Highlights from the 2024 AIPAD Photography Show, Part 1 of 2

If there was a predominant theme to be felt in the aisles of this year’s AIPAD Photography Show, it was some version of “we’re all glad to be back”. After a two year post-pandemic interlude at a more cramped and smaller venue on 5th Avenue in Midtown, New York’s preeminent photography fair returned to the Park Avenue Armory on the Upper East Side, where it was last seen in 2016. With an influx of guest exhibitors, the return of some galleries and private dealers who had been on the sidelines for a few years, and the re-addition of a selection of photobook publishers, the fair felt noticeably fuller and more vibrant within the elegantly hushed confines of the Armory. On the first day of the fair, the booths were crowded and the mood was upbeat.

Our AIPAD Photography Show report this year comes in the form of a two-part gathering of notable photographs, not necessarily from every booth in the fair (as we have done in previous years) or following a thematic pattern (as we have also attempted now and again), but more of a wandering sweep through the booths in search of eye-catching works worth thinking about more. So the slideshow below (and its forthcoming partner) gathers what might be called highlights, starting with a back and forth path through the booths down the far left aisle, and systematically working across the Armory to the right. As usual, each image is supported by linked gallery names, artist names, prices (as available), and a short discussion or commentary.

Bruce Silverstein Gallery (here): This surreal photomontage by Lotte Jacobi features a moth-headed figure playing a clarinet, emerging from folds of drapery with some small arms beckoning from the lower left corner. An extra large exhibition print from 1946, the scene seems to lyrically bridge between dream and abstraction. Priced at $65000.

Bruce Silverstein Gallery (here): This recent work by Dakota Mace combines swirling chemical cyanotypes with intricate beadwork. Each panel has been dyed with Osage orange (juice from the tree or fruit presumably) and represents a particular woman from the tribe, with the symbol of a mountain overlaid on top in small glass beads. The work blends reverence for the natural world and deep connection to community, using abstraction and hand-crafted touch to create an enveloping almost cosmic aesthetic representation. Priced at $25000.

Bildhalle (here): The seething red orange color in this 1979 image of dancers at Studio 54 in New York by Willy Spiller is a powerful mood setter. The thickness and warmth of the color nearly turns the bodies into silhouettes, like approximations of movement. Priced at $3500.

Miyako Yoshinaga Gallery (here): The subtleties of this 1978 image by Issei Suda don’t entirely reveal themselves from afar. Up close, the dark textures of the woman’s dress, her head covering, her handbag, the wood wall behind her, and the chrysanthemum on the ground all coalesce, transforming a simple squatting form into something more touchingly complex and resonant. Priced at $6500.

Etherton Gallery (here): A few of these hand-annotated images by Danny Lyon appeared in his 2016 retrospective at the Whitney (reviewed here), but seeing several more in this booth reminded me of their intimacy and power. The way the composition frames the prison guard and the horse head in such tight proximity makes the mood all the more tense and confrontational, but then the dotted border and captioning reintroduce some artistic intimacy. From 1968/1975, and priced at $16000.

JDC Fine Art (here): The shadows in this portrait by Rashod Taylor dapple the tender embrace with soft stripes. The woman’s closed eyes (in rest or contemplation) quiets the atmosphere further, creating a comfortable protective silence that surrounds the young boy. Priced at $2000.

Taylor was also showing newer tintype landscapes in the Obscura Gallery booth.

Koslov Larsen (here): Matches played by the Harvard tennis team pile up into one crowded instant in this composite image by Pelle Cass. Dozens of shots and points fill the court from edge to edge, with balls flying back and forth. From a fixed point, Cass collapses time, capturing the gestural dance of the game. Price at $5000.

The Third Gallery Aya (here): The experimental imagery of Hisae Imai was a discovery for me at this year’s fair. This mysterious work from 1956 seems shot through loose burlap, which casts a wavy shadow across a still life vase, creating wispy lines that mimic plant forms or feathers. A modern print, priced at $2200

Peter Fetterman Gallery (here): When a photographer chooses to print his or her work on Japanese kozo or gampi paper, it is clearly a deliberate decision to use the delicate textural qualities of the paper to match or enhance the content of the images. This 2021 photograph of autumn trees in France by Jeffrey Conley is a worthy example of this kind of tactile lyricism, the leaves creating a shimmering all over pattern of intricate detail that is rich and luxurious, without feeling overly mannered and precious. Priced at $3500.

