Archive for August, 2004

Berlin, Dogs, WWII from above, and more

Thursday, August 26th, 2004

Finally escaped and went out to actually look at some photography.

Wess Brown’s New Berlin show at the German Historical Institute is a solid set of black and white prints. The artist’s statement indicates that this series shows how a new Berlin has been built on the old without obscuring the scars of the past. Although I think it largely succeeds at this, it could have been much stronger. The series shows us 35 vignettes, but I didn’t leave with a really strong overall impression, despite the relatively large number of photographs. Some of this was due to images that didn’t fit the theme or were repetitive - although “Helix and Shade” and “Cityscape Thru Glass” are both strong, “Cityscape Thru Glass” alone was enough to convey the idea of an old city viewed from a very modern, very hip and sterile circular building. “Charlets Web,” possibly photographed in the same location, doesn’t help the theme since it is essentially a vacuous detail. Some of the titles are bizarre and distracting; “Radioactive Sugar Cube” depicts a bright white building lit up at night, but I don’t see how the title helps us understand what is being represented in terms of old/new Berlin. Tighter editing would have made for a stronger show, even if this would have made it shorter. More images showing the people living there may have helped. The statement “all of this new life is taking place amongst buildings ridden with bullet holes…” tantalizes us with mental images of a vibrant community, but the images are largely static. This isn’t to say there are not strong images or that the stated theme is disregarded: “Potsdamer Platz” is intriguing, and could be from the 1930’s. “Door and Bike” juxtaposes a new bicycle with an old, peeling entryway, one of the more obvious representations in the series, and a play on the more typical image of an old scooter or bike against the same background. I enjoyed the exhibit, but left unsatisfied - I wanted more. On a practical note, you need to ring the bell to get inside the building, and the person at the front desk didn’t know about the exhibit. Have them call upstairs to the people in the know, and someone will come down to let you up to the second floor.

I dislike dogs, but I still smiled at the Kathleen Ewing Gallery’s Dogs show. I was concerned there would be very little photography in the show, since it is mixed media, but there was plenty. Some of it was trite, and I don’t go for the cute dog in a sweater look, but about a third of the photographs were much better than I was expecting. My favorite piece was “Benny Sleeping” by Bev Sparks. Two dogs form a circle of fur with an eye in the corner of the frame. Very graphic, serene, and cool - you have to keep looking at it. The lay of the fur goes smoothly from one dog to the other, making it a nice abstract print. “Malden, MA” by Sage Sohier looks like it could be out of an eclectic family album, but it is so much better. A dog is held up by someone whose face we can’t see, and is snarling menacingly; it looks like a miniature bear. A woman sitting on the other side of the sofa looks sidelong at the dog with a look of concern. There are two additional dogs on a coffee table on in front of the sofa. Is this the photographer’s family? What is going on here? We want to know the story, but all we get from the title is the city and state location, so we’re left to our imaginations. There were quite a few portraits of dogs in the style of human portraiture. Of these, Emily Whiting’s stood out for their strong composition and quality.

The Sy Weinstein exhibit in the basement of the National Museum of American Jewish Military History is very straightforward - a white room with closely spaced photographs in a ring around the room. This suits the photographs. They are in the vein of other WWII photography, but with perhaps less overall depth than other (incidentally also Jewish) WWII photographers associated with the military, such as Robert Capa and David Seymour. Some of the images are pretty strictly documentary in a military sense - e.g. this plane existed and was painted with a shark mouth, with clinical composition. I was left with a feeling of being at arm’s length from even the human subjects - there was often intimacy within the frame, but not involving the photographer. The aerial images in this exhibit are striking since they show a more abstract kind of danger than we typically see from other WWII photography - flak shows up as small black puffs of smoke against a breathtaking view of a city below as seen from a tailgunner’s perch, and we see the crumpled remains of bombers that crashed on landing. But this is impersonal - we don’t see the people or their reactions. We see a beautiful clear day, but still feel the fear of a sudden explosion. The text that accompanies the display hints at some interesting stories about the pragmatic issues with photographing in wartime conditions, such as the need to establish the photographic quarters in a location with clean water from a nearby river. I’d find it interesting to hear more about these issues - photographers in Iraq today complain about the amount of unreliable digital gear they need to lug around; it has never been easy, and apparently isn’t getting much better. Plus ša change…

