Photography Highlights from the 2018 ADAA Art Show

The unhurried elegance of the annual ADAA Art Show has always seemed like an outlier when staged within the distracting bustle of the cacophonous Armory Week art fairs. With out-of-town collectors running around from fair to fair, trying to jam in as many venues as possible into a handful of days, its quiet discussions have always felt a bit stilted, like we somehow needed to be moving more quickly so as not to miss something important somewhere else.

But by pushing the fair ahead a week this year, and thereby away from the jangling competition of the others, the patient, never crowded air of the ADAA Art Show seems to have found its natural rhythm. The strength of the fair has always been its stately reserve, and the ability to actually have an engaged conversation about the art on view is an advantage on which it can now better capitalize.

This fair has never been a major venue for photography, but there are always a selection of works (and booths) worth discovering. What follows below are some of photographic highlights for this year’s hallways, offered in slideshow form. A short discussion of each work is provided, along with our usual background of linked gallery names, artist names, and prices.

Fraenkel Gallery (here): This 1966-1971 multi-image set by Bernd and Hilla Becher shows an early phase in their typological mindset. Six individual prints are mounted together on one sheet of paper using clear plastic corners and annotated in pencil at the bottom with the various locations. The coal processing plants in the images are busy with geometric shapes, from the blocky building forms to the framework ribbing, but the orientation of the setups is not quite as uniformly rigid as in their later works. The hand-crafted nature of this grouping is what makes it notable – their rigorous precision-filled approach must have seemed particularly inexplicable at the time. Priced at $160000.

Lehmann Maupin Gallery (here): This booth was a solo presentation of new work by Catherine Opie, combining color photographs with ceramic sculptures of tree stumps. Pointing her camera at the iconic waterfalls and landscapes of Yosemite National Park, she has followed the lead of Hiroshi Sugimoto’s images of architecture, blurring the scenes to the point that they seem to shift and shimmer, forcing us to rethink how we see them and what they represent. Priced at $30000.

Danziger Gallery (here): This double-mirrored rooftop portrait of the artist Ana Mendieta was made by Hans Breder in 1973. But in recent years, since there were no vintage prints of this work left, Breder decided to have a small set of platinum prints made on linen, by the printer who was responsible for Mapplethorpe’s linen prints. The result is gently tactile, the disporienting tangle of legs given further richness. Priced at $38000.

Miles McEnery Gallery (here): This work by Kevin Appel starts with a physical photocollage, which is then rephotographed and digitally printed on canvas. From there, templated overpainting is used to add a see-through layered effect. Priced at $20000.

Pace/MacGill Gallery (here): This positive/negative diptych is a new work by Richard Learoyd, reprising his previous interest in mirrors. Using hand applied emulsion (which can be seen along the uneven edges), he presents a doubled surface study, which might be a paired set of moons, two portals, or an ongoing experiment in a petri dish. Priced at $35000.

Pace/MacGill Gallery (here): This obscure double exposure nude of Eleanor is a reminder of just how inventive Harry Callahan was. The two exposures overlap, with Eleanor leaning one way and then the other, creating the illusory appearance of three forms that intermingle. Simple, elegant, so very smart, and already sold.

Howard Greenberg Gallery (here): This booth was a solo show devoted to the work of Saul Leiter, with a tightly edited selection of paintings, black and white photographs, color photographs, and overpainted imagery. This delicate overpainted nude began with an image from 1955, and then seems to echo many of the painting techniques Leiter was experimenting with across his career, from wider washes of color to splashes of tiny dots and pinpricks. Priced at $12000.

James Reinish & Associates (here): This booth was an homage to Alfred Stieglitz, with paintings by Marin, Dove, O’Keeffe, Sheeler and others intermingled with photographs by Strand, Kasebier, Kuhn, and the like. This 1960s print of Edward Steichen’s 1904 The Pond – Moonlight has a few small creases, but is still a moodily engrossing Pictorialist study of dark texture. Priced at $85000.

Peter Blum Gallery (here): This booth was a solo presentation of Chris Marker’s series Koreans. Made in 1957 during a controlled trip to North Korea, it walks a tricky line between uncensored daily life and the stagings of propaganda. This double image of craggy mountains and local women has a bold cinematic flair, both subjects exuding enduring strength. Single images (modern prints) priced at $3500 each.

Sean Kelly Gallery (here): This recent work (made for the fair) by Jose Dávila applies his signature cutout approach to the mobiles of Calder. The sliced print floats with grace, allowing shadows and dots to provide additional depth. Priced at $37500.

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Read more about: Bernd and Hilla Becher, Catherine Opie, Chris Marker, Edward Steichen, Hans Breder, Harry Callahan, Jose Dávila, Kevin Appel, Richard Learoyd, Saul Leiter, Danziger Gallery ~ 952 Fifth, Fraenkel Gallery, Howard Greenberg Gallery, James Reinish & Associates, Lehmann Maupin, Miles McEnery Gallery, Pace/MacGill Gallery, Peter Blum Gallery, Sean Kelly Gallery, ADAA Art Show

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