BFA Photography Professor Graham MacIndoe and Journalism + Design Professor Susan Stellin Curate Reframing Recovery at Aronson Galleries
Curated by Graham MacIndoe & Susan Stellin
April 6-21, 2019
Gallery hours: Open daily 12:00–6:00 p.m. and Thurs. until 8:00 p.m.
Tuesday, April 9th: Opening reception : 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Panel discussion: 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Arnold and Sheila Aronson Galleries, Parsons School of Design, The New School
66 Fifth Ave. @ 13th St., New York City
There are about 23 million people in the United States who have successfully resolved a problem with drugs or alcohol, but we rarely see or hear their stories compared to depictions of addiction in media, art, music, and film. Although not everyone identifies as being “in recovery” and many people can’t publicly acknowledge their past because of stigma or the consequences of admitting illegal drug use, a growing movement is working to offer examples of success and hope to those still struggling with addiction.
The goal of this exhibit is not just to show that recovery is possible, but also to highlight some of the ways people have rebuilt their lives: reconnecting with their families, finding rewarding work, developing meaningful relationships with partners, peers, and others who offer support. We also wanted to feature some of the treatment providers and harm reduction services that many people rely on, often at times when they feel isolated and overwhelmed. Recovery is rarely a solo journey and it usually involves setbacks and hurdles, but the more we talk about it, share ideas, and embrace different paths, the more people will find their way.
vice president of policy advocacy, Legal Action Center, and Pedro Mateu-Gelabert, principal Investigator and deputy director, Institute of Infectious Disease Research National Development Research Institutes, Inc. The program is part of the Open Society Foundation’s Dialogue on Drug Policy series at The New School and will be moderated by Susan Stellin . Panelists will discuss how art, media, research, and advocacy can influence how we respond to problematic drug use—through treatment, harm reduction, and other services—and help people rebuild their lives after addiction.
Contributing Artists: Nina Berman, Allan Clear, John Donadeo, Yannick Fornacciari, Tony Fouhse, Paul Gorman, John Linder, Luceo, Graham MacIndoe, Josh Meltzer, Jackie Neal, Neil Sneddon, and Susan Stellin.
Student Projects, supervised by Graham MacIndoe and Julia Gorton, assistant professor of communications at The New School: Sara Akiki, Carly Bayroff, Scouts Palframan, Ellie Plass, Josie Stevenson, and Lucy Xin.
Graham MacIndoe is a photographer and assistant professor at Parsons and Susan Stellin is a reporter and adjunct professor in the Journalism + Design department at The New School who recently completed a master’s in public health at Columbia University. They have collaborated on various projects combining interviews and photography, including exhibitions, talks, and a memoir documenting Graham’s addiction, incarceration, and recovery.
Many of the contributing artists in this exhibition have personal experience with addiction and recovery, while others have worked closely with the people whose stories they documented through long-term collaborative projects.
Portraits and interviews with people navigating life after addiction and incarceration, from a larger series documenting stories of recovery.
Nina Berman: An autobiography of Miss Wish
A multi-dimensional collaborative work focusing on the story of one woman and the intersection of sexual trauma, mental illness, addiction, and recovery.
Allan Clear: Lower East Side Needle Exchange
Photos of people, events, activism, and art from this community center at the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the early 1990s.
John Donadeo: Family Ties
Portraits of John’s extended family and friends exploring the socioeconomic and familial factors that impact addiction and recovery.
Yannick Fornacciari: Heroin Days
Images and text juxtaposing Yannick’s first day on methadone with how he felt after a year of treatment.
Tony Fouhse: Live Through This
Photos of a young woman Tony met who asked for help getting into a rehab program, which enabled her to escape life on the street.
Paul Gorman: Rip and Run
Spoken word pieces and images commenting on Paul’s past drug use and his life now in recovery.
John Linder: Art Therapy
Artwork John created in a program that helps participants use art as part of a therapeutic process to address drug and alcohol problems.
Luceo: Harm Reductionists
Photos of supporters of the harm reduction movement paired with handwritten responses to question prompts.
Graham MacIndoe: Thank You for Sharing
Instagram and Facebook posts reflecting on Graham’s addiction, incarceration, and recovery, which have inspired others to share their experiences as well.
Josh Meltzer: Dopesick—Agents of Change
Portraits of treatment providers, healthcare workers, activists, and counselors shot for Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America, by Beth Macy.
Jackie Neale: Common Ground Tacony
A cyanotype portrait banner of Richard, who tends to a garden in the Tacony neighborhood of North Philadelphia as part of his recovery from addiction.
Neil Sneddon: Developing Recovery
Photos taken by clients Neil asked to document the people, places, and things they identified as meaningful for their recovery.
Lucy Xin & Josie Stevenson: Responding to Recovery
An interactive experience inviting visitors to respond to open-ended questions about what recovery means to them by writing their thoughts on wall panels and postcards.
