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Graciela Iturbide's Mexico

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MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, BOSTON 
465 Huntington Avenue
January 19 - May 12

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In these times, when walls literally and symbolically epitomize a perverse, exclusionary outlook on the foreign, the work of Mexican photographer Graciela Iturbide strikes with the relentless perspective of an insider. Frustrating the clichés of folklore and the picturesque, Iturbide’s sumptuous black-and-white images reach for the untold stories and overlooked narratives of her home country—its intricate religious and indigenous cultures, conflicting histories, and ever-transitional present. Covering five decades, her first major exhibition on the East Coast unites more than 125 photographs, primarily drawn from Iturbide’s own collection, and features thirty-seven new acquisitions, including pieces from “Juchitán,” 1979–88, a series on Mexico’s Zapotec women; six bewitching images of birds; and documentation of Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul. Accompanied by a beautifully illustrated catalogue, this timely tribute to one of Mexico’s greatest living artists reveals that the other is always us.

Curated by Kristen Gresh

Sabrina Mandanici

continue reading at artforum.com

Jo Ann Callis: The Uncanny Everyday

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by Willemijn van der Zwaan 
GUP Magazine, Issue 59


Jo Ann Callis (b. 1940, United States) started her experimental photography practice long ago, but without a context you could easily mistake her early colour work for something that could have been produced more recently - in fact, the work stems from the 1970s. These images from everyday life, contain a certain uncanny atmosphere and erotic tension, which are now considered common characteristics in the work of many young contemporary artists. 


Callis is hailed as a driving force of the Southern California art scene of the 1970s. However, before she ended up in the Golden State, she followed somewhat more traditional route for women of that era. Although her art education started while she was at high school in Ohio in the 1950s, her academic career was interrupted by marriage and children. After relocating to Los Angeles, Callis picked u where she had left off, and joined a graduate studio programme. While her initial focus was on sculpture and painting, it was her teacher, Robert Heinecken - a highly unorthodox photographer himself - who encouraged her to experiment with photograph and to incorporate it in her other media.

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The contemporary art world was in a state flux at the time, and the social environment the surrounded Callis was also coming undone. speak in the slightly cynical words of the inimitable essayist Joan Didion: the centre was not holding in 1970s California. However, while there w general social upheaval in the state - largely among counterculture youths 'dropping out' of society and getting heavily into drugs - things were al changing for the better.


Second-wave feminism was making strides i promoting equal rights for women, and although Callis was not on the front line of the movement. it did affect her artistic practice. The often frank sexuality and pleasure evident in her work is 8 reflection of the era, as are as the social and gender dynamics that Callis included in her staged images.

Her fabricated scenes seem playful at first glance, but there is often a slight uneasiness about them. Take, for example, the image of a man grabbing a woman, who is standing on a chair, by the ankles. 

While it is unclear what this scene is actually dealing with, Callis's use of what seems to be office furniture, as well as the corporate shoes and clothing worn by the subjects, suggests an underlying power dynamic. The harsh lighting adds to the effect, stressing the sinister nature of the situation. 

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The inventiveness of Callis's constructed scenes and the avant-garde themes she explored are still of great relevance for the world of today. Things are not always so severe; a tenderness often shines through in her work. In one image, we see a young girl, sitting naked on the edge of her bed, soaking a black washcloth in a glass bowl on her lap. The soft light adds a warm glow to her quiet contemplation.

Overall, regardless of the subject, Callis never aimed to push her message on to the viewer. Her early colour photographs exude a timeless freshness and leave room for interpretation. This is a key quality of her work and, whether or not they are inspired by Jo Ann Callis, it is the kind of ambivalence that so many talented young contemporary photographer manage to incorporate in their work too.

Continue reading at GUP.

The government photographer who gave a face to American poverty

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Written by Meredith Mendelsohn, CNN

In the 1930s, hundreds of thousands of poverty-stricken Dust Bowl refugees poured into California from the parched Midwest in search of food, jobs and dignity. Meanwhile, much of the country, mired in its own Depression-fueled misery, was oblivious to the ecological and social catastrophe at hand. Armed with a camera and a good dose of outrage and compassion, Dorothea Lange set out to change that.

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It's a recurring theme throughout modern history, the downtrodden and their advocates. For Lange, photographing the subjugated was her way of aiding them. She pioneered a use of the camera as a powerful catalyst for social change, and in an era erupting with humanitarian conflict, her legacy resonates.

