Photography Highlights from the ADAA Art Show 2020

While photography is never the primary focus at the annual ADAA Art Show, this year’s version of the fair is even lighter than usual on notable photographic material. Out of the roughly 70 booths currently hosted at the Park Avenue Armory, only 5 are filled solely with photography. And with less than a handful more including photography amid (or paired with) works in other mediums, it only takes a quick pass through the aisles to survey the entire range of photographic offerings.

What follows below is a selection of the highlights, organized in slideshow form. A short discussion of each featured work is provided, along with linked gallery names, artist names, and prices as appropriate.

Petzel Gallery (here): This booth is a solo presentation of a group of Walead Beshty’s color photograms. Folded and faceted, these smaller abstractions are filled with overlapped geometries, like flattened origami or Cubist visions. This particular composition mixes a deep green with softer faded yellows that flare toward whiteness, creating a circular flow of movement. Priced at $10000.

Krakow Witkin Gallery (here): This dense still life of glassware by Abelardo Morell (a brand new work) is layered into engrossing visual impossibility. White window reflections (with blinds) spill across the sparkling surfaces of the vases and pitchers, their tabletop presence digitally overlapped and crowded in ways that deliberately confuse. Priced at $18500.

Danziger Gallery (here): This booth was a thoughtful reintroduction to the work of Brett Weston, mixing city scenes from New York and San Francisco, sinuous dune landscapes, and nudes. Trying to get collectors to actively think about (and reconsider) work they assume they already know is a real challenge. Weston’s consistently well-crafted prints may be a potential re-entry point, and this dunescape from 1934 succeeds in feeling plausibly bold once again, with textural waves in the foreground giving way to high contrast curves in the back. Priced at $10500.

Andrew Kreps Gallery (here)/Bortolami Gallery (here): When a helpful gallery representative gently blew a breath of air behind this large-scale print on satin by Elisa Sighicelli, its vitality became immediately clear. While the drapery-across-a-window composition is straightforward, when activated by air, the print moves elegantly, rippling and quivering, the satiny finish shimmering in the light. Priced at $18000.

Yancey Richardson Gallery (here): This booth was once again a solo presentation of the self-portraits of Zanele Muholi. “Once again” because Muholi’s intense self-portraits have become an art fair staple – she continues to find inventiveness in these personal explorations, and yet, her new images are piling up on top of an already hefty accumulation of durably important work. How far can she go with this artistic thread? If penetrating compositions like this one keep arriving, we’re likely quite a long way from the finish line. Priced at $14500.

Castelli Gallery (here): This small photographic collage from 1985 by the painter James Rosenquist was an unexpected discovery. While Rosenquist often used photographic imagery as source material, this preparatory collage shows he was actually cutting photographs into pointed strips and physically layering them together, giving floral specimens found near his studio in Florida a distinctly 80s graphic vibe. Priced at $85000.

Howard Greenberg Gallery (here): Alexey Brodovitch’s Ballet was a radically innovative photobook for its time, and this ephemeral composition of spinning dancers from 1935 offers a taste of the inventiveness that have made it an enduring landmark. Blurred, grainy (to the point of being textural), and enlivened by flares of light, the image captures the dance as a fleeting impression of graceful movement. Priced at $35000.

Fraenkel Gallery (here)/Luhring Augustine (here): Luhring Augustine has recently joined Fraenkel in representing Lee Friedlander, and the new partnership has seemingly brought fresh eyes to Friedlander’s prolific output. This booth pairs Friedlander with another member of the Luhring Augustine stable, the painter Christopher Wool, finding unexpected parallels in their interests in bold lettering. This Friedlander image revels in found inversions and confused legibility, smartly connecting to the graphic arrangements in Wool’s stenciled phrases. Priced at $13000.

David Zwirner (here): This booth is a solo presentation of recent color works by James Welling, many taking full advantage of digital techniques. This floral photogram recalls images he made a decade ago, the new compositions more intensely layered and chaotic. Printed on a pearlescent metallic paper, the surface has a hint of glitter in raking light. Priced at $35000.

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Read more about: Abelardo Morell, Alexey Brodovitch, Brett Weston, Elisa Sighicelli, James Rosenquist, James Welling, Lee Friedlander, Walead Beshty, Zanele Muholi, Andrew Kreps Gallery, Bortolami Gallery, Castelli Gallery, Danziger Gallery, David Zwirner, Fraenkel Gallery, Howard Greenberg Gallery, Krakow Witkin Gallery, Luhring Augustine, Petzel Gallery, Yancey Richardson Gallery, ADAA Art Show

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