Carly Bayroff & Scoutt Palframan: Not Just a Label
An animated projection that replaces derogatory terms associated with people who use drugs with positive identities, to show that no one should be defined by negative labels.
Ellie Plass: Harm Reduction at The New School
An interview addressing student substance use, addiction, harm reduction services, and rehabilitation based on insight from those who have direct experience with this issue.
Sara Akiki: Recovery in Perspective
A project that uses stenciling to reframe our notion of recovery by allowing viewers to re-evaluate the world from a different perspective.
Thanks to: Luke Hayman and Elyanna Blaser-Gould at Pentagram Design, Hashem Eaddy, The National, and everyone who worked with the artists and shared their stories.
Part Time Faculty Member Sarah Hasted has recently published her interview with Manuel Knapp titled: “STRINGING THE ART WORLD ALONG: Art Dealer SARAH HASTED Interviews German Artist MANUEL KNAPP”. You can read the introduction to the interview below and watch a video of audio excerpts.
BFA Photography Adjunct Professor Graham MacIndoe Announces Upcoming Exhibition at Contemporary Arts Center
BFA Photography Adjunct Professor Graham MacIndoe has recently announced that he will have an upcoming exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Center located in Cincinnati Ohio. The Exhibition centers on MacIndoe’s photographs of the band The National and their evolving career from 2002 onward. You can read the announcement from the Contemporary Arts Center here.
The exhibition will run April 27 through May 27, 2018.
Irving Plaza, NYC 1/28/18
Photography Program faculty member Thomas Werner was invited to give a presentation on Fashion and Culture to the editors and staff at Bloomsbury Publishing in London during spring break. Bloomsbury released Thomas’ first book The Fashion Image in January of this year.
This was one of a series of book talks Thomas has given since the early February launch at Parsons. Additional talks have been given in New York, Boston, and San Diego over the past month, with upcoming talks in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Paris, and Philadelphia scheduled.
Thursday, April 19
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
The New School, Theresa Lang Community and Student Center, Arnhold Hall
55 West 13th Street, 2nd Floor, Room I-202, New York, NY
“Picturing Addiction” is a part of the Confounding Expectations lecture series, which is presented by Aperture Foundation, and the Photography Program of Parsons School of Design at The New School.
As the current opioid crisis continues to make national headlines, this panel brings together three photographers who are finding new ways of depicting addiction: Nina Berman‘s decades-long project looking at the trauma of addiction and the healing potential of collaborative art; Edwin J. Torres’s photographs that show the effects of synthetic marijuana in his own community; and Graham MacIndoe‘s nuanced yet powerful series of self-portraits and environments taken during the years he was addicted to heroin and crack. At a moment when 21 million Americans struggle with addiction, photography now plays a key role in shaping our understanding of this crisis. Moderated by Paul Moakley, deputy photo editor of Time, this panel offers ways in which we can further the conversation beyond what we already know—that America is dealing with its worst addiction epidemic yet.
Participating panelists include Nina Berman, Graham MacIndoe, and Edwin J. Torres.
This program is supported in part, by the Grace Jones Richardson Trust and William Talbott Hillman Foundation, and by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State legislature, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and with additional support from generous individuals, including the Board of Trustees and Members of Aperture Foundation.
BFA Photography Faculty Graham MacIndoe is featured in the new article on Artsy As Opioid Epidemic Worsens, Photographers Are Finding New Ways to Capture Addiction. The article discusses opioid addiction and how photography documents addiction. MacIndoe is featured amongst photographers such as Larry Clark and Nan Goldin, you can read the article here.
Current BFA Photo Faculty Kate Wolkoff ‘s bird silhouette series “Found” has been included as a mini exhibition in curator Marvin Heiferman’s Seeing Science Project at the University of Maryland.
You can view the mini series here.
Graham MacIndoe, an adjunct professor of photography at Parsons, will open his upcoming exhibition “Coming Clean” The Scottish National Portrait Gallery on April 8th and will run through November 4th 2017. “His series of self-portraits entitled Coming Clean, confronts his addiction to heroin in a group of photographs that are graphic, unflinching and
You can find more info on the exhibition here
Graham MacIndoe will also be doing a TED X Talk at Stanford on April 23rd with his Partner Susan Stellin about their memoir which was published last year by Random House about Addiction and Recovery.
For more information on the Ted X Talk visit here
BFA Photo Director Colin Stearns’ photobook Meridian named by photo-eye as one of the Best Photo Books of 2016.
Sarah Bradley writes:
Meridian is quiet and understated, straightforward in layout and small in scale but makes good use of those modest assets. It’s smartly designed. Intimately sized images appear and occasionally repeat, scenes are sometimes viewed from slightly different angles, sometimes printed lightly, making one unsure if the image is really there or if one is seeing the ghost of the photo on the reverse bleeding through. Images fade in and out. A figure appears on one page and then again on the following, but loosing distinction. Suddenly one becomes aware of the shadow of the image through the paper. The photographs move from coastal spaces to verdant ones to concrete and back again, but for me this book isn’t so much about that visual content. Images seem correlated with thought and feeling, the book unwrapping stream of consciousness style to reveal a solitary and heady place. I know this space well; I am often here – but never actually here. Stearns’ voice is well articulated and his Meridian is his own, co-existing as both familiar and foreign terrain.
