Photography Highlights from the ADAA Art Show 2023

The photographic pickings at this year’s ADAA Art Show were decidedly slim, with just a handful of booths showing photography either in part or in full. But the quality was consistently solid, and part of the charm of this fair is its unhurried conservatism, where year after year a mood of reserved engagement can be relied upon to appear. Even when the most risk-taking contemporary work is tossed into this mix, the hushed surroundings seem to temper the flash with a dose of refinement and gravitas.

What follows below is a (very) brief survey of the photography highlights at this year’s fair, organized in slideshow form. A short discussion of each featured work is provided, along with linked gallery names, artist names, and prices as appropriate/available.

Gitterman Gallery (here): This 1926 carbon pigment print by František Drtikol is a superlative example of the Czech photographer’s unique aesthetic. Drtikol’s female nudes have a particular Art Deco styling, seen here with geometric circles and poles used to offset the natural form of the body. Executed with tactile richness, the print’s surfaces and shadows are softly mottled. Priced at $76000.

Gitterman Gallery (here): This 1952 pigment print by Josef Sudek is more complex and subtle than many of his windowsill still lifes and studio window views. Between the gentle cascade of the leaves, the drips of the watery condensation, and the shifting highlights and shadows of the light, the veiled image feels active and alive. Priced at $28000.

Gitterman Gallery (here): This unexpected legs raised image by Emila Medková continues the Czech theme of this booth. Medková was a new discovery for me. A key member of the post-war Czech surrealist movement, many of her works play with the possibilities of found faces and bodies, abstracting them into surreally silent or dreamlike discoveries. This image from 1949 fits into that kind of thinking, with disembodied mannequin legs falling through the sky. Already sold.

Catharine Clark Gallery (here): Originally commissioned by the Amon Carter Museum as part of a project encouraging artists to engage with the museum’s collections, this image by Stephanie Syjuco wrestles with the perception of the American West. A Frederick Remington bronze is turned away, held and repositioned by gloved hands, introducing both a controlling presence and an interruption of romantic mythologies. Priced at $15000.

Sean Kelly Gallery (here): This booth was a solo presentation of the work of Alec Soth, in a selection of lesser known works gathered together by the artist under the title “Sleepwalking”. This understated 2005 photograph turns its subject into a gentle silhouette, venturing out onto the dock in a mood of solitary stillness. Priced at $16000.

Sean Kelly Gallery (here): A second notable work unearthed from the Alec Soth archives is this illusory window study. Apparently, Soth purchased an abandoned house in Minnesota to be used for various projects; here the cast shadow of a window frame (and the tree outside) falls across a painted interior wall, where drips on the wall appear like shining condensation on the glass. It’s a clever visual trick, filled with a lovely mood of quiet melancholy. Priced at $20000.

Yancey Richardson (here): Anne Collier has made plenty of intriguing conceptual works based on archival finds combining women and photography, as seen on magazine covers, in advertisements, on record albums, and in various other ephemera. Here she pairs two ARTnews covers featuring Berenice Abbott and Georgia O’Keeffe in similar poses, offering a powerhouse duo of grey-haired no-nonsense women. From 2006, priced at $24000.

Yancey Richardson (here): Over the past decade, Zanele Muholi has experimented widely with the possibilities of staged self-portraiture. This triptych eschews clever add-ons or props in favor of the simple doubling of a mirror seen at an angle. The results are thoughtful and introspective, a single identity separating into multiplicities. Priced at $39000.

Our reports on the photographs found at previous ADAA Art Shows can be found here: 2022 (here), 2021 (here), 2020 (here), 2019 (here), 2018 (here), 2017 (here), 2016 (here), 2015 (here), 2014 (here), and 2013 (here).

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Read more about: Alec Soth, Anne Collier, Emila Medková, František Drtikol, Josef Sudek, Stephanie Syjuco, Zanele Muholi, Catharine Clark Gallery, Gitterman Gallery, Sean Kelly Gallery, Yancey Richardson Gallery, ADAA Art Show

One comment

  1. Pete /

    That Soth silhouette photograph is deceptively simple looking, but even under sustained scrutiny it proves to be flawless.

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