Lange's Depression-era photos are so tightly woven into the fabric of American culture that, for many of us, our memories of that period are inseparable from the scenes she captured with her camera, from her iconic portrait of maternal demoralization and perseverance, "Migrant Mother" (1936), to her over-farmed fields, ramshackle lean-to tents and dusty jalopies.

Her mission was not just personal: Lange had been hired by the photographic unit of the Farm Security Administration -- a progressive New Deal agency founded to alleviate poverty -- to document the growing migrant crisis. But her images went far beyond bureaucratic reportage. A skilled portraitist, Lange famously possessed an ability to return a sense of dignity to a group that had been routinely dehumanized. She had also come of age during the modernist transformation of photography into an art form, and turned her lens on America's social ills with an aesthetically gripping style that captured the country's imagination.

"She and the FSA were clearly dedicated to improving the lives of migrants and drought refugees by creating public sympathy through the use of powerful imagery. And of all the FSA photographers, I think Lange was the most successful at making images that were factual, but which also packed an emotional wallop," Drew Johnson, the curator of photography and visual culture at the Oakland Museum of California, said in an email. Johnson curated "Dorothea Lange: Politics of Seeing," a major traveling exhibition now on view at the Barbican in London (organized by Alona Pardo and Jilke Golbach).

Read the entire article at CNN.

Make Art, Not Walls | Art Talk with Edward Goldman on KCRW

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Tonight, I want to tell you about an amazing event, which is happening – yes – now, at this very moment. And, if you are listening, my advice is to drop whatever you are doing and get yourself to Bergamot Station.
 

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Tonight, from 6 to 9 pm, there is a unique event taking place there – at RoseGallery – an opening reception for the exhibition, MAKE ART NOT WALLS. This exhibition aims to support and celebrate the life and art of a group of refugees and migrants from Nigeria and Gambia who are currently seeking asylum in Italy.
This title, MAKE ART NOT WALLS, comes from an Italian art organization of the same name, founded by Virginia Ryan, who, with a group of volunteers, provides West African refugees with space and donated art materials to tell their dramatic and often painful stories of escape and survival.

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Read the rest and listen to the story on kcrw.com

The MMM Exhibition at Philharmonie de Paris

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Benidorm, Spain, 1997 © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos. (© Martin Parr / Magnum Photos )

Benidorm, Spain, 1997 © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos.
(© Martin Parr / Magnum Photos )

Philharmonie de Paris is currently hosting The MMM Exhibition, on view through January 29, 2017. 

The show is the culmination of a meeting between two personalities - a musician, Matthieu Chedid, with a definitive visual incline, and an iconic figure in contemporary photography, Martin Parr.

At The MMM (Matthieu aime Martin or Martin meets Matthieu) Exhibition, the artists converge in a dialogue held together by two separated and diverse environments. Functioning as a mini-retrospective with more than 500 photographs, Parr’s work is grouped in nine thematic chapters featuring themes such as animals (real and imaginary), headdresses and congregations, each paired with a unique soundtrack, specially composed by Chedid, which is arranged around one music instrument (electric guitar, acoustic guitar, celesta etc). The composer’s “homage” allows for a hybrid experience, halfway between sight and sound, a heartfelt mano a mano.

For complete details, please visit, PhilharmoniedeParis

HE/SHE/THEY Reviewed in Blouin Artinfo

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ROSEGALLERY is showcasing a group exhibition titled “HE / SHE / THEY” by some renowned photographers that will be on view through November 30, 2016.

Susan Meiselas,  Mitzi, Tunbridge, VT , 1974

Susan Meiselas, Mitzi, Tunbridge, VT, 1974

This exhibition is a culmination of the work of various photographers who utilize their own and others’ image to find what lies beyond the constructs of prescribed gender and sexual identity. With works by Manuel Álvarez Bravo, Diane Arbus, Nancy Burson, Andrew Bush, Antonio Caballero, Jo Ann Callis, Graciela Iturbide, Wayne Lawrence, Jocelyn Lee, Nikki S. Lee, Susan Meiselas, Yasumasa Morimura, Lise Sarfati, Tomoko Sawada and Katsumi Watanabe, the exhibition is showcasing how the modern society stills stereotypes the gender orientation. With subjects that challenge the creation of identities based on gender and idealized norms, the artists’ works reflect the bourgeoning independence from the prescribed norms of gender and sexuality.

The exhibition is showcased at 2525 Michigan Ave G5, Santa Monica, CA 90404, USA.