“IRK Magazine Is an Independent Paris Based Art, Photography and Fashion Printed Magazine and Digital Platform. ”
ROMAN NVMERALS is a publishing collaboration started by artists David La Spina and Michael Vahrenwald. The imprint consists of a series of simple, single-signature books, consisting of a concise body of work. ROMAN NVMERALS books are affordable and printed in the US at Meridian Printing in East Greenwich, Rhode Island on an Indigo Press. The artist-funded books are printed in batches of 20–40 in order to have no backstock or overhead, serving as a streamlined vehicle to make self-publishing affordable for artists.
ROMAN NVMERALS’s new releases include the following titles:
Vol. IX: Nine by Ted Partin
Vol. X: Little Discrepancies by Linda Gallagher and Brian Bauman
Vol. XI: El Camino Real by John Lehr
Vol. XII: Island Ponds by Orianna Riley
Vol. XIV: Woven Nº 4 by Tanya Marcuse
Vol. XV: Woven Nº 9 by Tanya Marcuse
Vol. XVII: Drafts: Letters Unsent by Ann Daly
Vol. XVIII: Vita Nova by Katherine Wolkoff
Vol. XIX: Garden Study by Marion Belanger
Vol. XX: Ranch House by Marion Belanger
Vol. XXI: Outside Edge by Marion Belanger
Vol. XXII: Oasis by Kristine Potter
Vol. XXIII: A Different Kind of Tension by Darin Mickey
Vol. LVII: Box of Fiction by Ann Daly
Matthew Jensen, Part-Time Lecturer at Parsons, has been named as Guggenheim Fellow in Photography for 2016. Jensen has taught in the Photography program at Parsons since 2012.
The Guggenheim Foundation’s announcement gives a comprehensive history of Jensen’s work and background:
Artist Matthew Jensen’s multi-disciplinary practice combines walking, collecting and rigorous site-specific explorations of landscapes. His projects strive to connect people to places by expanding the traditions of landscape photography to include a range of mediums and actions. Each body of work develops from time spent in publicly accessible landscapes or by examining the way different technologies transform this experience.
Walking and participation have been central to a number of Jensen’s recent projects. Walking Flatbush, is an artist-map and poster created and distributed in conjunction with Crossing Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Museum (2014). A Walker’s Guide to Chadds Ford, also an artist-map and poster, was the centerpiece of Jensen’s solo exhibition at the Brandywine River Museum of Art in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania (2014). Both maps combine found objects, native plants, historical research, and anecdotes with logistical information. Jensen combined community participation, walking, history, and collecting in his exhibition The Wilmington Center for the Study of Local Landscape at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts (2013). The final installation provided an outlet for the work created by participants and also featured discoveries made by Jensen throughout the Wilmington park system. One series of photographs titled, Tree Love, documented the tree carvings and arborglyphs found in abundance along the Brandywine River. The age-old tradition was revealed to be a century-old subculture with thousands of carvings hiding off-trail on nearly every beech tree; a marriage proposal, poems, vulgarities, insults, countless hearts, and portraits dating as far back as 1903. Jensen designed and led artist walks in conjunction with the aforementioned exhibitions as well as for Storm King Art Center, the Municipal Arts Society, City as Living Laboratory, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Third Streaming and Elastic City.
New York City landscapes have been the subject of many of Jensen’s photographic and collection-based projects. The ongoing project Park Artifactshas been presented in various iterations in solo exhibitions on Governors Island (2010), at Wave Hill (2012), at the Queens Museum during his ArtBuilt Mobile Studio residency (2015), and in Brooklyn Bridge Park (2016). The collection contains over 6,000 artifacts found in plain sight during walks through parks. Historical objects like a Spanish Real from 1746, flint arrowheads, clay pipes, and trading beads mix together with objects as familiar as fishing lures and plastic toys. Ian Frazier, writing for the New Yorker, described the wandering process in an article titled Lost and Found (23 July 2012).
Light and landscape combine as metaphor in numerous works by Jensen. In 2009 the Metropolitan Museum of Art acquired his photographic seriesThe 49 States and exhibited it in After Photoshop: Manipulated Photography in the Digital Age (2012). The photographs were derived from months of exploring small towns in the early days of Google Streetview. The series is also in the collection of the National Gallery of Art where it was also exhibited (2016). Other works like The Sun Returning, 14 Hour Sunset and Rainbow Around the Sun were exhibited together at Yancey Richardson Gallery as part of Jensen’s solo show Feels Like Real (2015).
