Monday, October 29, 2012

Eikoh Hosoe at Japan Society

A few weeks ago, photographer Eikoh Hosoe gave a presentation at Japan Society. Hosoe’s seminal projects of the 1960's dealt with the relationship between man and woman as well as the continuation and adjustment of tradition within a social context undergoing a process of radical change. He collaborated with the nationalist author Yukio Mishima in one series (Barakei – Ordeal by Roses in 1961) and the butoh dancer Tatsumi Hijikata in another (Kamaitachi in 1969).  Hosoe also experimented with the photographic process itself, creating high contrast images that border on abstraction through a manipulation of the chemical process.

The majority of the lecture and subsequent discussion centered on the collaborations with Mishima, Hijikata, and another butoh dancer, Kazuo Ohno. Although Hosoe didn’t say this explicitly, my sense of the impetus behind these series of images was his attempt to define or redefine what it is to be Japanese in the wake of the Second World War. 

The collaborations with Mishima, Hijikata and Ohno combine a sense of implied narrative with performance and myth-making, while being simultaneously grounded through Hosoe's pictorial precision.

With regards to the image above, Hosoe said that one does not see faces like this in Japan anymore, faces which bear the traces of the hardships of the early to mid twentieth century.

Hosoe said something else which grabbed my attention in an unexpected way: when asked about his preference for black and white verses color, he replied (paraphrasing) that in black and white, what you see in the picture can be whatever color you want. It is an interesting point of view, which forced me to consider: when looking at a black and white photograph, to what degree do we imagine color?

Hosoe's work is somewhat under-appreciated in the United States. The lecture was a great opportunity to hear firsthand from a photographer considered a legend by many speak about his life and work. And of course, to see his photographs: images that are at times provocative, but always eloquent and poetic.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Chelsea Gallery Notes: Luisa Rabbia, Wendy White, James Welling, Eugen Schönebeck, Analia Saban, Adam Cvijanovic, Joe Fig, Chris Dorland, Martha Friedman, Christian Maychack, Saint Clair Cemin, Louise Fishman, and more.

The Chelsea gallery area stretches primarily from 29th St. to 16th St., between 10th and 11th Avenues. Generally when I go, I don’t have a set agenda, but typically visit the same places where I’ve seen good work in the past, plus randomly sticking my head in the door in others, to see if anything has changed. Today’s post shows what I saw in September. I’ve arranged the galleries from north to south. Most galleries will open their second shows of the season in the next two weeks.

Luisa Rabbia at Peter Blum, 526 W.29th St.

Loved the little heads stuck to the wall.

Eugen Schönebeck at David Nolan, 527 W. 29th St.

Joe Fig at Cristin Tierney, 546 W. 29th St.

Chris Dorland at Winkelman Gallery, 621 W. 27th St.

Nice riff on corporate logos, advertising and consumption. 

Martha Friedman at Wallspace, 619 W. 27th St.

I stepped into the gallery and I thought: I wish I had done this. 

Christian Maychack at Jeff Bailey Gallery, 625 W. 27th St.

Very interesting: idiosyncratic painting/sculpture hybrids. 

Saint Clair Cemin at Paul Kasmin, 515 W. 27th St.

Mr. at Lehman Maupin, 540 W. 26th St.

Chris Johanson at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, 534 W. 26th St.

Richard Misrach at Robert Mann Gallery, 525 W. 26th St

Julian Hoeber at Harris Lieberman, 508 W. 26th St.

Nods to Bridget Riley and Josef Albers, but with doubts.

Louise Fishman at Cheim & Read, 547 W. 25th St.

Fishman seems to be synthesizing Richter and De Kooning in this work.

Ruud van Empel at Stux Gallery, 530 W. 25th St.

Too precious for me.

Andrea Zittel at Andrea Rosen, 525 W. 24th St.

Andro Wekua at Gladstone Gallery, 515 W. 24th St.

Wendy White at Leo Koenig, 545 W. 23rd St.

Randy Polumbo at Steven Kasher Gallery, 521 W. 23rd St.

Analia Saban at Tanya Bonakdar, 521 W. 21st St.

Paul Pfeiffer at Paula Cooper Gallery, 521 W. 21st St.

Adam Cvijanovic at Postmasters, 459 W. 19th St.

Tim Roda at Gasser & Grunert, 524 W. 19th St.

James Welling at David Zwirner, 525 W. 19th St.

Toba Khedoori at David Zwirner, 525 W. 19th St.