Conner Contemporary (note: small) has a few interesting pieces in their Academy 2004 show, but it really wasn’t my thing. I’ll leave it at that, with one major exception: Julee Holcombe’s Babel Revisited. This is a composite image, I assume heavily Photoshopped, that shows a compressed city landscape made up of famous buildings from around the globe, along with construction zones, helicopters, tunnels, and so much more. Words can’t do it justice - you’ll find little jokes throughout the image, which has an astounding level of detail. If you’re in the area, run upstairs just to take a look at this even if you don’t have time for the whole exhibit - it is right there when you walk in the door. Yes, you can find it on the web, but it is unimpressive there - go see the real thing.

Tried to see Dragana Rankovic’s In My World show at Visions DC, but I was too early and the building wasn’t open yet. Go see Outfoxed or something, and let me know how the photos are, since I’ll be out of town and won’t be able to see it.

What’s happening 8/26/2004

Thursday, August 26th, 2004
Upcoming Events When
Directions–Gabriel Orozco: Curator’s Tour
Hirshhorn Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/5
2pm
Marketa Jirouskova: Journeys (presentation by photographer)
Embassy of the Czech Republic [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/7
7:30p
Reception for James Bailey: Rough Edge Photography
Rachel M. Schlesinger Concert Hall and Arts Center [http://www.nvcc.edu/alexandria/schlesingercenter/gallery.html] [hours] [map]
9/11
1pm
Bob Gill: What Art Directors Want From Photographers
ASMP: TBD Location [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/14
6:30p
David Lubin: Life After Death: JFK, Dallas and Modern Visual Culture
Renwick Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/7
4pm

 

Current Exhibits & Shows Closes
Barbara Cole: Underworld
Canadian Embassy [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/27
Diego y Frida: A Smile in the Middle of the Road
Cultural Institute of Mexico [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/27
Vladracul: Johnny De Brest’s Photo Novel
Goethe Institute Washington [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/27
Dog Days Dog Show (some photography)
Kathleen Ewing Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/28
Academy 2004 (group show with some photography)
Conner Contemporary Art [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/28
Photographs by Ali Herischi: In Memory of Perfumed Gardens: A Thousand Years of Persian Poetry
Fondo Del Sol [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/1
All Digital: Juried exhibition
Photoworks at Glen Echo Park [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/1
Dragana Rankovic: In My World
Bar noir [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/2
Focus on the Soul: The Photographs of Lotte Jacobi
Museum of Women in the Arts [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/5
August Sander: Photographs of the German Landscape
The Phillips Collection [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/5
Aaron Siskind: New Relationships in Photography
The Phillips Collection [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/5
Sally Mann: What Remains
Corcoran Museum of Art [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/6
Directions-Gabriel Orozco: Extension of Reflection
Hirshhorn Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/6
Multiple Exposures Gallery show juried by Bruce McKaig
Multiple Exposures Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/6
Alexandria at War
The Lyceum [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/7
Faith & Courage: U.S. Chaplains’ Service in World War II
Washington National Cathedral [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/26
Photographs by Jeffrey Nold
Spectrum Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/29
Marketa Jirouskova: Nepal: Between Earth and Sky
IMF Atrium Gallery [http://imf.org/external/np/exr/center/about.htm] [hours] [map]
10/7
Tornado: Twist of Fate
National Geographic Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/11
Symphony in Steel: Ironworkers & the Walt Disney Concert Hall
National Building Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/28
Rediscovering Early Flight Through a Lens: Photographing the Wright Experience
College Park Aviation Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
12/31
The New Berlin: Photographs by Wess Brown
German Historical Institute [homepage] [hours] [map]
12/31
Mike McCartney’s Liverpool Life: Sixties Black and Whites
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/2
The Beatles! Backstage and Behind the Scenes
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/2
WWII Photographic Perspectives
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/5
Reconaissance and Recollection: The Photographs of Sy Weinstein
National Museum of American Jewish Military History [homepage] [hours] [map]
5/31
Rotating Student Photography Exhibit
Washington School of Photography [homepage] [hours] [map]
rotating
The Forgotten War Remembered: America and the Korean War
National Archives at College Park [homepage] [hours] [map]
??
Isabelle Carbonell: Cuba Exhibit
Soho Tea & Coffee [homepage] [hours] [map]
??
Shawn Davis: Departure: Leaving the AIDS Hospice
All Souls Unitarian Church [homepage] [hours] [map]
??
Hometown Heroes: Native Washingtonians Who Made a Difference
Covenant House Washington West [homepage] [hours] [map]
??