See a full slideshow on blouinartinfo.com

Alicia Eler reviews HE/SHE/THEY for Aperture

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Alicia Eler writes, "Spanning over eighty years of photographs, an exhibition explores the gender non-conforming potential of the word 'they.'

Yasumasa Morimura, Jane Fonda 5 (Barbarella), 1995  © the artist and courtesy ROSEGALLERY

Lise Sarfati, Malaïka #7, Corner 7th Street and Spring, from the series On Hollywood, 2010  © the artist and courtesy ROSEGALLERY

The singular gender-neutral pronoun “they” was named word of the year in 2016. Judging from the social and historical depth of photography and archival imagery in the exhibition He/She/They, currently on view at ROSEGALLERY, which includes work by more than fifteen artists, it’s crazy to think that it took this long to get American culture at large to recognize life outside the gender binary. Ranging from the early 1930s to the present, the works exhibit a wide array of bodies, locations, gazes, and socioeconomic perspectives, and consider the intersectional influence of race and class on notions of gender.

Since this exhibition is presented in Los Angeles, Lise Sarfati’s Malaïka #7, Corner 7th Street and Spring from the series On Hollywood (2010), is appropriately local and captures a woman trying to make it in the entertainment industry. In this startling photograph, a young woman appears forlorn, perhaps returning from an audition, unsure of what to do next. The actress’s face, and the low-angle perspective, is reminiscent of Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Still #21 (1978), in which a young woman, who could be any (white) woman, looks intently beyond the frame, with an imposing block of skyscrapers forming the background. Marrying visual art and Hollywood icons, her dress and hairstyle reference Marilyn Monroe and the “dumb blonde” archetype.

Graciela Iturbide, Carnaval, Tlaxcala, Mexico, 1974  © the artist and courtesy ROSEGALLERY

...Other works in the show focus less on the performance of gender, and more on people who defy normative gender distinctions. Nineteenth-century photographs depict Native American “two-spirit” individuals—those who participate in gender roles not assigned to their sex—but the accompanying text explains that intersex, androgynous, and gender non-conforming people could be held in high regard outside of Eurocentric, heteronormative cultures. In photographs by Mexican artist Graciela Iturbide, Magnolia, who identified as Muxe (Zapotec for homosexual and “genderqueer”), poses for the camera wearing a dress and sombrero, a traditionally male accessory.

He/She/They leans heavily on the visual language of portraiture, which might suggest a desire for authenticity in documentation, in contrast to much of the dynamic content found online, where self-expression by social media sensations, celebrities, and everyday people appears to be constantly evolving. The photographs in this show offer a fixed moment in time, declarative and definitive, but also remain open to the many shades of identity, the gender non-conforming potential of the word “they.”

Alicia Eler is a journalist based in Los Angeles. A contributor to New York Magazine, The Guardian,VICE, LA Weekly, Hyperallergic, Art21, and Artforum, she is currently working on her first book,The Selfie Generation (Skyhorse).

He/She/They is on view at ROSEGALLERY, Santa Monica, through November 12, 2016."

Read the full review on aperture.org/blog!

Photographer William Eggleston pioneered use of colour at MOMA

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William Eggleston’s Greenwood, Mississippi (1973). Collection National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

William Eggleston’s Greenwood, Mississippi (1973). Collection National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

In May 1976, a photography exhibition opened at New York’s Museum of Modern Art that The New York Times described as the “most hated show of the year” and The Village Voice as “some sort of con”.

The principal reason for all the vitriol? The photographer, William Eggleston, had the audacity to print his images in colour.

Looking back, it may seem ludicrous there was such contempt for colour photography. However, at the time black-and-white was the prevailing aesthetic and colour photography was the realm of advertising. Furthermore, influential photographer Walker Evans had described colour as “vulgar”.

Despite the negative response, that MoMA exhibition is considered the moment when colour photography became an art form. With just one exhibition, Eggleston managed to show how the use of saturated colour could transcend its commercial origins. He suddenly made colour legitimate and he is often described as the greatest colourist in photographic history.

But colour wasn’t the critics’ only gripe. Eggleston was also lampooned for his choice of ordinary, nondescript subjects, such as a child’s tricycle, a man on a phone and a woman in curlers. He once famously remarked that “I’ve been photographing democratically” to sum up his approach. He also documented his personal life: his wife and children, but also the drug and alcohol-fuelled parties with musicians and artists, and his long-term lovers, such as Viva, one of Andy Warhol’s “superstars”. He is also renowned for taking only one photo of any subject, never a second shot.

For entire read please visit TheAustralian.