Filtering by Tag: Arthur Tress

Carré d'Info - Arthur Tress

Added on by ROSEGALLERY.

[Diaporama sonore] : La première grande expo du photographe américain Arthur Tress est à Toulouse

C’est l’un des plus importants photographes américains des années 1970 avecDiane Arbus : Arthur Tress est exposé du 28 juin, et jusqu’au 8 septembre, dans la galerie du Château d’eau à Saint-Cyprien. Des clichés pour la plupart jamais montrés en France et à l’étranger. Carré d’Info vous offre un avant-goût de cette rétrospective estivale. A vos écouteurs.

Né en 1940 à Brooklyn (New-York), Arthur Tress est l’un des photographes américains majeurs des années 1960 et 1970, qui expose pour la dernière fois en France à Arles en 1974. Et depuis, plus rien. Un argument qui a donné l’idée à Jean-Marc Lacabe, directeur et programmateur de la galerie du Château d’Eau à Saint-Cyprien, de montrer au grand public  « un grand photographe », pourtant méconnu dans l’hexagone. « Quand on construit notre programmation, je mets généralement l’accent sur la jeune création, mais aussi des photographes connus. A. Tress, j’y avais pensé puisqu’il n’a pas été exposé en France depuis 1974 », explique le directeur de la galerie.

Au total, ce sont environ 145 photographies prises entre 1956 et 1974 aux Etats-Unis, en Italie, en Espagne ou en France qui ont été rassemblées pour éditer un livre : Transréalités, qui donne le nom à la rétrospective. Ses premières photos ont été prises à l’âge de 16 ans à New-York.

En 1964, il part retrouver sa sœur lesbienne, deux mois à San Francisco et il en sortira une de ses séries emblématiques : San Francisco 64, du reportage subversif. Homosexuel, il s’amuse à mettre en scène le corps des hommes, avec beaucoup d’ironie, comme pour jouer de sa propre sexualité dans sa photographie.

Infos pratiques :

« Arthur Tress : Transréalités », du 28 juin au 8 septembre 2013 à la galerie du Château d’Eau.

Du mardi au dimanche 13h-19H

2,50 € l’entrée, 1,50 € tarifs réduits, gratuit pour les moins de 18 ans.

Text courtesy of Carré d'Info

Arthur Tress Exhibition at Le Château d'Eau

Added on by ROSEGALLERY.

Arthur Tress

Transréalités

28 JUIN AU 8 SEPTEMBRE 2013

Le Château d’Eau à Toulouse et les éditions Contrejour rendront un hommage à cet auteur subversif à travers TRANSRÉALITES, un ouvrage et une exposition. De ses images documentaires de jeunesse dont la plupart n’ont jamais été exposées, aux compositions étranges et surréalisantes qui ont fait sa réputation, ce projet donne un éclairage singulier sur une oeuvre dont la richesse est étonnamment encore très peu connue en France.

Depuis 1974 et la présentation remarquée de sa série « Le collectionneur de rêves » aux Rencontres d’Arles par Alain Tournier, l’oeuvre d’Arthur Tress s’est imposée dans le monde entier à travers de nombreux livres et expositions. Avec Diane Arbus, Lee Fredlander, Duane Michals, Leslie Krims et Ralph Gibson, il fit partie de la génération de ces photographes américains qui dans les années 70 balayèrent les stéréotypes. Ils mirent leur talent au service d’une esthétique inventive et subversive dont on peut encore aujourd’hui mesurer l’emprise sur la conception post-moderne de la photographie.

Contrairement aux autres photographes de sa génération qui renouvelèrent une seule approche de la photographie, Arthur Tress lui, a fait voler en éclats les genres classiques. En introduisant une bonne part de fiction dans ce qui normalement ne devait être qu’un point de vue documentaire il a opéré une subversion dans le reportage. Cette exposition et ce livre mettent en tension différents ensembles de cet auteur à l’énergie créatrice rare. Regroupant une sélection de ses meilleures photographies depuis celles qu’il prit dans les années cinquante dans les rues de New York et de Brooklyn jusqu’aux images oniriques et fantasmées qui le rendirent célèbre, ce projet met en lumière une œuvre à la richesse encore peu connue en France. L’exposition compte notamment quelques unes de ses images de reportage réalisées à San Francisco durant l’été 64, perles d’insolite et d’humour, qui n’ont jusqu’ici jamais été exposées. C’est dans les années soixante qu’ Arthur Tress s’engage petit à petit, se fait défenseur d’une certaine idée de l’Amérique où les particularismes ne doi- vent rien céder ; il se fait aussi défenseur de la cause homosexuelle et des droits civiques. Le choix des images insiste pour la première fois sur l’influence cinématographique et plus particulièrement néoréaliste des débuts de l’auteur ainsi que sur sa vision radicale rompant avec la « street photographie » conventionnelle de l’époque

Text Courtesy of Le Château d'Eau.

The Lucie Awards

Added on by ROSEGALLERY.

Arthur Tress

2012 Honoree: Achievement in Fine Art

Arthur Tress was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY on November 24, 1940. He took his first photographs while still in elementary school in 1952.

