Paul M. Hertzmann Inc. (here): This 1980 diptych by the Polish conceptual artist Anna Kutera pokes fun at consumerism, her changing expression and scratched out interventions undermining the seriousness of it all. The layers of patterned squares (including the electronics and books) add another element of irreverent playfulness. Priced at $6500.
Paul M. Hertzmann Inc. (here): Paul Schuitema is perhaps best known as an innovative 20th century graphic designer, but this pairing of images of lampglasses from c1929 shows that he applied his craft to the aesthetics of photography with similar experimental risk taking. Seen from an underneath angle in both positive and negative, the shine on the glassware offers uneasy extremes of light and dark. Priced at $12000 for the two prints.
Miyako Yoshinaga (here): Melissa Shook’s daily self-portrait project from 1972-1973 remains an intriguing mix of conceptualism and female identity building. This image captures the last day of 1972, with the Christmas tree still up, toy blocks strewn across the floor, and a mysterious shadow walking on the table. Priced at $3500.
The 19th Century Rare Book and Photograph Shop (here): This 19th century mammoth plate view by William Henry Jackson captures the massive size of the Tower of Babel in the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. At the lower left, the image features a tiny figure leaning on the rocky form, providing an astounding measure of its imposing scale. Priced at $25000.
Catherine Couturier Gallery (here): This image from Patty Carroll’s “Anonymous Woman” series has a groovy cocktail party aesthetic, with bold patterns, a bar cart, crystal decanters, and plenty of amber liquids and red wine. Carroll’s setups invariably engulf the lone mannequin woman in matchy edge-to-edge color coordination, but this image has a little more saucy bite, with spilling carafes and empty bottles strewn on the floor. Priced at $4000.
Stephen Bulger Gallery (here): This 1971 work by Bea Nettles offers some early experimentation with printing photographic images on unexpected substrates. Sewn cloth forms the base of the work, with photo transfers edged by stitching, and a clear mylar sheet with a paired double exposure has been attached to the surface. The result is a tactile self-portrait study, filled with echoes and uncertainty. Priced at $6000.
Stephen Bulger Gallery (here): Minna Keene was a discovery for me at this year’s fair. Born in Germany, Keene lived in the United Kingdom and South Africa before eventually settling in Canada. This c1910 carbon print shows her working in the pictorial tradition, in a portrait with a Victorian aesthetic and a soft blue painterly tint. Priced at $6975.
Michael Dawson Gallery (here): This 1929 composition by Karl Struss finds balance between energetic motion and picturesque calm. Most of the picture is filled by brash angles and planes, the sails, mast, boom, and other ropes and wires turned and skewed, with a splash of white water blasting over the side. But to the side, Struss tucks in another small sailboat in the distance, combining the urgency of the moment with the relaxation of a summertime afternoon. Priced at $3000.
Gitterman Gallery (here): Daring light studies like this 1946 work by Henry Holmes Smith are a reminder of Smith’s under-appreciated status. Holmes worked with Moholy-Nagy at the Institute of Design in Chicago and started the first photo MFA program in the US at Indiana University, but isn’t as broadly known as he should be. In this work, Smith turns light cast though mesh onto various geometric volumes into a precise exercise in controlled distortion. Priced at $7000.
Gitterman Gallery (here): While the psychic spiritualism of Minor White may be somewhat out of favor these days, the man clearly knew how to make an astonishing photographic print. This crackled study is engrossingly textural, with deep blacks and bright whites that seem to probe the mysteries of the universe. Priced at $28000.
Jenkins Johnson Gallery (here): Ming Smith’s early 1990s photographs inspired by the plays of August Wilson have now been gathered into a new portfolio of modern prints. The selection includes Smith’s images of the last steel mill in Pittsburgh and Eddie’s restaurant, as well as the pairing of pool players in this classic picture, which feels almost like a dance with its mirrored gestures and poses. Priced at $125000 for the set of 12 prints in a clamshell box.
Scott Nichols Gallery (here): William Garnett’s aerial photographs have always done more than just turn the land into seductive abstractions. Here a 1957 cotton farm in Texas is transformed into an interlocked geometric puzzle, but a closer look reveals white clothed workers walking in a perfect line, with men on horseback watching over them. Priced at $28000.
Robert Klein Gallery (here): This disorienting picture comes from Arne Svenson’s new series “A Beautiful Day”. Taken during the pandemic, looking down onto the streets outside his second-story studio, he only had a few moments to resolve the compositions that presented themselves. In this image, a couple on a motorbike is satisfyingly cropped down into a mismatched jumble of hands and arms. Priced at $1800.
Robert Klein Gallery (here): This lesser known 1944 Aaron Siskind image from Gloucester makes the most of the tonal contrast between the weathered boards and the torn tar paper. It’s an elegant study of subtle texture and contrast, and an early example of the kind of thinking about compositional abstraction that Siskind would hone in the decades to come. Priced at $35000.
Laurence Miller Gallery (here): Anastasia Samoylova’s newest project “Image Cities” takes the time honored technique of using reflected windows and storefronts to distort street photography and applies it to the 21st century evolution of global cities, where advertising and architecture are increasingly intermingled. In this work, she layers classic New York buildings with the bling of luxury jewelry, creating a satisfying dissonance between nostalgic urban grittiness and conspicuous consumption. Priced at $8000.
ClampArt (here): This dark rotting hallway from the Canal Street piers in the early 1980s has been given an empty haunted feeling by Peter Hujar. A place of seduction and decay, its grim textures are seen with unlikely tenderness and almost reverence, like a dangerous fairy tale pathway to a magic land. Priced at $18000.