Matthew Jensen received his B.A. in political science and fine arts from Rice University in 2002. He worked on a number of national, state, and city grassroots political campaigns prior to receiving his M.F.A from the University of Connecticut in photography and sculpture in 2008. He is a MacDowell Fellow and has participated in residencies at the Queens Museum, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Wave Hill and Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. Jensen has been a part-time lecturer of photography and studio art at Parsons/The New School since 2012. He has also taught at SUNY Purchase, George Washington University and the University of Connecticut.
Sylvia Hardy (MFA Photography ’12), Magali Duzant (MFA Photography ’14) and Shadi Harouni (Faculty in Fine Arts) Exhibiting in Queens International 2016, the Queens Museum’s biannual exhibition of artists living or working in Queens, NY. The show highlights and contextualizes the artistic vibrancy of the borough through cultural productions in all media. The seventh iteration looks to the idea of thresholds and the way spaces for transition, contact, and exchange operate. These notions of borders and acts of border-crossing are also characterized by collaborations with Trans-Pecos, an alternative music venue, and Ayham Ghraowi, designer and creative director for the exhibition’s multi-outlet publishing platform.
The Opening Reception is taking place on April 10, 4PM – 8PM
Queens International 2016 is organized by guest curator Lindsey Berfond and Queens Museum Director of Exhibitions Hitomi Iwasaki.
Jesus Benavente and Felipe Castelblanco
Bang Geul Han and Minna Pöllänen
Xiaoshi Vivian Vivian Qin
Samita Sinha and Brian Chase
Trans-Pecos (with 8 Ball Community, ESP TV, and Chillin Island)
“If all photographs are afterimages — traces and disclosures of an ever-changing world — what is gained by foregrounding this fact? Always previous and elsewhere, images reveal people we’ve known, know or may never meet, as well as places we’ve been or may never visit. They linger, reinforce or displace memories, and come back in unexpected ways. A personal reflection on the vagaries of photographic vision, Colin Stearns’ self-described photo-novel Meridian gathers three years of peripatetic images taken in France and New York City. Modest and unassuming, the images follow the life of a young man on the move with a camera. Alone and restless, he gazes at the world from a distance and moves through a landscape of foreign cities, parks and wilderness, and the confines of anonymous hotel rooms and flats. Less romantic autobiography and more philosophical missive, Meridian points to a past that is slipping away and yet held still in mute images. ” – Adam Bell
Visit Photo Eye to read the full review
SVA 133 West 21 Street, 101C
Talks are free and open to the public.
WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON?
I stopped working on “projects” years ago. I was always protective of my freedom to make any picture I wanted, any way I wanted, any time I wanted. Projects took away that freedom and were a distraction.
As our brains evolved, we started to think we needed laws, rules: “Cross at the green, not in between.” In New York, where jaywalking reigns? I think the result is we’ve lost our trust in instincts; we’re trained not to trust them but control them – to reduce life to a set of rules, concepts. But in art, in making things, there are no rules. If you think you know a rule, try breaking it. You might take a great or at least an original photograph.
In a way, my teaching is about freedom. I think that’s the great seductive metaphor of all art – dance, music, poetry, painting, photography – it’s about freedom both for maker and viewer.
WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU IN YOUR WORK?
The life around me.
WHAT LED YOU TO CHOOSE PHOTOGRAPHY AS A CAREER?
It was the only medium that could even pretend to be in touch with reality.
The content of a photograph as opposed to its subject interests me, both in my own work and in teaching. It takes students a while to see this, that photographic qualities such as tonality, distance from subject, shapes, framing, all these things, inform the meaning of a photograph more than the subject matter and making a student aware of this may reveal to them what – to give one example – their real emotions about their family are from what they believe is nothing more than a family snapshot.
I love photography because you can’t define it. It’s true that photography is a medium where a thing itself makes its own picture, but what that thing is, is very slippery. I like pictures that boggle the mind, when they expand the notion of what is real. You can’t do that in another medium because you don’t start with anything real. As long as you’re faithful to the notion that whatever you’re looking at was actually in front of the camera one time or another, and hasn’t been fiddled with, you’ve got a very interesting medium because you’re not talking about artist’s conception, you’re talking about life.
WHAT ACTIVITIES DO YOU ENJOY OUTSIDE OF WORK?
Reading, music, films, food…
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT TEACHING?
I encourage students to work instinctively, rather than to illustrate concepts. All over the world cameras are basically the same. What’s going to be the difference between your work and everybody else’s? It’s not going to be technique. It’s what you feel. Shoot what you feel something strongly about. Look, you like ice-cream. Take a picture that shows how that sundae looks to someone who loves ice-cream.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OUR STUDENTS ON FOLLOWING THEIR PASSIONS AND PURSUING A CAREER IN PHOTOGRAPHY?
Keep your photo career your own.
Röda Sten Konsthall is proud to present Carlos Motta: For Democracy There Must Be Love, the first survey exhibition of Colombian artist Carlos Motta.