He attended Bard College where he studied art and art history, world culture and philosophy under Heinrich Bluecher. While studying, he continued to photograph and began making short films. He graduated in 1962 with a B.F.A.

After graduation from Bard, Tress moved to Paris to attend film school, but soon left. After traveling through Europe, Egypt, Japan, India and Mexico, he settled in Stockholm, Sweden and worked as a photographer at the Stockholm Ethnographic Museum.

In 1968 he moved back to New York with a commitment to becoming a professional photographer. He had his first one-person exhibition that year, "Appalachia--People and Places", which was held at the Smithsonian Institute and the Sierra Gallery (New York City). He then worked as a documentary photographer for V.I.S.T.A. from 1969-1970.

Arthur Tress was one of the first artists in the 1970s to break way from street photography and develop a more personal vision, which included manipulating that realty in front of him instead of being just a passive observer.

As writer/curator Richard Lorenz has written, "Arthur Tress distills multiple viewpoints in his unique and ever evolving style of photography. The cultural and historical inquiry of the ethnographer, the psycho-social guidance and thought-seeding of the stage director, and the calculating, sometimes improvisational, imagination and creativity of the artist all coalesce in Tress the photographer. He is one of America's most prodigious and diversified photographers, one whose documentary reportage can be so subjective or fabricated that it subverts the genre, whose manufacture of visual Eros can present seemingly incongruous dualities of beauty and violence, and whose creation of an individual mythology in a universe of kitsch can make sense of the meaning of life, death, and the hereafter."

Tress exhibited his series "Open Space in the Inner City" at the same Sierra Gallery in 1970 and received a New York State Council on the Arts grant for the series the next year. In 1972 he got a National Endowment for the Arts grant for his "Dream Collector" series. In 1976 he received a second New York State Council on the Arts grant for his "Theater of the Mind" series.

In 1980 he published a book on the male nude called, "Arthur Tress: Facing Up, A 12-Year Survey", which also was exhibited the Robert Samuel Gallery in New York. The same year he began to create his "Teapot Opera" photographs.

His major retrospective "Talisman" traveled from 1986-1988, opening at the Photography Gallery in London and then moving to the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, U.K., Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfort, Germany and the Musee de la Photographie, Charleroi, Belgium.

In 1992 Tress moved to Cambria, CA.

In 1995 the Center for Creative Photography exhibited " Arthur Tress: The Wurlitzer Trilogy", which in early 2002 traveled to the College of Santa Fe.

He has been published numerous times, including in the monographs, "Arthur Tress: The Dream Collector", "Shadow: A Novel in Photographs", "Theatre of the Mind", "Reeves" and "Arthur Tress: Fantastic Voyage: Photographs 1956-2000".

His work is in the collection of numerous museums and institutions, including the New York Museum of Modern Art, the New York Metropolitan Museum, the George Eastman House, the Bibliotheque Nationale, the Centre Georges Pompidou, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Art, the Houston Museum of Fine Art, the Whitney Museum of Art, the Stedelijk Museum, the High Museum of Art, the Chicago Center for Contemporary Art, the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Milwaukee Art Museum.

In 2001, the Corcoran Gallery of Art featured a retrospective of his work entitled "Arthur Tress: Fantastic Voyage: Photographs 1956-2000" which took an intimate look at his long and varied career.

He is listed in the 1982, 1988 and 1995 editions of "Contemporary Photographers", in the International Center of Photography Encyclopedia of Photography, and in the Macmillan Biographical Encyclopedia of Photographic Artists & Innovators. He is listed in the Auer & Auer and George Eastman House databases.

His early work was most recently on exhibit at the RoseGallery, July 2012. Tress developed and printed his black and white negatives in a communal darkroom in San Francisco’s Castro district before leaving the city in 1964.  The vintage prints were stored in his sister’s home, where they remained untouched until 2009.  The rediscovery of this forgotten body of photographs inspired the photographer to revisit his early negatives and “Arthur Tress San Francisco 1964” is the delightful outcome.  The work publically debuted in a major exhibition at the de Young Museum in San Francisco from March 3 – June 3, 2012 and is now available in the companion monograph Arthur Tress San Francisco 1964 published by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and DelMonico Books/Prestel, 2012.

Image and text courtesy of The Lucie Awards

Arthur Tress: Le Journal de la Photographie

Added on by ROSEGALLERY.

Arthur Tress: San Francisco 1964

Arthur Tress, Untitled (Van Ness at Geary Boulevard), 1964. Selenium-toned silver gelatin print. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. ©2012 Arthur Tress

In the summer of 1964, San Francisco was ground zero for a historic culture clash as the site of both the 28th Republican National Convention (the “Goldwater Convention”) and the launch of the Beatles’ first North American tour. The young photographer Arthur Tressarrived at this opportune moment in the city’s history and found himself in the midst of large-scale civil rights demonstrations and chaotic political pageantry. With a unique sensibility perfectly attuned to this quirky metropolis, he set about to capture the odd spectacle of San Francisco.

