sourcing photography at new york’s AIPAD

© Robert Shaw, Courtesy Robert Burge 20th Century Photographs, New York

AIPAD, The Association of International Photography Art Dealers had its annual photography show in New York last weekend.  More than 80 of the worlds top  photography galleries from Beijing to New York presented their very best in both vintage and contemporary prints. It’s one of the art fairs on my circuit and I love the variety because you can pick up a great image for $500 or another for $200,000 at the next booth.

Having said this, one of MY issues with a fair like this, is that after years of hitting the pavement at all sorts of art fairs, auctions and dealer openings, my eye gets bored quite easily by seeing what seems to be the same thing over and over.  And so today, I just want to take a moment to highlight some images that haunted me and to applaud some of the dealers who brought interesting material.
Robert Burge/20th Century Photographs (top photo) represents American photographer Robert Shaw whose series “Nature’s Private Parts, Portfolio V”, is the result of a tornado that hit the artist’s property in the Ouchita Mountains of Arkansas in 2011.  The tornado ripped a number of 100+ year-old oak trees out of the ground.  The photos were taken last year as moss and fungi grew on the fallen dead trees. It’s funny how sensual the images are … the result of the artist’s frame and the viewer’s naughty eye and not of image manipulation.

© David Nadel, Courtesy Sasha Wolf Gallery, New York

US-born photographer David Nadel was shown by Sasha Wolf Gallery, New York.  His “Burns” series are photographs of snow-covered, charred forests in Montana that look more like etchings than photographs.  Even though it’s a color photo, the landscapes are black and white and full of wonderful detail.

© Steven Wilkes, Courtesy The Monroe Gallery of Photography, Santa Fe

The Monroe Gallery of Photography, Santa Fe, showed the work of fine art and commercial US photographer Steven Wilkes. “Hurricane Sandy, Seaside Heights, New Jersey” is a grim reminder of the devastating hurricane last year. At the same time, one can hardly ignore the beauty of the water and the apparent tranquility coming back as the ferocious storm exits the area.

Sze Tsung Leong, from the series “History Images”; Beicheng Xin Cun, Pingyao, Shanxi Province, 2004; Chromogenic Color Print;
 © Sze Tsung Leong, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

Exhibiting exciting artists for more than 10 years, Yossi Milo brought a wonderful expansive view of traditional rooftops in Pingyao, China.  The photographer is Mexican-born SzeTsung Leong (though Chinese by blood, he spent his childhood in Mexico City, the US and Britain).  His “History Images” tell the story of the physical changes in the Chinese landscape as a result of economic “progress”.  The destruction of the old cities to build the China of today can be likened to what occurred in Paris when Haussmann was given carte blanche to change that city.  Though I did not consult with the artist nor the Gallery, it seems to me the present image depicts an abandoned area of the old city of Pingyao, earmarked for demolition.
It’s funny how my eye gravitated towards these 4 images around the theme of destruction, whether by tornado, fire, hurricane or man.  This just shows us that even in these horrific situations, beauty has a way of rearing its head.

PS: Thank you for stopping by and reading my feature today.  I love what I do as an interior designer and art advisor, and it’s my hope that through these blog posts I’m enriching and heightening your aesthetic sensibility towards art, design and fabulous interiors in some way ~ Richard Rabel (a.k.a. the modern sybarite)