Presenting a selection of installations, videos, sculptures, and documentary-based works from 2005 to 2014, the exhibition highlights Carlos Motta’s ongoing preoccupation with democratic representation and the repression of individual and collective civil liberties. Promoting the act of self-representation, Motta creates works that question the writing of history, the construction of political memory, and the normative discourses of sexuality and gender, arguing that the state of democracy cannot exist merely by means of tolerance and inclusion. True equality and freedom demands systemic transformations that allow ways of self-government: Being human is being beyond parameters – without sex, gender, ethnic, racial or social constraints. But, how can this ideal be attained?
Carlos Motta: For Democracy There Must Be Love focuses on Motta’s investigation of the history of the subordinate sexual body by drawing parallels between pre-Hispanic and colonial cultures in Latin America and contemporary queer politics. Creating discursive platforms to enable conversations around matters of sex and gender as issues of social justice, Motta’s work challenges the traditional grounds of society—from the violent imposition of sex as a legal and a moral category, to the hegemonic authority of the Church, to the State’s regulation of bodies and identities.
The exhibition features the installation Nefandus (2013-2014), which includes Nefandus Trilogy,three beautiful and haunting films that study pre-Hispanic homoeroticism and the brutal stigmatization of sexuality during the European colonization of the Americas; and We Who Feel Differently (2012), a video installation that addresses critical issues of international contemporary queer culture in the light of forty years of LGBTI politics.
The survey also includes documentation from three pieces of Carlos Motta’s Democracy Cycle(2005-2014): Deus Pobre: Modern Sermons of Communal Lament (2011), Six Acts: An Experiment in Narrative Justice (2010) and The Good Life (2005-2008) – all works that investigate the construction of political memory in Latin America by using performative interventions in the public sphere. READ MORE
Curated by Aukje Lepoutre Ravn.
A human(e) orchestra is an umbrella over a series of performances, workshops and a film with an ensemble brought together to enact various compositions that range from conventional music to physical labor to speech acts. The first of the series, Hear, Here, was performed in June 2014 and will develop into a film. Subsequent projects are working from the collectivity of people to produce noise around a series of agreed upon issues and audiences in need of music or temporal arrangement approaching unity. This “music” will occur through the commissioning of appropriate scores, instruments, workshops and then the presentation of discrete works in varied spaces ranging from traditional exhibitions and theaters to web and film. READ MORE
Jeanine Oleson is an artist whose practice incorporates interdisciplinary uses of performance, photography, film/video and installation work. She attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Rutgers University. Oleson has exhibited at venues including The New Museum, MOMA/PS1, White Columns, Art In General, Socrates Sculpture Park and Exit Art in NY; Commonwealth & Council and L.A.C.E. in Los Angeles; Beta-Local, San Juan, PR; and Grand Arts in Kansas City, MO. Oleson has received a Franklin Furnace Fellowship and a Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant in 2009; Brooklyn Arts Council Community Arts Regrant, 2008 and 2009; and a Professional Development Fellowship, College Art Association, 1999-2000. She has been an artist in residence at The New Museum, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and Smack Mellon Studio Program. Oleson is an Assistant Professor at Parsons the New School for Design.
This week I had the pleasure of meeting with photo-based artist Sarah Palmer. Here in her studio at The Invisible Dog Art Center, Sarah arranges, photographs and re-photographs small assemblages to produce thoughtful, highly literary images. For me, Sarah’s insights into photography, literature and her current project, No Whiteness Lost underscore the importance of continually connecting with and learning from other artists.
Liz Sales: You have so many Polaroids here!
Sarah Palmer: I have hundreds more. I shoot 4×5 film with strobes, so Polaroids or, these days, Fuji Instant packs help me to pre-visualize my images. A photograph is such a different visual experience than real-life seeing.
Liz Sales: But these don’t always serve a solely utilitarian purpose, do they? You include Polaroids in your still-lifes —for lack of a better word.
SP: Yes,I like to include photographs as physical objects within my images. I think of them almost at mirrors that reflect inward, eliminating the elusive “viewer,” creating an almost disturbing psychological space.
Mirror Dance, 2014
LS: Is this something you’re exploring currently?
SP: Yes, in many different ways. I’ve been slicing up old prints and putting them back together. For example, this is an image of a balloon that I composited with a Hubble Space Telescope image of the birth of a star. I took the same image, inverted it and printed that, as well. I combined the images and re-photographed the collage. There is this hard shadow, cast onto the background, which a real balloon would never make. I think this non-indexical quality widens the gap between what an object is and what an image of an object is, which is an important idea in my work.
Nursery (Carina), 2014
Liz Sales: So, this is part of a larger body of work?
SP: Yes, this series is called No Whiteness Lost. I borrowed it from a line in The Descent, a poem by William Carlos Williams. He became one of my favorite poets, when I was studying literature in college.
LS: I’m not familiar with The Descent. Could you tell me about it?