Over 70 photographs included in Arthur Tress: San Francisco1964 range from public gatherings to impromptu street portraits, views of the peculiar contents of shop windows and commercial signs. This is the first museum exhibition of a virtually unknown body of Tress’s early work. Curator James Ganz explains, “This exhibition offers an evocative time capsule of the City by the Bay and makes a fascinating contribution to the region’s rich photographic legacy.”

The subject matter of Arthur Tress: San Francisco 1964breaks down into three broad categories: public gatherings, including civil rights and political rallies; portrait studies of San Franciscans; and views of shop windows, commercial signs and architectural fragments. Often these categories overlap. In photographing events such as the Auto Row demonstrations, Tress was interested in recording passive bystanders, as well as active participants. His candid images of spectators lining the streets of San Francisco, whether isolated or in groups, capture the distinctive fashions, expressions, and body language of the era. The frequent incursions of commercial logos and signage add to the contemporary flavor of the photographs, effectively fixing time and place.

The exhibition captures the flavor of San Francisco without featuring its most familiar monuments. Tress’s approach to the city was idiosyncratic, generally avoiding popular tourist sites such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Chinatown, while favoring mundane locales like laundromats and coffee shops. Ganz observes, “Tress is a photographer of people rather than landmarks. Given the option of pointing his lens at an attraction like Coit Tower or at a tourist observing the monument, he will always favor the human element over the architectural setting.”

Exhibition Catalogue

Arthur Tress: San Francisco 1964 is a striking volume highlighting prints as well as an assortment of contact sheets and archival materials selected in close collaboration with the artist. Featuring an insightful introduction by exhibition curator James A. Ganz and a conversation with the artist, the book is a remarkable document of the time and place in which the photographs were made, and a work of art unto itself. The catalogue is published with the assistance of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Endowment for Publications.

On view through June 3, 2012

de Young • Fisher Family Gallery • Golden Gate Park 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive San Francisco, CA 94118

Text and image courtesy of Le Journal de la Photographie

Arthur Tress—Los Angeles Times

Added on by ROSEGALLERY.

reFramed: In conversation with Arthur Tress

Posted By: Barbara Davidson

Woman With Sunglasses with Coin Operated Telescopes, Coit Tower, San Francisco, 1964

Arthur Tress was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Nov. 24, 1940. He took his first photographs while still in elementary school in 1952. He attended Bard College, where he studied art and art history, world culture and philosophy under Heinrich Bluecher. While studying, he continued to photograph and began making short films.

Tress was one of the first artists in the 1970s to break way from street photography and develop a more personal vision, which included manipulating the reality in front of him instead of being just a passive observer.

His work is in the collection of numerous museums and institutions.

In 2001, the Corcoran Gallery of Art featured a retrospective of his work titled “Arthur Tress: Fantastic Voyage: Photographs 1956-2000,” which took an intimate look at his long and varied career. For full bio, click here.

————————

Q: How did you develop as a photographer? Were you self-taught like so many photographers of your generation?

A: I was lucky enough to go to a high school where there was a very good graphic arts department where I could study poster and book making under a teacher who thought that students, if exposed to the best in visual design by the likes of Paul Rand or Alex Steinweiss, could do work that was up to New York professional standards. My training in that area helped give me an instinctive eye for strong and simple compositions that communicate directly to the viewer.

The school was in the neighborhood of Brighton Beach and Coney Island, and although photography was not taught, my sister gave me a Rolleiflex camera as a present and I would wander around after school, shooting in the abandoned fun houses and desolate amusement parks off season with my camera, making very melancholy introverted photos that perhaps reflected how I felt as a dislocated incipient gay kid without many friends.

I learned to develop the film on my mother’s kitchen table from Popular Photography magazine and technical manuals borrowed from the library. There were very few art photo books available, but I did take the subway in to see the only museum that featured great classic photography in a serious way at the time, 1954/1958, which was the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan.

Perhaps the real revolution today in the high quality of contemporary photography is not the computer or digital camera but the proliferation of excellent photography programs, workshops and photo review festivals that did not exist in my day; but perhaps being self-taught gave one a sense of initiative and curiosity to be a lifetime learner that has helped me avoid over- commercialization or staleness in my approach.

Q: You have said that traveling brought you into a different kind of involvement with people. Tell me about your early travels and how they impacted your photography.

A: At Bard College in the early ’60s I tried to do artistic nature photography of leaves, rocks and sky in the style of Alfred Stieglitz or Minor White, but later I became interested in the idea of a more objective “visual anthropology” — of photography as an aid to understanding and explaining human cultures.

To explore some of these issues, my family supported me for five years to make a world tour that included several continents, to study some threatened indigenous tribal communities such as the Dogon, the Lapps, the Toda people, the Meo, Inuit and Mayans.

Influenced by the comprehensive takes on China or Moscow by Cartier-Bresson or William Klien’s books on various cities such as New York or Tokyo, I started my own student voyage of ethnographical discovery.

