CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 1/1/2015
"What today has come to be regarded as among the finest bodies of work in early-twentieth-century photography began as a teaching experiment," Hanako Murata writes in Object:Photo, MoMA's astonishing new collection of Modern photographs from the Thomas Walther Collection. "Karl Blossfeldt, a new lecturer at the institute of the royal arts and crafts museum Berlin, was looking for a way to showcase examples of the forms and patterns he discovered in the natural world that he believed should inspire his students' own work. An excellent sculptor, he first created a large, finely modeled dragonfly's wing, but this was dismissed as trivial by the school's director. Blossfeldt came up with an idea of making greatly enlarged photographs of the insect instead. 'This enlargement then proved to be most useful to me in my studies, and thus I hit upon the use of enlarged photographs of small plant forms to assist as yet unskilled students in their work,' Blossfeldt recalled in 1929. 'It is due to this incident and this photograph that I am now publishing my plant photographs thirty years later.'" Blossfeldt's "Acanthus mollis" (1898–1928) is reproduced from Object:Photo.
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 12/31/2014
In her essay on the emergence and rediscovery of European avant-garde photography in The Museum of Modern Art's essential Object:Photo, presenting Modern photographs from the Thomas Walther Collection (1909-1949), Maria Morris Hambourg writes that the collection "represents not just one man's passionate attempt to recuperate what was lost but a group effort that combined the insights of many collectors, scholars, dealers and experts. While lacunae will always persist, thrilling new discoveries continue to be made, filling in pieces of the mosaic. No soothsayer imagined that an "Anderson collection" existed, that it would surface in 1995, or that it would be correctly identified as a major part of the assemblage of Kurt Kirchbach, the most important privet collector in prewar Germany. Or take the case of El Lissitsky, who died in 1941 in Stalin's Russia and whose revolutionary work in photography had been of very brief duration. As rare as paintings by Vermeer, Lissitzky's original photographs are as coveted by those in this field. Certainly Priska Pasquer in her Cologne gallery never dreamed that a dozen of them, languishing for decades behind the Iron Curtain at an East German publishing house, would miraculously drop into her lap like Danae's shower of gold one fine day in 1966. These and countless other small and large miracles of survival and recovery are salvaging the memory of the European photographic avant-garde. However incomplete, our picture of the past continues to coalesce, and in view of the photographs in this collection and the research inspired by them, the process of rewriting the history is ongoing and vigorous—a cause for gratitude and, certainly, for celebration." El Lissitzky's 1926 "Runner in the City (Experiment for a Fresco for a Sports-Club)" is reproduced from Object:Photo.
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 12/30/2014
In his Foreword to The Museum of Modern Art's monumental Object:Photo, presenting Modern photographs from the Thomas Walther Collection (1909-1949), MoMA Director Glenn D. Lowry writes, "This book showcases one of the most important acquisitions in the Museum's history, a collection of rare photographs made between the two world wars. The significance of the Walther collection lies not only in the exceptional quality of the photographs but also in their importance: these images lie at the foundation of today's photo-based world, a world of small-camera and journalistic omnipresence, dynamic and flexible graphics, and the dominance of photographic codes and representations of information. For the collection includes outstanding examples of European avant-garde photography of the 20s and 30s, work synonymous with artistic freedom—freedom from the conventions of painting and laborious stand-camera practice, freedom to flip, inert, and recombine images, freedom to concoct new processing and printing techniques and to photograph anything from any point of view. The resulting expansion of the expressive potential of photography was so vast that the aggregate of these explorations was termed the New Vision, and was paralleled by as great an expansion of the medium's reach: through illustrated magazines and newspapers, newsreels and cinema, and several pivotal books, these photographs became ubiquitous vehicles of culture, of information and entertainment, indeed of modernity itself. We today are the direct inheritors of that moment and accomplishment." Featured image, "Anna Oderfeld, Zakopane" (1911-12), is by Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz.
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 12/24/2014
"Big Bear Lake CA A1" is reproduced from Matthew Brandt: Lakes and Reservoirs, one of our top holiday photo books of the year. "When Brandt creates a photograph for his Lakes and Reservoirs series," Suzanne Shaheen writes in the New Yorker, "the water itself is part of the process. Out in the field, Brandt takes with him two key tools: a camera, and a five-gallon plastic jug. 'The camera is to take an image of the lake or reservoir, while the jugs are to take some of the actual lake,' he explained. When he gets back to his studio, he makes prints of selected images, then empties the water he collected into a large tray. 'The c-print of that same lake is then submerged into the tray with the lake’s water,' he said. 'From this point I wait for the water to break down its own photographic image. Depending on the image density and water, this breakdown time can take days or weeks.'" Happy holidays from ARTBOOK | D.A.P.
