The 2010 AIPAD Photography Show in New York last week was once again the dominant event on the annual American photography calendar, at least for collectors like us. With 76 exhibitors (mostly galleries and private dealers, but with a few booksellers thrown in for good measure), AIPAD remains the single best place to see the entire breadth of photography, from 19th century to contemporary, on display in one place at one time in the United States; collectors, curators, and photographers from all over the world come to New York specifically for this show just to see what is on view and available.
I made three separate trips to the show this year: a visit to the Wenesday night opening, as well as more focused sessions on Thursday and Friday afternoons. In between an active review of the booths, I met with all kinds of people: collectors large and small, working photographers, musuem curators, and particularly gallery owners/dealers. For the first time ever, I think I spent more time talking (and listening and learning) than I did looking. This is not to say that I didn’t end each day with a glassy eyed stare, earned through an overload of visual stimulation; I just interleaved meetings into spurts of booth scouring for a completely full calendar.
This 2010 AIPAD Review will be divided into 4 parts. The first three posts will be the customary booth reports, with lists of the photographers on view (the number of pictures by each in parentheses) and some additional commentary or a specific image (and its details) as further illustration. Given the scope of this fair, I have not attempted to create a complete count of everything on display – there was just too much; there will only be reports on about half of the booths, mainly chosen by pictures that really grabbed my attention or that I subjectively thought deserved some additional discussion; those that have been ommitted were not any less good necessarily, they just didn’t stop me in my tracks enough to keep me from relentlessly moving on. As an aside, I seem to have developed a kind of strange x-ray vision (perhaps a byproduct of too much fair-going) – I scan the contents of a booth and often a single image stands out as though lit by an invisible spotlight, while the rest of the images fall back into the blurry and less interesting periphery. It’s a kind of “aha” moment, when something unexpected, unusual, or exciting is discovered amidst the normal smorgasbord of work we’ve generally seen before. The final post in the series will try to step up a level or two and consider some of the ideas, patterns, and conclusions I’ve drawn from this year’s fair; seeing such a plethora of photography isn’t just about checklists and prices – there are larger themes present that cut across easy divisions/summaries and are worth a little bit deeper discussion.
For those of you who can never get enough and like to compare alternate viewpoints, a few additional AIPAD reviews worth checking out are those by collector/blogger Evan Mirapaul (here), gallery owner/blogger James Danziger (here and here), and Ken Johnson of the NY Times (here).
So let’s get started. The galleries presented are in no particular order, although I’ve tried to spread some favorites out across the three posts. Apologies for the marginal images, as they are often marred by reflections or glare:
Amador Gallery (here): Robert Voit (7), Olaf Otto Becker (2), Taiji Matsue (2). In contrast to most of the overstuffed booths in this fair, the Amador booth was clean and fresh, with just a handful of large color images filling the walls. Anecdotally, I heard that there was significant interest (from museums and collectors alike) in the Voit cell tower trees.
Richard Moore Photographs (here): Ralph Steiner (3), Russell Lee (1), Jack Delano (1), Arthur Rothstein (1), Morris Engel (1), Weegee (2), Irving Penn (1), Ansel Adams (1), Helen Levitt (1), Bill Owens (1), Garry Winogrand (1), Lewis Hine (1), Margrethe Mather (1), Frederick Evans (1), Clarence White (1), Karl Struss (1), Frank Eugene (1), Arnold Genthe (1), Frances Johnston (1), plus 3 bins. The 1950s Ralph Steiner below was an image that I hadn’t seen before; I liked the mixture of tonalities and layers of geometries, and it reminded me of a similar composition by Jeff Wall. (Ralph Steiner, Bissell Factory, Employee Washroom, 1959, at $5500)
Hemphill Fine Arts (here): Godfrey Frankel (3), William Christenberry (8), Don Donaghy (5), Franz Jantzen (1), Kendall Messick (1).
Eric Franck Fine Art (here): Norman Parkinson (5), Enzo Sellerio (3), Henri Cartier-Bresson (5), Paul Hart (2), Chris Killip (4), Graham Smith (4), Al Vandenberg (6), Antanas Sutkus (4), Rimaldas Viksraitis (4), Marketa Luskacova (2), Jindrich Streit (4), Josef Koudelka (3), Lottie Davies (3). Graham Smith was a new discovery for me. The image below has echoes of Brassaï’s bar scenes, but with an English sensibility and a wonderful undertone of humor. (Graham Smith, I Thought I Saw Liz Taylor and Bob Mitchum in the Back Room of the Commercial, UK, 1984 at $5000.)
Photology (here): Helmut Newton (5), Carlo Mollino (8), Maura Banfo (4), Yasumasa Morimura (8), Andy Warhol (1), Robert Mapplethorpe (8), Gian Paolo Barbieri (5), Mario Schifano (4), Nobuyoshi Araki (4), Luigi Ghirri (4), Christopher Makos (11). A booth full of Polaroids by various artists.