Michael Hoppen Gallery (here): This 1957 image of a woman planting rice by Hiroshi Hamaya revels in crusted surfaces, from wet mud to knee deep rice paddy water. It is a moment of honest labor, turned into a complex study of texture. Priced at $15000.
Keith de Lellis Gallery (here): This 1973 portrait by Ozier Muhammad brims with understated confidence and swagger. Contrasts of light and dark set the structure of the picture, and the pack of Kool cigarettes tucked in the waistband of the young man’s pants provides the defining detail. Priced at $8500.
Keith de Lellis Gallery (here): This 1914 portrait of the Welsh painter Augustus John by Alvin Langdon Coburn has an unusual magnetism. The looking sideways pose softens the confrontation of the portrait exchange, and the pure light cast across his suit and cheekbones amplifies the sense of intimate authenticity. Priced at $55000.
HackelBury Fine Art (here): This recent work by Nadezda Nikolova has been constructed of wet plate collodion tiles, where the allusion to undulating land forms is reimagined as an almost Art Deco motif, interspersed with pinpricks of stars. It’s difficult to make an antique process shed its throwback aesthetics, but this work (and the others in the series) feel like potential path out of the inherent nostalgia. Priced at $20000.
Danziger Gallery (here): Coming on the heels of a superlative 2021 photobook survey of the work of Lora Webb Nichols (reviewed here), posthumous prints of some of the most noteworthy images by the early 20th century Wyoming photographer have now been produced. This image of brushing long hair is gracefully sensual, the woman’s shiny black shoes and skirt providing unexpected textural contrasts with the frontier roughness that surrounds her. Priced at $2500.
Danziger Gallery (here): The Hungarian photographer Zsuzsi Ujj was another new name for me found at this year’s fair. Ujj’s works from the mid 1980s bring a conceptual edge to self portraiture, using various mirrors hung on the wall to reconfigure her own body. Between her cast shadow and the fragmented views, Ujj delivers a freshly modern take on the assembly of female identity. Priced at $6500.
Peter Fetterman Gallery (here): Sarah Moon’s fresson prints have a soft textural mistiness that brings ambiguity into her fashion shots. Gestures are muted, colors drift, and sharp edges are rubbed down, creating a unique aesthetic mood that has become her signature. Here the precise angles of Yohji Yamamoto’s black dress are given an undercurrent of romance, the yellow background wall floating into approximation. Priced at $30000.
Augusta Edwards Fine Art (here): The consistent quality of Tom Wood’s portraits is less celebrated than it should be. This 1984 mother and daughter cafe scene from New Brighton is honest, engaged, and observant in ways that few can match. The piercing blue eyes and the green coin purse on the table add an unexpected jolt to an otherwise modest moment. Priced at $8000.
PGI (here)/L. Parker Stephenson (here): This recent Yuji Hamada photogram recalls the ethereal textures of Barbara Kasten’s experiments from the 1970s. But Hamada’s work has a different backstory – inspired by William Henry Fox Talbot and by the plastic pollution that has become prevalent in the world’s oceans, he decided to make salt prints from the sea water of Tokyo Bay, using layers of plastic wrap to replicate the flowing motion of the water. His results are delicately wispy and ghostlike, bobbing and drifting like quiet waves. Priced at $4000.
Gary Edwards Gallery (no website): This anonymous pair of 1850s images of a Russian woman in traditional dress somehow seems to connect across a vast span of time. What might have started out as an ethnographic portrait documenting local customs or rituals became something more personal, the woman’s gaze (and her reserved mood) offering tantalizing clues and possibilities about the kind of life she might have led. Priced at $3000.
Galerie Johannes Faber (here): At a contemporary moment when immigration has once again become a cultural flash point, this powerful 1952 image by Berenice Abbott ought to be rediscovered and recirculated. On a gray day, Lady Liberty has turned her back on those that might arrive to chase their own versions of the American dream, her typically welcoming visage now turned away, like the abrupt closing of a once open door. Priced at $14500.
Galerie Johannes Faber (here): This 1921 image by Arturo Bragaglia is a charming example of how multiple exposure can be used to create open-ended narrative. The man leans in, coming ever closer with each jittering slice, but the image leaves us wondering whether the woman in the spotlight returned his awkward affections or turned away at the last moment. Priced at $12400.
Charles Isaacs Photographs (here)/Grégory Leroy (here): This swirling late 1960s color abstraction by Armando Salas Portugal predates Thomas Ruff’s “Substrat” color experiments by several decades, but the two share a sense of allowing photographic color to become loose and ephemeral. Salas Portugal’s efforts feel particularly ghostly, like a spirit trying to form out of thin air. Priced at $8500.
Charles Isaacs Photographs (here)/Grégory Leroy (here): This 1928 image by Emilio Amero impressed me with its relaxed, almost effortless elegance. Perhaps it’s the arrangement of the resting woman’s arms, the twist of her hair, or the singular presence of her earring, but somewhere in this composition a leisurely mood takes hold, offering a calming effect that’s contagious. Priced at $20000.
Howard Greenberg Gallery (here): This 1954 image by Marvin Newman vaguely reimagines the classic scene of Stanley screaming up at Stella from “A Streetcar Named Desire” as a two tiered setup. Newman’s New Orleans picture offers a complex set of relationship possibilities, making it the kind of photograph that resists easy answers and likely ages well. Priced at $7500.
Howard Greenberg Gallery (here): After three years of collective hardships, it feels somehow fitting to end this two-part AIPAD report with a burst of unadulterated joy. Peter Sekaer’s late 1930s steep angle view of a girl standing on a swing is overflowing with delight. Soaring through the air, she smiles with exhilaration, her effusive jubilation providing an enduring visual balm for our recent struggles. Priced at $10000.