SP: Williams wrote, “[N]o whiteness (lost) is so white as the memory of whiteness.” He wrote this poem as an older man, and, to me, it really articulates the way memories transform as time passes. I don’t remember events as vividly as I remember feelings and emotions. If you asked me about a novel or a film, I would be more likely to recall how I felt when I read or watched it, the color or formal elements, the music and the tone, than the plot. That’s why I’ve appropriated No Whiteness Lost as the title for my series – I’m interested in making pictures that create color/form, “music,” and tone rather than narrative.
LS: That resonates in Object (Swann), which references Proust’s idea of the fallibility of memory. Are literature and poetry significant to your work in general?
Object (Swann), 2014
SP: Yes, text is always significant to my work. While making this work, I’ve also been thinking about the lead light and empty horizons – a sense of ecstatic futility – in Beckett’s Endgame, as well as the whiteness of Melville’s white whale, as a metaphor for horror.
LS: Whiteness as a metaphor for horror in literature often references Colonialism and racial dominance. Is that idea relevant to your work as well?
SP: That is quite a complicated question for me. I resist the didactic in my work. I am politically concerned but have a complex relationship to activism, and I struggle with how to engage these issues in my work. Perhaps this will change over time, as I mature as an artist. Photography is such an easily illustrative medium and I thwart clear narratives; rather the “whiteness” I reference here has the power to blind with glare, to obscure, to create blank space.
Hence, I tend more toward philosophy, looking at artists and poets who explore ambiguous spaces, including Williams and H.D. among Modern poets; Samuel Beckett; my father, the poet Michael Palmer; the poet Robert Duncan and his partner, the artist Jess, (both were close friends of my father’s); the poet and painter Norma Cole, (also a friend).
I’m also drawn to contemporary artists who engage with photography in fascinating ways, including my husband Dillon DeWaters, Sophie Ristelhueber, Viviane Sassen, Gabriel Orozco, Sigmar Polke, R.H. Quaytman (herself, the daughter of a poet, Susan Howe), Leslie Hewitt (whose work engages in a fascinating way with history), my friend Lucas Blalock, the brilliant Paul Chan, Lorenzo Vitturi, whose work I just discovered, and I could go on for pages and pages. It is really important for me to be part of a community, even if is a community of influence, artists I don’t know. The smallness, the inter-connectedness, of the world makes it more engaging to me.
A Shadow is a Shadow, 2015
LS: That reminds me of a conversation I had with Dillon. He also stressed the significance of being part of a community of influence and the importance of artists, filmmakers and writers being in conversation with one another through their work. How does being married to and sharing a studio with another artist influence your practice?
SP: Dillon’s and my work are hugely influential on one another. When we met ten years ago, we were in love with photography, with the history of photography. For both of us, that relationship to photography has evolved and developed, has transformed, really, into a more complex and interesting one, into an art practice. Both of us have moved away from more traditional forms of photography, into ourselves and our psyches, finding sources in other artworks rather than just in the field. We also have a son now, which makes an art practice both far more difficult and incredibly, more necessary. We have had to make peace with our pasts, so to speak, and in my case, that involves embracing my love for words and the way words make my heart race, create electricity in my head. That’s what I desire from my work.
Polke 1969 (Perfume Picture), 2015
We also end up photographing the same subjects, from time to time, on our own. We are actually on the cusp of releasing an ongoing series of limited edition diptychs, Pyramid Editions, one a month in 2015.
LS: Congratulations! It’s also note-worthy to me that you mentioned empty horizons in literature earlier. I’ve noticed that your images tend to obfuscate the horizon line. For example, in A Spiritual Urgency, an empty stepladder seems to exist midway between Earth and the stars, with no distinct horizon line separating the two.
SP: The ladder is actually surrounded by fake “snow” which I created by blurring stars photographed by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. I have a memory of being backstage at the ballet while they were testing the fake snow for The Nutcracker—snow falling on an empty stage. It was thrilling, and it stayed with me.
A Spiritual Urgency, 2013
LS: That sounds like a wonderful memory, and hearing about it adds a tenderness to the work. Are you a romantic?
SP: I’m a bit of romantic, but not (I hope) a blind romantic. I’ve thought a lot about the Sublime, ever since reading Edmund Burke as an undergraduate, and have been searching for that heart-stopping and wonderful-terrifying moment, looking over the edge of the cliff (hence, Endgame, Moby Dick, The Descent – apocalypse, horror, facing inevitable death). As a result, my scale has gotten relatively small; I used to make landscape photographs.
LS: I don’t understand.
SP: In my graduate thesis, I was searching for the sublime in America to see if it still existed, post-railroad era—
LS: Oh! Does it still exist?
SP: Nope, not in the German Romantic sense. So, I started to explore the sublime inside my studio, and my scale necessarily condensed.
LS: It’s definitely worked out. In contrast to the small scale you’ve adopted primarily, you also appropriate astronomical images. Could you talk about your interest in space?