Yancey Richardson (here): Tucked into the hidden back corner of this booth, this new work by David Alekhuogie would have benefitted from more visible placement. Alekhuogie continues to thoughtfully experiment with the sculptural layering of photographs of masks and patterned fabrics, here adding elements of misdirection and physical touch with two sets of hands. Priced at $9000.

Henrique Faria Fine Art (here): In the late 1970s, the Argentine photographer Leandro Katz ingeniously used phases of the moon to build a kind of conceptual visual language or alphabet, with which he then created various sentence and message works. This image backs up to placing the moon phases on the keys of a typewriter (like letters), almost like a surreal object. A 2011 editioned print, from a 1979 collage, priced at $30000.

Grob Gallery (here): Constantin Brancusi is well known for having used photography to activate his sculptures in different ways, and this vintage print from 1909 creates the appearance of the tilting sculptural head actually looking at a bright spot of light on the wall. It’s a small photographic intervention, but one that smartly energizes the figure. Price on request.

Grob Gallery (here): This 1931 still life from Emmanuel Sougez had me pleasantly puzzled. At first, it looks like a straightforward arrangement of bottles and glassware on a mirror, but then the shadows don’t entirely match the objects. Where is the taller curved bottle and the V-shaped glasses? Behind a scrim? There are lots of confounding and unanswered visual mysteries in this picture, which gives it some durable interest. Priced at $40000.

Monroe Gallery of Photography (here): In the past few years, as various Confederate monuments and statues have been removed or dismantled, we’ve seen plenty of photographs of graffitied pedestals and boxed up bronzes waiting for transport. This image by Sanjay Suchak powerfully continues the story, with the face of Robert E. Lee about to be melted down by metal recyclers. Priced at $1500.

Paul Hertzmann (here): This year’s AIPAD show seemed to have more high quality vintage Edward Weston prints on view sprinkled around the booths than in previous years. This halved onion from 1930 was my particular favorite of the available options, its up close swirls and concentric circles finding elegant abstraction in the entirely mundane. Price on request.

Paul Hertzmann (here): This early (from 1990) work from Mark Ruwedel features a wide grassy bisected landscape along the Columbia River plateau in the state of Washington, and the small horizon interruption of the buildings of a nuclear test facility placed there. It is at once elementally composed and environmentally/politically charged, with the artist’s hand lettered captioning at the bottom adding to its tension between formality and personal presence. Priced at $15000.

Keith de Lellis Gallery (here): For some reason, Weegee’s wide ranging photographic experiments and distortions seem not to get the respect I think they deserve. This eye montage from c1950 is filled edge to edge, turning eyes into high contrast texture like a leopard skin or an enlarged halftone print. Priced at $6500.

Keith de Lellis Gallery (here): This 1925 toned portrait by Edward Steichen was tucked around a corner in this booth, but that didn’t prevent it from walloping me like a smack in the face – what a powerhouse gaze packed into a small space. Between the unrelenting big eyed stare and the twist of fallen hair, it’s a photograph you could easily look at for a lifetime and never become bored. Priced at $225000.

Keith de Lellis Gallery (here): The Black boy sleeping on the cot, the checkerboard floor, and the neatly arranged black shoes come together poignantly in this 1972 image by Ray Gibson. It’s a picture of textures and subtle monochrome contrasts, simple but filled with lived experience. Priced at $9000.

Gitterman Gallery (here): The Modernist still lifes of Imogen Cunningham seem to have been become somewhat under appreciated in recent years, but this vintage c1930 plant study should remind us why these photographs matter. The tactile delicacy of this print is glorious, and its wispy tendrils and curving branches give the composition a sense of natural linear complexity. Priced at $24000.

Gitterman Gallery (here): Harold Edgerton’s milk drop coronet image is deservedly famous, but he made dozens of other astonishing split second exposures similarly worth discovering. Here a bullet is caught in mid air just as it punctures a balloon, the shutter tripped just at the moment when the exterior form begins to shatter. From 1960 at MIT, priced at $5500.