My first was a trip down the Nile from Alexandria to Abu Simbel, where I tried to show the overlapping cultures of ancient Egyptian, Muslim, Coptic and Nasser-style revolution. Next was a year in Mexico, where I wanted again to show the mixing of the pre-Columbian religions, the Christian and the modern political myths of the current socialist government. It was an investigative approach I would also use on our modern contemporary lifestyles in cities such as Stockholm or San Francisco.

So my attitude was that photography could make an understandable mosaic of a society’s historical fabric — of what held it together and made it function as a culture. This made me become more directly involved with photographing people in a spontaneous journalistic style — more of a concerned participant than a distant observer looking for attractive pictorial images. But also I wanted to show how the vestiges of the past could also be part of the living present.

Q: Take me back to the summer of 1964 in San Francisco, where the Beatles’ were beginning their first North American tour and the 28th Republican National Convention that nominated Barry Goldwater – which is the essay we are featuring here in reFramed. How did you end up in San Francisco? What was the political climate like then? Did you see work as a tool for social change?

A: I was returning to the States from Mexico and never had been to West Coast before, and I wanted to visit my older sister Madeleine who had moved to San Francisco several years earlier, mostly as she was a lesbian who had lost her government security clearance because of that and the fact she had marched in a May Day parade during her high school years, and San Francisco had the reputation of being a more liberal, open city.

But in the year 1964 when I did these photos, the city was in a strange mood. The Beatles had left for New York, but the “Summer of Love” was still four years away. San Francisco was essentially a conservative city ruled by a few wealthy families; however, there was change in the air. The assassination of Kennedy and the ensuing civil rights demands, plus the traumas of the growing Vietnam War, created an atmosphere of impending change.

However, when I first arrived in the city I was entranced by the clear, sharp light and the abstract plays of line and shadow, and spent hours photographing the signs, shop windows and people caught in dream-like juxtapositions of architecture; but as I spent a longer time in the city, there was also the street drama of several ongoing events that drew me in to photograph them.

The first were the beginnings of the free speech movement in Berkeley, whose activism spread over into the city in the form of organized civil rights demonstrations against the car dealerships on Auto Row on Van Ness Avenue, which lasted for two months and proved to have a successful conclusion with an agreement to hire more local blacks as salesmen.

The second was the Republication Convention at the Cow Palace. The city was suddenly filled with all these young people and older matrons adorned with candidate buttons and cowboy hats. It was a significant occurrence, as it was the beginning of the more extreme Republicanism that forwarded itself to Reagan and Bush in later years.

As with many photographers of my generation, I saw the camera as a means of social satire and commentary with the goal of them becoming mechanisms for political change. I was inspired by the work of the photographers of the “social landscape” — Robert Frank, Bruce Davidson and Danny Lyons, who used their cameras as media weapons to expose injustice and inequality.

Q: In many of your images from this series, people seem oblivious to your camera or not bothered by being photographed. How did you blend in so casually with a large format camera?

A: Actually, I am quite shy about approaching people to photograph them. But I have learned to be quiet and blend in with the crowd and make myself disappear a bit, and I am a quick little bugger if I need to be.  People in the early ’60s were not used to seeing a lot of casual cameras around and were flattered by the attention.

Ironically, today, with the superabundance of digital eyes everywhere, people are much more suspicious and hostile, as they are afraid they will appear in an uncomplimentary manner on Facebook, Flicker or YouTube, and forget about ever spontaneously photographing children. However, also, the Rolleiflex has an unusual property that you can use it held far above one’s head like a periscope and sort of have a bird’s-eye view that most subjects don’t realize it is themselves you are capturing. It gives some of my best images a floating quality that is quite magical, I think.

Q: You were only 24 at the time you made these images. Were you influenced at the time by other street photographers who were making a name for themselves?

A: Perhaps the most important influence on me at the time and perhaps still is would be Cartier-Bresson. I was to meet him a year later while I was studying at a Zen temple in Kyoto, and we shared some time together. I showed him some of my photos, and of course he thought they were too square and studied. Although I never really persuaded his 35mm aesthetic, we shared a love of surrealism where the ordinary scene or event can participate in an otherworldly, detached, dream-like quality, especially if the image is pulled away from its specific associations of its documentary informative caption.

And the photos have a strange sense of silence about them — a term Diane Arbus was also to use about her own work during those years; perhaps it was America waiting like it is now for the other shoe to drop. Also, like myself at Bard College, he had early training as a painter with Andre Lhote, the French cubist artist, which pushed forward a style of geometric precise composition, instantaneously and intuitively done in the moment, so to speak. If you view the images from the series SF1964, almost all have this very precise arrangement of forms done on the “vif,” which to me convey the sense of the emotional thrust of the image in a clearly defined way.

Q: It was certainly an interesting mix of people gathering in the streets of San Francisco during that time. So I’m curious, how did Beatles fans relate to Barry Goldwater supporters, and how did Barry Goldwater supporters relate to Beatles fans?

A: There was really only one instance where  I had the two groups together in one place. That was at a Bill Scranton [the moderate Republican candidate for the nomination] rally in Union Square.

