IN 2008, THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM CURATED AN EXHIBIT PHOTOGRAPHY: REFLECTIONS ON THE MEDIUM SINCE 1960. THE MUSEUM PRESENTED FOUR DECADES OF PHOTOGRAPHS THAT FOCUSED THE CAMERA ON TO PHOTOGRAPHY ITSELF. IN THE SIXTIES, PHOTOGRAPHY BECAME THE “WEAPON OF CHOICE FOR ARTISTS SUCH AS ANDY WARHOL AND VITO ACCONCI IN BREAKING DOWN THE BOUNDARIES NOT ONLY BETWEEN MEDIUMS BUT BETWEEN ART AND LIFE ITSELF.”
THE ROLE OF A GOOD GALLERY IS TO EDUCATE AS WELL AS TO PLACE ITS ARTISTS’ WORK IN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE COLLECTIONS. THE EDUCATIVE PROCESS IS ACHIEVED BY CURATING GROUP EXHIBITIONS THAT EXPLORE A THEME OR TECHNIQUE, PRESS RELEASES THAT DOCUMENT BOTH THE TECHNICAL AND THEMATIC ASPECTS OF THE WORKS ON EXHIBIT, LECTURES AND MONOGRAPHS ON THE ARTISTS THEY REPRESENT. YANCEY RICHARDSON NUMBERS AMONGST THE GALLERIES THAT ARE DEEPLY COMMITTED TO CONTINUING THE TRADITION OF PHOTOGRAPHY AND EXPLORING NEW CHALLENGES AND INNOVATIONS IN THE FIELD.
TODAY, WE WELCOME BACK MATT WHITWORTH, DIRECTOR OF YANCEY RICHARDSON GALLERY, TO CONCLUDE HIS EXCEPTIONAL INTERVIEW ON THE GALLERY AND ON PHOTOGRAPHY ITSELF.
MATTHEW, DO YOU SEE A PATTERN OR TREND IN TERMS OF IMAGE AND/OR TECHNIQUE WITH THE YOUNGER ARTISTS WHO APPROACH YOU FOR REPRESENTATION OR THAT YOU SEE AT ART FAIRS OR IN STUDIOS?
Other than the ease of working digitally (anyone remember 35mm slides?) I can’t say there is a definite trend that I’ve never seen before.
BEING: NEW PHOTOGRAPHY 2018 AT MoMA EXPLORES CURRENT PHOTOGRAPHY TRENDS. PAUL MPAGI SEPUYA, AN ARTIST I GREATLY ADMIRE, IS INCLUDED IN THIS INFORMATIVE EXHIBITION.
MATTHEW, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE HIS WORK, BOTH AESTHETICALLY AND TECHNICALLY, AND HOW DO YOU THINK IT MEETS THE DEFINITION OF NEW PHOTOGRAPHY.
Paul has had quite a year. We showed two distinct bodies of work for his first solo commercial show here at the gallery (actually anywhere) last spring. The main gallery was curated somewhat from his recent senior thesis work from UCLA along with some newer work. The Project gallery had earlier (2014!) work from his Studies series. I think while I loved the main gallery presentation (as did several major photography curators) and how each image “talked” to one another, the Studies work really resonated the most with me. Being a self-proclaimed formalist, I was fascinated by how he was disrupting, compressing, and expanding the notion of pictorial space within the picture plane all though analog processes. A mirror, some tape, a pushpin or two, some strips of photos, all come together to create a certain kind of magic. With the camera always in the same position in each image facing out at us, the constant reference back to photography, the act of photographing and the notion of looking and being looked at, was also intriguing to me.
Paul is of course speaking to a lot more than that. His work is pushing the identity of the model/photographer/subject/object to new boundaries. I thought his work looked so “clean” and well finished at the New Museum show Trigger: Using Gender as a Tool and a Weapon. It was a big, and somewhat jumbled but important and timely, show where Paul’s artistic maturity really stood out. He’s only 35 but is already exercising a very developed voice. He’s getting quite a bit of press because people are realizing that. It’s going to be so interesting to see how he develops further and where he goes with the next body of work.
HOW INFLUENTIAL ARE THE ART FAIRS IN TERMS OF THE EXPANSION OF THE PHOTOGRAPHY MARKET?
They are crucial I think as long as the galleries and dealers that participate continue to expand and develop their programs in new and exciting ways. Showing up to the swap meet with your bins and recycled material just isn’t going to cut it in New York or anywhere else. Paris Photo is an excellent example of how a small fair in the basement of the Louvre became the most important photography venue/destination in the world.
HOW INFLUENTIAL IS THE WEB IN TERMS OF THIS EXPANSION. CLEARLY, PHOTOGRAPHY WILL REPRODUCE MORE EFFECTIVELY THAN SOME OTHER MEDIUMS ON INSTAGRAM, ONLINE AUCTIONS, GALLERY WEBSITES, OR IS THAT ASSUMPTION INCORRECT?
It’s hard to give just one answer with one metric like yes, it’s good we’re seeing 42, but clearly it’s moving things around. We’ve seen good sales from the online platforms for some artists and then are surprised when people just don’t respond to other work online. I always say I’m happy that everything isn’t done out on the web, I’d be out of a job. We don’t fetishize the print but it is what we’re selling after all and most collectors need to see it in real life before they commit.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE EXHIBITIONS WE CAN ANTICIPATE IN THE GALLERY PROGRAM AHEAD?
David Maisel’s abstracted aerial photographs was our most recent exhibition. We’ll be showing new work by a new gallery artist Ori Gersht in the fall and the one I’m most excited about, Mickalene Thomas in early 2019.
WHAT EXHIBITS WOULD YOU LIKE TO CURATE THAT MAY BE TOO IMPRACTICAL AND WHY?
Oh, I’ve got some ridiculously themed ideas I’m still working on. I could tell you but I’d have to kill you. How about the history of bed sheets throughout photography? Uncovered!: A photographic exploration of bed linens in conversation with John Waters.
We are always striving to maintain, improve, and grow our current program as well as our relationships with private collectors and museum curators while constantly mining for the new and interesting.
Visit Yancey Richardson Gallery this summer to view Interventions, a group exhibition of photographs that have been physically manipulated or altered, i.e. torn, taped, painted, set on fire. It presents a diverse group of artists ranging from John Baldessari, Gordon Matta-Clark, Vic Muniz and Macao Yamamoto. Introduce yourself to Matthew and have the opportunity to learn even more about the art of photography.
IN OUR NEXT LRFA BLOG POST, WE WELCOME BACK ELLEN WINNER, WHOSE RESEARCH FOCUSES ON THE STUDY OF THE CREATIVE PROCESS. WE ARE DELIGHTED THAT ELLEN HAS PERMITTED US TO PUBLISH HER FASCINATING RECENT ARTICLE ON FORGERY, “ESSENTIALIST BELIEFS IN AESTHETIC JUDGMENTS OF DUPLICATE ARTWORKS”, FEATURED IN LAST WEEK’S NEW YORK TIMES.
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