Weston Gallery (here): When we think of Irving Penn’s photographic still lifes, we generally remember the iconic compositions and perfected final arrangements. But this photograph offers an in-process view of the creation of one of Penn’s classic setups, stepping back several steps to include the edges of the staging area. It’s a fascinating unexpected glimpse into how the magic happened, including the mouse and cheese on the floor. From 1947, priced at $30000.

Scheinbaum & Russek (here): The tall thin shape of this Ralph Eugene Meatyard image from 1956 matches the window the boy stands in. The bright white light from outside turns him into a dark silhouette, backed by the grid of windowpanes. It feels like a moment of small danger, or a challenge in some unknowable childhood game of imagination. Priced at $36000.

Galerie Esther Woerdehoff (here): In this recent work (from 2023), the artistic duo of Angel Albarrán and Anna Cabrera continue to experiment with how the aesthetics of photography can be augmented by the textures of Japanese paper and gold leaf. Here they test out the optical properties of sheets of polarized plastic, which they have twisted into sculptural forms that backed by the golden hue seem to glow with burnished warmth. Priced at $6500.

Howard Greenberg Gallery (here): This booth featured a grid of four photographs by Mark Cohen on its central wall, with this boy and his cradled black cat offering a blast of feral energy. I can’t imagine that cat stayed in that upside down position for long, so the photograph likely documents a quickly vanishing split second of playful near explosion. From 1977/later, priced at $7500.

CLAMP (here): This early work from Ion Zupcu (from 2004) reaches back the artist’s first experiments with paper and light. A single vertical sheet provides the compositional interest here, creating elemental ghosts and blurred shadows that seem to hover in the blankness. Priced at $3500.

Nailya Alexander Gallery (here): I last saw a print of this astonishing 1939 image by the Russian photographer Emmanuil Evzerikhin more than a decade ago, and the picture still packs a punch. Paratroopers in an air force parade cover the sky with billowing parachutes and dangling bodies, with the photographer somehow capturing the fullness of the parachute on the ground before it quickly deflated. Priced at $45000.

Galeria Vasari (here): This 1957 image by the Argentine photographer Annemarie Heinrich depicts the Adam and Eve story with a Modernist twist. A woman’s hand holds a mostly eaten apple, with her fingers creating a hole through which we see a man in a suit (which was the artist’s husband). It’s a cleverly orchestrated composition, with a wry sense of evidentiary mischief. Priced at $22000.

Galerie Johannes Faber (here): The gestural circles and swirls of inky black in this 1952 “luminogram” by Otto Steinert in 1952 were made with light. The German photographer was a restless photographic experimenter, and the active movement in this print seems to offer unexpected connections to the paintings of Cy Twombly. Priced at $48000.

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Read more about: Angel Albarrán and Anna Cabrera, Annemarie Heinrich, Constantin Brancusi, Dakota Mace, Danny Lyon, David Alekhuogie, Edward Steichen, Edward Weston, Emmanuel Sougez, Emmanuil Evzerikhin, Harold Edgerton, Hisai Imai, Imogen Cunningham, Ion Zupcu, Irving Penn, Issei Suda, Jeffrey Conley, Leandro Katz, Lotte Jacobi, Mark Cohen, Mark Ruwedel, Otto Steinert, Pelle Cass, Ralph Eugene Meatyard, Rashod Taylor, Ray Gibson, Sanjay Suchak, Weegee (Arthur Felig), Willy Spiller, Bildhalle, Bruce Silverstein Gallery, CLAMP, Etherton Gallery, Galería Vasari, Galerie Esther Woerdehoff, Galerie Johannes Faber, Gitterman Gallery, Grob Gallery, Henrique Faria Fine Art, Howard Greenberg Gallery, JDC Fine Art, Keith de Lellis Gallery, Koslov Larsen, Miyako Yoshinaga, Monroe Gallery of Photography, Nailya Alexander Gallery, Paul M. Hertzmann Inc., Peter Fetterman Gallery, Scheinbaum & Russek, The Third Gallery Aya, Weston Gallery, Yancey Richardson Gallery, AIPAD Photography Show ~ Pier 94

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