Scranton was giving a serious speech when all of a sudden several busloads of enthusiastic Beatlemaniacs — fanatical young teenage girls carrying mostly homemade signs — invaded the park with noisy shouts of “Ringo for president,” creating a chaotic scene that disrupted Scranton’s all-American marching band’s ability to carry on with its performance. They were viewed with disdain by the groups of watching  lunch-hour executive “Mad Men” types  in their dark suits, cigarettes and ties. A month later the Beatles were to begin their famous first U.S. tour in the same ground zero for the Goldwater revolution — the San Francisco Cow Palace.

And perhaps America was never the same again.

Q: Now that you have had an exhibit of this work at the DeYoung Museum in San Francisco, have you heard from any of the subjects, and if so, would you like to share any tales?

A: Actually, we were all hoping that someone would show up; and a nice woman, Diane Zarte from San Jose, did, and by chance I happened to be there and we got our picture taken together. She was about 12 when she went to the Ringo for President rally. The San Francisco paper even did a brief story about it.

More importantly, the exhibit at the DeYoung was always filled with people experiencing their ’60s San Francisco moment. The show brought back a lot of memories for people of what San Francisco was like at that time. The curator, Jim Ganz, did a good bit of detective work and found the exact locations of most of the photos or buildings, which I had long forgotten, by examining, using Google street maps and even blowing up the reflection in a person’s eyeglasses to determine that it was a circus parade they were watching because they had captured an elephant!

Arthur Tress’ work is currently on exhibit through Sept. 1st at Rose Gallery in Santa Monica.

Images and text courtesy of the Los Angeles Times

Arthur Tress

Added on by ROSEGALLERY.

Rediscovering a Moment in San Francisco's Past

Kyle Tidd

August 10, 2012

Earlier this spring, the de Young Museum exhibited recently uncovered work by photographer Arthur Tress. In 2009, while sorting through the belongings of his recently deceased sister, Tress found a number of prints and more than nine hundred negatives he had taken on a 1964 trip to San Francisco. In those pictures, the young Tress captured the collision of two major events taking place in San Francisco — the Republican National Convention (called the Goldwater Convention after Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater and held at the aptly named San Francisco Cow Palace) and the influx of a large number of Beatles fans prior to the launch of the band’s first North American tour. San Francisco at the time was also the site of the tense Auto Row demonstrations, protests against discriminatory hiring practices in the city’s car dealerships.

While the collision of these disparate groups may seem incidental, De Young curator James Ganz, who organized the exhibition, writes in the introduction to the catalog for Arthur Tress: San Francisco 1964 that Beatles promoters took advantage of the free press surrounding the Goldwater Convention by passing out large printed posters bearing the slogan “Ringo for President.” Although something about handing out “Ringo for President” signs seems negligible compared to, say, the hype surrounding Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert’s 2010 marches on Washington, Tress captured an early moment in mid-20th-century America when pop culture began to exert a greater influence on high-level politics, even as visual broadcast culture was still in its nascent stage.

Beyond the political marches and demonstrations, Tress photographed ordinary people in restaurants and car washes, on sidewalks and outside homes. Ganz cites the influence of photographers Robert Frank and Diane Arbus on the young Tress. I would also draw similarities between this early San Francisco work and that ofRichard Kalvar. Like Kalvar, Tress excels at finding and framing surreal moments in urban life — though unlike Kalvar, Tress admits that he would sometimes ask his subjects to pose to draw out this absurdist quality. In some instances, however, it seems that Tress’s subjects did the work for him; a reporter is quoted at the beginning of the catalog, writing on the outfits of some Goldwater supporters:

They were sitting there, these prosperous looking, middle-aged people wearing their golden capes and their cowboy hats and their sheriff’s badges, munching on their chocolate-covered ice cream bars. They were not … nuts or kooks, but they happened to look pretty odd at that moment.

In the catalog, occasional contact sheets are interspersed with carefully framed photographs. These series of images read like film stills, adding a cinematic variety to the photo spreads that surround them. The sheets are also a reminder that this collection lay unexhibited and largely unprinted for decades before being brought to light. We’re lucky to now be able to look at what Tress has made available to us — his immersion as a photographer in this moment in San Francisco’s past.

Images and text courtesy of Hyperallergic

Arthur Tress: San Francisco 1964

Added on by ROSEGALLERY.
A selection of contemporary and vintage prints by one of America’s most accomplished and beloved photographers. Opens July 14 at Rose Gallery, Bergamot Station.

In the summer of 1964, San Francisco was ground zero for a historic culture clash as the site of the twenty-eighth Republican National Convention and the launch of the Beatle’s first North American tour.  Having graduated from Bard College in 1962, Arthur Tress moved to Paris to attend film school, travelled to Japan, Africa, Mexico and through most of Europe and in 1964 at twenty-three years old, found himself in San Francisco, immersed in a hotbed of cultural and political transformation. Tress, who went on to become one of America’s most beloved and accomplished photographers, known for his dreamlike and surreal imagery, created what is perhaps his first mature documentary work during this time.  He shot over nine hundred negatives and captured a wide and sophisticated array of city life including political rallies, civil rights demonstrations, and street scenes.