SP: What could be more terrifying than the vastness and unknowability of the universe and time, and our relative infinitesimal tininess? The terror I first felt at the idea of non-existence was not dissimilar from the terror of space and infinity, both around age 9. And yet, the Hubble has made these incredibly beautiful, knowable, picturesque images available to us. Even if they are romanticized data approximations, they are so late-80s and fantastic. Black light posters and smoke machines and raves. All-night dance parties.
LS: You’ve found a tension between fear and pleasure, which I associate with the sublime, especially in your depictions of people. Could you talk a bit about your decision to seat your subjects facing away from your camera?
SP: That’s a very good question. I rarely photograph people and I’m not interested (in this work, at least) in making portraits, but people have this inescapable quality, a particular-ness, in photographs. And, therefore, there is something horrifying about removing their faces, which I do with hair or masks or simply by turning them away from the camera. I like to treat people no differently than I would treat any other object in my studio.
Wove out of the dark, 2012
LS: I’ve noticed that you often use studio supplies, like ladders and buckets, in your work as well. Is that in reference to the artist’s process?
SP: I work intuitively and don’t have preconceived notions going into the studio, so I tend to use what is available. Also, I love the idea of turning something mundane into something uncanny or unrecognizable through context, use against purpose; re-examining ordinary objects, and somehow through that examination transforming them into something radiant. For example, people tell me this image, No Horizon, looks like a scribble, but it’s actually a photograph of gathered tulle.
No Horizon, 2014
LS: Oh, I did think that might be a photograph of a drawing!
SP: That’s what I love about tulle! It responds to light in a way that causes it to appear blurry or unfocused on camera. I’m always fighting against the inherent representationality of photography. It’s an absurd and impossible struggle; photography literally re-presents reality. I’m using a medium that is intrinsically representational, and I’m trying to move away from representation.
LS: That’s interesting, because even though you are pushing against the medium in many ways, I find your work to be inherently photographic, or at least self-reflective.
Red Burn, 2014
SP: Oh absolutely, this summer I started a project, making contact prints on construction paper, by leaving 8” x 10” negatives on the paper out in the sun. So, even when I am not using traditionally light-sensitive photographic material, I am still referencing photography. Literature and philosophy are important to my work, but it is always still rooted in the medium of photography.
On January 23rd, using images and narrative, Vincent Cianni described how his work documenting gays in the military broadened his own perspective of understanding and accepting the differences of others. Listen to the edited version here.
In Photography as Activism, Michelle Bogre discusses the philosophy and history of how activists and social reformers have used the camera as a research tool and instrument for social reform. Beginning with the invention of the camera, the book traces the earliest instances of photographic activism through to today’s emerging practices, profiling the most prominent activists of their time and their legendary images. She includes in depth interviews with contemporary photographer activists, including:
- Eugene Richards
- Marcus Bleasdale
- Tom Stoddart
- Jonathan Torgovnik
- Edward Kashi
- Brent Stirton
- Stephen Dupont
- Walter Astrada
The book has been gaining attention again from the academic world, since it was chosen as the Common Reading at Rice University last Fall.
Other books by Michelle Bogre:
Photography 4.0: A Teaching Guide for the 21st Century
Four shoulders and thirty five percent everything else
Nov 9 – Dec 28, 2014
88 Eldridge Street, 5th FL
New York, NY 10002
Capricious 88 is proud to present Katherine Hubbard’s most recent work of black-and-white silver gelatin prints shot in southern Utah, entitled Four shoulders and thirty five percent everything else. A site she has explored for the past three years, the works set the stage for play between performance and image — placed within a desert landscape marked by sight lines that delineate the field of vision between two facing cameras. Hubbard uses her body to mark the space and depth of the landscape-stage while simultaneously marking the film plane.
A series of black-and-white landscape photographs made with multiple exposures and the compression of numerous points of view into a single frame will be shown in conjunction. Each image becomes a point of consideration in asking how we may look at land now. Four shoulders and thirty five percent everything else is of the belief that all looking is political, as each person does not see the same thing.
On Sunday, December 14th , Katherine Hubbard will present her lecture-performance, “Notes from Utah, Notes on Grey”, inside the gallery.
Katherine Hubbard is an artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She is a photographer whose practice incorporates performance, sculpture, clothing, text and video. Her performance, A thing and its thing-ness. It’s all just nouns and adjectives baby, 2013, a deconstructed opera in response to historical invisibility was presented at the Museum of Art and Design in New York. Additionally, Hubbard’s work has been exhibited internationally at Renseriet, Stockholm, Sweden; University of Maryland Stamp Gallery, Maryland; Higher Pictures, NY and Murray Guy, NY. Hubbard maintains an ongoing collaboration with A.K. Burns exploring the history of queer esthetics, iterations of which have been exhibited at Recess, The Brooklyn Museum of Art and The Museum of Modern Art, all in New York. Recently, Hubbard and Burns have exhibited their collaborative works in NYC Makers: The MAD Biennial at The Museum of Art and Design, Walk-ins Welcome at Marlborough Gallery and As We Were Saying at The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York. Forthcoming in 2015 she will present Small Town Sex Shop, a conceptual clothing project in collaboration with Savannah Knoop at Recess, NY. Hubbard has an MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College and is currently part-time faculty at Parsons The New School for Design.
