I went with my buddy the location scout – he got into that after a career as an assistant. We were gonna play a drinking game where we would have a shot if we saw pictures with:
empty swimming pools
any kind of hookers
deserted strip malls
incredibly sharp images of banal intersections with gas stations
enigmatic pictures that look like stills from movies that never happened
girls in gowns underwater in swimming pools
Anything with 20 of the same thing in a grid pattern – watertowers, neon motel signs, etc.
Anything with North Korea in it
Douglas Kirkland – in any form – on the wall, in person, endorsing something, in a workshop, advertising for a future workshop, anything
We didn’t do it, tho, which is a good thing cos we would have gotten hammered!
Anyway, by Sunday, when we went, all the vendors were bored stiff and would talk your ear off. The gal from Light Works was cool and expounded at length about their really great programs for photographers – residencies, grants, access to their print lab. I’m into that! The guy hawking beautiful ltd. editions of my one-time instructor Jerry Uelsmann let me paw thru all his stuff even when I told him I didn’t have $5K to buy one. Jerry’s work still holds up for me, even in the digital age. I could have sworn the two babes manning the booth for some gallery from Santa Fe were flirting with me, I wonder if they hooked up at the after party with the guy from another gallery who sounded like Cary Grant, or more like Tony Curtis imitating Cary Grant in “Some Like It Hot.” Counted five female patrons with shaved heads, just in that one afternoon. Lots of dudes in designer eyeglasses along the lines of Hockney or Phillip Johnson.
What was striking was the lack of anything really all that new. Nobody from this yrs MOMA “New Photography” show – Alex Prager, Roe Etheridge, etc. No Gursky this year. Only one by Kahn and Selesnick, kind of tucked away, odd cos they seem to be making a big splash with their cool work http://www.kahnselesnick.com/. No Jill Greenberg, who is usually represented. Some truly weird stuff – one thing where you could take your picture in this booth and they photoshopped it into some kind of weird Buddha garden thing. None of the big NYC galleries like Yancey Richardson or Yossi Milo, I guess they don’t have to, no Clampart, nothing like that.
I was thinking about the Clint Clemens interview you did as well, regarding China – there was one Chinese gallery represented, which had a spiffy booth and some nice giveaway postcards, but they were dealing in vintage images of stuff from the 50s in China, which was visually nice but nothing leading edge.
If I had $100K to buy for a zillionaire’s loft, you could have gotten a lot of cool stuff, tho not necessarily for a song, but reams of famous vintage images from the worlds of fashion/ celeb/ journalism available for under $10K. Fetching BIG prices was Helmut Newton. You could have gotten some nice Lillian Bassmans for relatively cheap – one well heeled West Side type power couple were mulling over a purchase as “She’s going to die any minute and they’ll triple.”
Hardly any imitation Eggleston, except for something called “LA Matrix La Brea”, which was heavy on the intersections with gas stations incredibly sharp, Steven Shore involved there along with younger types.
I think the most of one thing we saw was Antarctica/the Arctic/ frozen wastelands with scary icebergs – tons of that! Lots of photo-shopped, manipulated landscapes, which were neat to look at for the most part, tho some of them a little hokey. Also, as usual – we should have put this on the list for our drinking game – there are ALWAYS a million pics of Muhammad Ali at this thing, as was the case this yr.
One of the best things about it, from an overall industry view, was it was way more heavily attended than last yr., and stuff seemed to be selling, even the smaller galleries said business had been good; they felt justified in the outlay of putting up a booth. Last year it was like oh my God the sky is falling, it was not so hot saleswise. There was a lot of stuff with red dots on it, for sold, so that’s encouraging.
I think my fave thing – that stopped me in my tracks and made me laff – was this Corey Arnold pic, on display as the cover of his book:
OK that’s my entirely unsolicited review.