Tress developed and printed his black and white negatives in a communal darkroom in the city’s Castro district before leaving San Francisco in the fall of 1964.  The vintage prints were stored in his sister’s home, where they remained untouched until 2009.  The rediscovery of this forgotten body of photographs inspired the photographer to revisit his early negatives.  The work publically debuted in a major exhibition at the de Young Museum in San Francisco from March 3 – June 3, 2012 and is now available in the companion monograph Arthur Tress San Francisco 1964 published by the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and DelMonico Books/Prestel, 2012.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Arthur Tress studied art and art history at Bard College and received his B.F.A. in 1962.  His first one-person exhibition was held simultaneously at the Smithsonian Institute and at the Sierra Gallery, NYC in 1968.  In 1971 and 1976 Tress was the recipient of grants from the New York State Council on the Arts and a National Endowment for the Arts Grant in 1972.  He is noted as one of the first artists of the 1970’s to break away from street photography to develop a more personal vision characterized by his willingness to manipulate reality and to utilize the photographic medium in an expressive style.

Tress’ photographs have been the subject of exhibitions and retrospectives worldwide and are housed in permanent collections including those at the Museum of Modern Art, NY; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY; the Whitney Museum of Art, NY; LACMA, SFMoMA; Centre Georges Pompidou; Bibliotheque Nationale; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and the International Museum of Photography, Rochester, NY, to name a few.

Monographs of his work include Arthur Tress: The Dream Collector, 1972; Theater of the Mind, 1976; Arthur Tress: Fantastic Voyage – Photographs 1956-2000, 2001; Memories: Photographs by Arthur Tress, Poems by Guillaume Apollinaire, 21st Editions, 2003.

Image and text courtesy of Artweek.LA

Arthur Tress on Blurberati

Added on by ROSEGALLERY.

Five Questions: An Interview with Arthur Tress

Arthur Tress at the DeYoung Museum

Arthur Tress is a photographer whose work freely crosses the boundaries of documentary, narrative, and the surreal. He’s traveled the world and traversed the subconscious. And his work has special meaning to us, as he’s not only created over 25 Blurb books, but he shot some of his early work in San Francisco, Blurb’s home city. His work from that period was recently shown at the DeYoung Museum. Quick-witted and introspective, the 71-year-old Tress continues to push boundaries and inspire. In fact, when I met Tress at the DeYoung on the penultimate day of his show, he was full of advice and ideas for me and my projects.

So naturally, I wanted to include him in our Five Questions series:

Blurb: What got you into photography initially?

Tress: Like most kids, I began in High school. I took pictures for the school yearbook and newspaper, but I also spent hours wandering around my neighborhood of Brighton Beach and Coney Island which, as it turns out, was very photogenic, being full of abandoned amusement parks, fun houses, rundown housing and pool halls. What was popular in the museums at the time was a kind of social surrealism and magic-realism paintings by Paul Cadmus, George Tooker, and Ben Shawn, who were trying to show the effects of economic depression and World War ll, but using the language of dreams and myths. I wanted my photography to be like that and I was eventually able to learn how to be expressive in that way .

Blurb: We love to know about cameras. Can you tell us about the cameras you’ve shot with?

Tress: Basically I have always shot with a 2 1/4 square format, either a Rollieflex or Hasselbald. It gives you a nice sense of seriousness and solidity and yet is small enough to be used spontaneously.

Blurb: What does surrealism mean to you in your work?

Tress: A definition of surrealism was once “a sewing machine on an operating table” – meaning taking things out of their original context with a displacement of location. Every photograph is kind of like that actually… removing things and people from their natural life flow and putting them in a kind of frozen freeze frame.

Paintball by Arthur Tress

But also things to me like paintball, with these guys running around in 100 degree heat in these elaborate military outfits in kind of “Mad Max” bunker environment… seem to me unreal – or surreal. And so I made the Blurb book Splat Zone that demonstrates that kind of weird human oddness.

Blurb: You’ve made over 25 Blurb books, but you’ve also had your work published by traditional art publishers. What do your Blurb books mean to you?

Arthur: I think the name of the game now is ‘sharing’ the work. I get about 300 hits a week on my Blurb bookstore. I think mostly it is students. No one really buys them, but I hope I can be an inspiration to the next generation and set an example of a lifetime devoted to making images, and in my fantasy even perhaps changing the world with a strong-but-slightly-wacky personal vision that has never paid much attention to other people’s opinions or the values of the art-world market place. I’m poor, but very free and might even now, at 71, finally be getting some of recognition I have long deserved. My advice is just hang in there for the long run.

To Live and Die in Dixie by Arthur Tress

I am slowly making my whole archive into small Blurb books. A book format can take a random bunch of miscellaneous photos and show how it was originally conceived of 40 years ago – i.e., my latest Blurb book, To Live and die In Dixie (1969) was just a magazine article that I include in the text. It makes the reason ‘why’ I took the photos in the first place much more understandable.