Capricious 88, as an extension of Capricious Magazine, initiates experimentation while working with a variety of artists from emergent to established who use photography as their point of departure to seek out new vehicles of expression in sculpture, video, performance, or publications. The gallery is located on 88 Eldridge Street in Manhattan. For further information please contact Sophie Morner at info@Capricious88.com or visit our website at becapricious.com.
Parsons Photo Faculty member Arthur Ou is showing work in Paris this month at a show called Me and Benjamin.
Xippas and M+B are pleased to announce Me and Benjamin, opening November 14 at Xippas in Paris. Renos, the owner of Xippas, invited Benjamin to curate a show at his Parisian gallery. In turn, Benjamin invited M+B artists to invite other artists—or curated group of artists—or artist run space. The artist run space would then perform an act of sub-curation where they organize a show within the larger show. The exhibition self-curates, bringing the distinctive energy and appeal of the Los Angeles art scene as it networks out across the North American continent and into Europe.
Located at the edge of the continent, in one of the last time zones and perched precariously on the Pacific Ocean, Los Angeles exists in a sense isolated from the major cosmopolitan centers of the world. And yet, artists continue to head west, settling into the vast, sprawling terrain, into the eclectic neighborhoods that networked together create this city. Los Angeles has a unique appeal and ability to foster strong knit artist communities and the burgeoning gallery scene, artist run spaces, alternative venues and shared studio spaces are what make the city relevant today. While cartographic dispersal defines this city, the importance and necessity of the networks that connect it stand out as defining. It is these strong artistic networks that Me and Benjamin—M+B—has sought to promote and expand upon.
Participating artists include Matthew Brandt, Jim Welling, Ken Tam, Phil Chang, Peter Holzhauer, Jessica Eaton, Whitney Hubbs, Cathy Opie, Larry Sultan, Dwyer Kilcollin, Nancy Lupo, Patrick Jackson, Pae White, Anthony Lepore, Michael Henry Hayden, Matthew Porter, Arthur Ou, Owen Kydd, John Houck, Moyra Davey, Alex Prager, Vanessa Prager, Mariah Roberston, David Benjamin Sherry, Hannah Whitaker, Ruby Sky Stiler, Jesse Stecklow, Favorite Goods: Orion Martin, Erin Jane Nelson, Kelly Akashi, Carlos Reyes and Aaron Angell.
Photography faculty member Katherine Hubbard will be featuring her latest work Four shoulders and thirty five percent everything else, at the Capricious Gallery in New York. Learn more about her upcoming exhibition below.
Opening November 9, from 6 – 8pm
Exhibition runs from November 9 – December 28, 2014
88 Eldridge Street, 5th FL
New York, NY 10002
Katherine Hubbard’s most recent work of black-and-white silver gelatin prints shot in southern Utah, is entitled Four shoulders and thirty five percent everything else. A site she has explored for the past three years, the works set the stage for play between performance and image — placed within a desert landscape marked by sight lines that delineate the field of vision between two facing cameras. Hubbard uses her body to mark the space and depth of the landscape-stage while simultaneously marking the film plane.
A series of black-and-white landscape photographs made with multiple exposures and the compression of numerous points of view into a single frame will be shown in conjunction. Each image becomes a point of consideration in asking how we may look at land now. Four shoulders and thirty five percent everything else is of the belief that all looking is political, as each person does not see the same thing.
BIO: Katherine Hubbard is an artist who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She is a photographer whose practice incorporates performance, sculpture, clothing, text and video. Her performance, A thing and its thing-ness. It’s all just nouns and adjectives baby, 2013, a deconstructed opera in response to historical invisibility was presented at the Museum of Art and Design in New York. Additionally, Hubbard’s work has been exhibited internationally at Renseriet, Stockholm, Sweden; University of Maryland Stamp Gallery, Maryland; Higher Pictures, NY and Murray Guy, NY. Hubbard maintains an ongoing collaboration with A.K. Burns exploring the history of queer esthetics, iterations of which have been exhibited at Recess, The Brooklyn Museum of Art and The Museum of Modern Art, all in New York. Recently, Hubbard and Burns have exhibited their collaborative works in NYC Makers: The MAD Biennial at The Museum of Art and Design, Walk-ins Welcome at Marlborough Gallery and As We Were Saying at The Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York. Forthcoming in 2015 she will present Small Town Sex Shop, a conceptual clothing project in collaboration with Savannah Knoop at Recess, NY. Hubbard has an MFA from the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College and is currently part-time faculty at Parsons The New School for Design.