LOS ANGELES 90036
For more information, please contact Merry Karnowsky at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
or call 323.933.4408 Press Contact: Jessica O’Dowd firstname.lastname@example.org
By Jim McKinniss
All photos are copyright by Adrian Blachut.
Adrian Blachut is a Polish photographer who works with advertising agencies, small and large firms, architects, designers, designers, and owners. She create images and videos for the campaign advertising, brand promotion / place / product ads external, internal, and on the Internet.
You can see more of Adrian’s work at http://adrianblachut.com/
By Jim McKinniss.
This year, the 2014 photo l.a. has moved from Santa Monica to the LA Mart, located at 1933 Broadway, Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Photographic Art Exposition announces new location for 23rd annual event at the Historic LA Mart Building in Downtown Los Angeles.
photo l.a., the longstanding photographic art exposition, is proud to announce its 23rd edition in a new location: downtown at one of the most distinctive venues in Los Angeles – the historic LA Mart (1933 Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90007) built in 1958. photo l.a. is joining the massive celebration of the arts throughout the downtown area, where the L.A. Art Show and a large number of popular galleries will all be working in unison to drive a massive collaboration of the arts downtown precisely for the weekend of photo l.a.’s exposition.
The list of exhibitors is diverse, you can check them out here. The exhibition hours on Friday through Sunday are 11am to 7 pm. On Thursday, January 16, from 6pm – 9pm is the opening night benefit.
Cheers and welcome the start of the photographic New Year here on the Left Coast!