Also, I am always putting up newer projects all the time. Every photographer has series of photos that he has worked on for a year or two and that had only a brief shelf life in terms of exhibits or publications. The books take these orphaned or even forgotten-about projects and give them another more permanent life.

And the affordability of the well-printed Blurb book makes it an ideal vehicle for book experimentation in format, sequence and design. My books Barcelona Unfolds and Miami Unfolds take the very simple idea of DIY gatefolds to create a whole new concept of what is possible in the online book experience and I hope others take up the challenge.

Barcelona Unfolds by Arthur Tress

Blurb: You’ve said that you no longer see a difference between a documentary approach to photography and “staged, manipulated imagery.” Can you talk about how this understanding developed?

Tress: As I get older and have been photographing for about 55 years, I float between staged and documentary photography often in the same project. For the newest one, “100 views of Morro Rock,” usually I am doing a kind of traditional photo reportage that relies on chance juxtapositions, but sometimes I bring props or include my own hand a or feet in the photo.

It really is about having a neurological matrix of the mind/idea inside oneself internally that projects itself out onto the external world, and the world conforms somehow to that idea synchronistically or by accident to what you originally desired. The subject out there (if it really ever exists in the first place) becomes a kind of visual reflection or meditation of your own focused interior mental state. How you get to it is inconsequential.

Images and text courtesy of Bluberati Blog

Arthur Tress — artdaily

Added on by ROSEGALLERY.

Arthur Tress: San Francisco 1964 opens at the de Young Museum in San Francisco

Arthur Tress, Untitled (Van Ness at Geary Boulevard), 1964

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- In the summer of 1964, San Francisco was ground zero for a historic culture clash as the site of both the 28th Republican National Convention (the “Goldwater Convention”) and the launch of the Beatles’ first North American tour. The young photographer Arthur Tress arrived at this opportune moment in the city’s history and found himself in the midst of large-scale civil rights demonstrations and chaotic political pageantry. With a unique sensibility perfectly attuned to this quirky metropolis, he set about to capture the odd spectacle of San Francisco.

Over 70 photographs included in Arthur Tress: San Francisco 1964 range from public gatherings to impromptu street portraits, views of the peculiar contents of shop windows and commercial signs. This is the first museum exhibition of a virtually unknown body of Tress’s early work. Curator James Ganz explains, “This exhibition offers an evocative time capsule of the City by the Bay and makes a fascinating contribution to the region’s rich photographic legacy.” The exhibition runs March 3 to June 3, 2012 at the de Young Museum.

The subject matter of Arthur Tress: San Francisco 1964 breaks down into three broad categories: public gatherings, including civil rights and political rallies; portrait studies of San Franciscans; and views of shop windows, commercial signs and architectural fragments. Often these categories overlap. In photographing events such as the Auto Row demonstrations, Tress was interested in recording passive bystanders, as well as active participants. His candid images of spectators lining the streets of San Francisco, whether isolated or in groups, capture the distinctive fashions, expressions and body language of the era. The frequent incursions of commercial logos and signage add to the contemporary flavor of the photographs, effectively fixing time and place.

The exhibition captures the flavor of San Francisco without featuring its most familiar monuments. Tress’s approach to the city was idiosyncratic, generally avoiding popular tourist sites such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Chinatown, while favoring mundane locales like laundromats and coffee shops. Ganz observes, “Tress is a photographer of people rather than landmarks. Given the option of pointing his lens at an attraction like Coit Tower or at a tourist observing the monument, he will always favor the human element over the architectural setting.”

Born in 1940, Arthur Tress was raised in Brooklyn and started experimenting with photography in his teens. After graduating from Bard College in 1962, Tress traveled internationally for four years as an ethnographic and documentary photographer. It was during this international tour that he spent the summer of 1964 in San Francisco focusing his lens on city life. Tress developed his San Francisco negatives in a communal darkroom in the Castro District and mounted two small exhibitions in North Bay galleries that summer. He went on to pursue a long and accomplished career in photography that continues to this day.

Text and image courtesy of artdaily

Arthur Tress — kcet

Added on by ROSEGALLERY.

June 18, 2012

The Unflinching Aperture of Arthur Tress

Sarah Linn

Biker with Grannies

Well-heeled elderly women scowl at a leather-clad biker. A civil rights activist poses defiantly in front of a Cadillac dealership. Screaming girls hold up signs proclaiming "Ringo for President."

These are images from "Arthur Tress: San Francisco 1964," a new photography exhibition that captures a pivotal time in California. The show, which ran March 3 through June 3 at the deYoung art museum in San Francisco, opens July 14 at the Rose Gallery in Santa Monica.

A San Luis Obispo County resident for 20 years, Cambria-based photographer Arthur Tress is best known for the strikingly surreal works he created in the 1970s and '80s. But the glimpses of Bay Area life he captured during a stay in 1964 -- recently unearthed after decades in storage -- reveal a different side of the photographer.