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 12/21/2014
In a recent issue of KUNSTforum, Norway's leading art magazine, Mari Rustan interviews photographer Eline Mugaas, copublisher of the influential cult collage magazine ALBUM, the first ten issues of which have been gathered in an awesome new 430-page compendium by Primary Information. Mugaas explains, "ALBUM is a fanzine made by Elise Storsveen and me. It is made up of borrowed images that we have collected over many years from books and magazines. We had played around with the images making gifts for friends. Then we discovered that the architect space downstairs from my studio had a copy machine and they let us use it for cost. It’s all about who you sleep with." …continue
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 12/16/2014
"Wrightwood, USA" (2008) is reproduced from Ed Templeton: Wayward Cognitions, launching with a book signing this Thursday, December 18, from 6-8PM at the MOCA store, Grand Avenue, Los Angeles. In his essay, Stijn Huijts writes, Wayward Cognitions can be seen as a collection of pictures that express wonder about an everyday reality that, as a Dutch author once remarked, is actually much crazier than anything the wildest imagination could dream up. It is clear that Templeton has developed an unerring photographic eye for recognizing those un-everyday qualities of the everyday. It is a sort of wonder that is typical of the view of artists, as well as of the way young children approach the world."
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 12/15/2014
"I don't remember which came first, the sinks or the dream. But I remember having a dream in which I found a room in my home that I had never known existed. It was full of daylight streaming in through open windows, and there were white porcelain sinks hung on all of the walls with their taps running... It seemed that every other day someone I knew or someone that a friend of mine knew was getting severely sick, really fast, and most of them were gay men. Young men were dying all around me, from causes unknown, and the world seemed to be either in denial or revulsion. The government lied to the people and shrank from its duty. Families abandoned 'loved ones.' Even the church abdicated its responsibility to life. Gay men were left, more often than not, to take care of their own. It was a situation that is very hard to create in words. So when I am asked to look back and to 'explain' my sculptures of sinks, this situation reasserts itself. What do you do when you stand in front of a sink? You clean yourself. I seemed to be obsessed with making objects that embodied that broken promise." Join artist Robert Gober, quoted above, in conversation with MoMA Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture Ann Temkin at the New York Public Library Tuesday, December 16 from 6-8PM. Featured image, "Two Partially Buried Sinks" (1986-87), is reproduced from Robert Gober: The Heart Is Not a Metaphor, which Gober will sign after the talk.
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 12/15/2014
Join photographer Ken Schles for a book signing at Dashwood Books this Tuesday, December 16 from 6-8PM. Schles will sign advanced copies of 'Night Walk' and 'Invisible City', both by Steidl, and both chosen as Time Lightbox Best Photobooks of the Year.
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 12/14/2014
In her introduction to Amelia and the Animals, photographer Robin Schwartz's daughter and muse, Amelia Forman, writes, "I’m a girl named after a capuchin monkey. She was the first monkey I was ever photographed with, when I was two. Maybe she sparked my love for nonhuman primates, which has led to unimaginable experiences for a city kid. It seems like something out of a fairy tale—a girl with an affinity for the animals that surround her. But that is the story in the photos. Behind the fairy tales are the real, amazing, tame animals that I have gotten to know." Featured image, "Pete" (2006) is reproduced from Robin Schwartz: Amelia and the Animals, one of our top Holiday Gift Books of 2014.
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 12/12/2014
In the New York Times 2014 Holiday Gift Guide, Roberta Smith writes, "If you can have only one Gauguin book, the Museum of Modern Art's catalog for its Gauguin: Metamorphoses exhibition last spring is a very strong candidate. It is distinguished by excellent essays by Starr Figura, who organized the show, as well as by Elizabeth Childs, Hal Foster and Erika Mosier. Moreover, its multimedia approach places new emphasis on the way motifs migrated among the artist's woodcuts, transfer drawings, carved wood sculpture, paintings and ceramics. The result is a much expanded sense of Gauguin's inventiveness, his working methods and how much he accomplished during his relatively brief maturity." Parau na te varua ino (Words of the Devil) (1892) is reproduced from Gauguin: Metamorphoses.
"Paging through a book is like closing a door behind you that simultaneously opens another onto a new room -- all the while keeping the previous room available, just behind the now-closed door of the turned page. Here I am in the hallway of the introduction..." -- excerpt from Sharon Helgason Gallagher's remarks at the New York Public Library panel discussion The Future of the Art Book
What are the kinds of books we ought to be publishing today as exemplars of the book for the future? What is the enduring legacy of "bookishness" that we want to -- may I say "ought to" -- transmit to the future? What kinds of meaning are and can be transmitted uniquely in the book form? What is the "bookishness" of the book that does not survive conversion, translation, adaptation, or reformatting as a digital publication? And what kinds of books even posses this quality?
Tonight, TamTam Books launches Gilles Verlant's authoritative new biography of the legendary French pop star, Serge Gainsbourg. Below is an excerpt: Verlant's chapter on Gainsbourg's passionate but short-lived love affair with screen legend, Brigitte Bardot.
"ONE DAY Schindler was looking at the floor plan of a house that had just been developed in quarter scale from the rough plan he had made directly on the surveyor’s eight-scale contour map."