Leonard Freed, Flag Top

The Davison Art Center at Wesleyan University has purchased Leonard Freed’s Powder Ridge photographs from the Brill Gallery, North Adams

The Davison Art Gallery of Wesleyan University has purchased a collection of Leonard Freed’s photographs of the abortive second coming of the Woodstock Festival in the summer of 1970, planned to take place at the Powder Ridge Ski Resort near Middlefield, Connecticut, on July 30 and 31. Some of the most renowned rock stars of the time were scheduled to perform, including Joe Crocker, Allman Brothers, Janis Joplin, James Taylor, Van Morrison, Little Richard and Richie Havens. Local citizens, apprehensive about the large gathering of young people (30,000 tickets had been pre-sold), obtained a court order and forced the cancellation of the festival. The audience turned up anyway and entertained themselves.

Diane Arbus at the Tate Modern

Camera obscura. Despite its conversion into the hippest museum in London, the Tate Modern’s massive ugly building, unmistakably an old power station, could otherwise be one of Blake’s dark Satanic mills. In that guise it’s the perfect setting for three rooms lined with photographs by Diane Arbus. There would seem to be nothing new to say, or think, about Arbus’s scalding vision. She roamed the ordinary New York of commuters and shoppers, and yet somehow simply to have her eye settle on strangers transformed them.

Photography and Place at the Art Gallery of NSW

The Australian landscape seems to require photography. The question of who, how, where, how often and why thankfully remains open, at least among the eighteen photographers included in Photography and Place at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Australia, so conflicted about cities, is one of the most urbanized societies on earth, a situation which makes the looming question of the landscape all the more urgent. Wilderness will aways dominate the continent, never allowing settlements to be interspersed as they are in the United States or Europe. The land provokes sentimentality, poetry and bitterness. In the heart of the cities which cling to the coastal fringe, it can seem another universe until a dust storm, fire, flood or the daily violence of the sunlight reminds us of nature’s nonnegotiable and indifferent presence.

Leonard Freed, Worldview, at the Musée de la Photographie, Charleroi, Belgium

Leonard Freed was born on December 23, 1929 in Brooklyn, New York into a Jewish working-class family from Eastern Europe.

At the end of the 1940s, barely twenty years old, he began to travel around Europe, and in 1954 he returned to the United States. Here, like Robert Frank and and many others, he met Edward Steichen, director at the time of the photography department of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and showed him his first works on film. In this way he learned that photography was the right path for him to follow

Vermont Hippies! Photographs by Peter Simon and Rebecca Lepkoff at the Vermont Center for Photography, Brattleboro, VT

Vermont Hippies: Photographs by Peter Simon and Rebecca Lepkoff, an exhibit of some forty photographs of southern Vermont will be on view at the Vermont Center for Photography, 49 Flat Street, Brattleboro, July 2 to August 1. Since the 1930s Vermont has been a magnet for urban émigrés searching for their own Edens. During the 1960s and 70s, veterans of the peace and civil rights movements settled into nontraditional households. Outwardly, they were distinguished from their Vermont neighbors by their progressive views, long hair, and unconventional clothing. The repercussions of this influx of counter-culture is still strongly felt in Vermont today, even thought the photographs make it look like so long ago. Suzanne Flynt, a VCP Board Member said, “This exhibition will make you smile, or cringe, or even laugh out loud.”

Irish Travellers, Tinkers No More: Photographs and Traveller, a film by Alen MacWeeney (UPDATED, including audio: Traveller Liam Weldon sings “The Blue Tar Road”)

In his important collection of anthropological photography, Robert Gardner made clear the connection between the ethnographer’s record of life in western Papua or Ethiopia and the photojournalist’s observation of downtown Barcelona or Dallas. Alen MacWeeney’s Irish Travellers, Tinkers No More is one further document in this fluid branch of study. The travellers were and still are a constant presence in Ireland, where MacWeeney was born and raised, although, at least in the 1960’s when these photographs were made, a largely unseen one—this is, on purpose. A professional need, it seems, sucked Alen MacWeeney into their society, and he remained, to observe and experience it in depth. Now, after some forty years, this experience has been made public.

György Kepes: a Polaroid and a Reminiscence

This hypnotic light graphic, which was commissioned by the Polaroid Corporation, was done using a 20″ x 24″ Land camera.

It illustrates a few intriguing things about color perception in Polaroid technology and Mr. Kepes’s unique insight about how to make it effective within his own artistic methods and intentions. If the colors that are being photographed are somewhat achromatic, i.e., neutral, they appear to be more “real”, i.e., because the viewer is not searching his color memory to decide whether the colors resemble the vividness of a rose, for example. The gray gridded background, crossword puzzle on paper, ink-on canvas, Braille sample, half-silvered prism, reflections and cast shadows are virtually achromatic, in spite of the fact that this is a color photograph.

Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, the Condé Nast Years, 1923-1937

This important exhibition of Edward Steichen’s fashion and celebrity photography for Condé Nast, which will close soon in Toronto and continue on to Fort Lauderdale and Kansas City, emerged from an earlier, ambitious survey of his entire career, Edward Steichen: Lives in Photography, also organized by Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography and the Musée de Élysée. While researching that exhibition, the curators, William Ewing and Todd Brandow, discovered two thousand vintage prints from Steichen’s years at Vogue and Vanity Fair in the Condé Nast Archive, where they were catalogued and preserved to museum standards. These had never been exhibited before and presented an opportunity not to be missed.

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