Ringo for President

"When he was in San Francisco, he was really trying to find himself in every way," James Ganz, a curator at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, said of Tress. "In one minute he's functioning as a photojournalist would. In the next minute, he's posing someone in an odd way. In the next minute, he's looking at soap suds on a window."

"He's capturing an aspect of not just San Francisco, but American life," Ganz said.

Born in Brooklyn, Tress spent his teenage years snapping photos of Coney Island's decaying amusement parks. He remembers being fascinated with the "long, lonely vistas of dilapidated buildings," which reminded him of the surreal paintings he saw in New York City art museums.

After graduating from Bard College, where he studied visual anthropology, Tress embarked on an international tour that took him across the Americas, Africa and Asia. (He also attended film school in Paris.) "It was important to visit these cultures in the '60s because most of them were on the brink of disappearing," he said, adding that his travels also exposed him to native folklore and mythology. "You can see that the earlier ... human beings didn't have such a rational view of the world with the separation between the real and unreal."

Cadillac Showroom

After a stint in Mexico, Tress traveled north to stay with his sister Madeline in San Francisco. Armed with a Rolleiflex camera, "I would just wander around the city taking pictures of storefronts and people standing in the street," recalled Tress, who was struck by the city's "beautiful clear light."

During his seven-month sojourn, his lens captured Barry Goldwater supporters in town for the Republican National Convention, Beatles fans gathered for the British rock band's first North American tour, and civil rights activists on Van Ness Avenue, a.k.a. Auto Row.

Although Tress was only 23 at the time, "He had a very mature eye," said Hannah Sloan, in charge of special exhibits at the Rose Gallery.

Tress soon went on other projects, including government gigs photographing folk craftspeople and musicians in Appalachia and black sharecroppers in North Carolina. During the 1970s, he worked for the fledgling Environmental Protection Agency as a freelance photographer documenting the startling state of New York City's waterfronts as part of the Documerica project.

Mounted Policeman

"Arthur Tress's photos are some of the most shocking examples of how bad pollution became in the 1970s," said Jerry Simmons, archives specialist at the National Archives and Records Administration, who came across those "profoundly disturbing" images in the course of his Documerica research. Tress's contributions to the collection -- which features more than 80,000 photos taken by nearly 100 photographers between 1972 and 1978 -- include haunting views of an abandoned car partially submerged in Jamaica Bay and a rusting red convertible buried up to its bumper in sand at Sheepshead Bay.

"There really isn't that great of difference between my documentary work and my surreal staged work," explained Tress, whose portfolio expanded to include eerie images inspired by children's nightmares, psychological portraits of emotionally repressed adults, and whimsical still-lifes composed of flea market finds. "I just found that was my forte. It gave me access to the more childlike, fantastic, imaginative work."

As Tress found fame as a surrealist, his earlier documentary-style photos -- particularly those of San Francisco circa 1964 -- were largely forgotten. Then, in 2009, Tress's sister died. While cleaning out her house, Tress came across a box of vintage contact prints, which he brought to Ganz.

Couple Seated

"I was really fully prepared to just pat him on the head and say, 'That's interesting,'" Ganz recalled. "I was amazed by how good and how interesting his work was." In fact, he added, those older photos anticipate aspects of Tress's later work: a painterly approach to scene composition, an off-kilter attitude. "A lot of what Arthur will become later is already present," Ganz said.

"There's a sense of oddness and weirdness in my photos, even at that point," Tress admitted, as well as a certain theatricality influenced by filmmakers including Ingmar Bergman, Alfred Hitchcock and Federico Fellini.

According to Sloan, Tress's carefully composed shots set the young photographer apart from many of his contemporaries, who specialized in shoot-from-the-hip photography full of energy and emotion. That makes him a good fit for the Rose Gallery. "We're not looking for journalistic photos. We're looking for people who were documenting life as they saw it," she explained, listing Lee Friedlander and Garry Winogrand among Tress's peers.

Tress agreed that his San Francisco photos have a meditative quality. "There's a kind of silence to them," he said. "It's not like typical street photography, which is always very, very busy."

A similar sense of calm can be found in Tress's work on the Central Coast, which includes photos of a public shooting range in rural San Luis Obispo, elephant seals in San Simeon, and skateboarders in Los Osos. (The latter series was showcased in the book "Skate Park" in 2010.)

Hello

Tress is currently working on a series titled "100 Views of Morro Rock," inspired by 19th-century Japanese artist Hokusai's woodblock prints depicting Mount Fuji. The photographer wants to portray the monolith overlooking Morro Bay as a sacred mountain, explaining "I'm always looking for the archetypical in contemporary life."

Meanwhile, "Arthur Tress: San Francisco 1964" has captured the attention of The New York Times, Time magazine and The Huffington Post -- a point of pride for the photographer whose work already hangs in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. (Many of the photos featured in the exhibit can be seen in a book published by Prestel USA earlier this year.)

Tress predicts the Rose Gallery show, which runs through Sept. 1, will lure collectors who share his passion for California's fascinating past. "Everyone has had their San Francisco '60s moment," Tress said.

Telescope Faces

Text and images courtesy of kcet