What’s happening 8/19/2004

Thursday, August 19th, 2004
Upcoming Events When
Inspiration Renewed: August Sander’s Landscape Photography in the Wake of Nazi Germany
The Phillips Collection [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/19
6&7pm
Penn Camera: Express Digital Day Demo
Penn Camera, Vienna, VA [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/25
11am
Directions–Gabriel Orozco: Curator’s Tour
Hirshhorn Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/5
2pm
Marketa Jirouskova: Journeys (presentation by photographer)
Embassy of the Czech Republic [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/7
7:30p
Bob Gill: What Art Directors Want From Photographers
ASMP: TBD Location [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/14
6:30p
David Lubin: Life After Death: JFK, Dallas and Modern Visual Culture
Renwick Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/7
4pm

 

Current Exhibits & Shows Closes
Normandy Portraits: 60th Anniversary
Montpelier Cultural Arts Center [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/21
Blessed is He Who Comes in the Name of the Lord
Pope John Paul II Cultural Center [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/22
Barbara Cole: Underworld
Canadian Embassy [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/27
Diego y Frida: A Smile in the Middle of the Road
Cultural Institute of Mexico [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/27
Vladracul: Johnny De Brest’s Photo Novel
Goethe Institute Washington [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/27
Dog Days Dog Show (some photography)
Kathleen Ewing Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/28
Academy 2004 (group show with some photography)
Conner Contemporary Art [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/28
Photographs by Ali Herischi: In Memory of Perfumed Gardens: A Thousand Years of Persian Poetry
Fondo Del Sol [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/1
All Digital: Juried exhibition
Photoworks at Glen Echo Park [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/1
Dragana Rankovic: In My World
Bar noir [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/2
Focus on the Soul: The Photographs of Lotte Jacobi
Museum of Women in the Arts [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/5
August Sander: Photographs of the German Landscape
The Phillips Collection [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/5
Aaron Siskind: New Relationships in Photography
The Phillips Collection [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/5
Sally Mann: What Remains
Corcoran Museum of Art [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/6
Directions-Gabriel Orozco: Extension of Reflection
Hirshhorn Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/6
Multiple Exposures Gallery show juried by Bruce McKaig
Multiple Exposures Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/6
Alexandria at War
The Lyceum [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/7
Faith & Courage: U.S. Chaplains’ Service in World War II
Washington National Cathedral [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/26
Tornado: Twist of Fate
National Geographic Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/11
Symphony in Steel: Ironworkers & the Walt Disney Concert Hall
National Building Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/28
Rediscovering Early Flight Through a Lens: Photographing the Wright Experience
College Park Aviation Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
12/31
The New Berlin: Photographs by Wess Brown
German Historical Institute [homepage] [hours] [map]
12/31
Mike McCartney’s Liverpool Life: Sixties Black and Whites
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/2
The Beatles! Backstage and Behind the Scenes
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/2
WWII Photographic Perspectives
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/5
Reconaissance and Recollection: The Photographs of Sy Weinstein
National Museum of American Jewish Military History [homepage] [hours] [map]
5/31
Rotating Student Photography Exhibit
Washington School of Photography [homepage] [hours] [map]
rotating
David Glick: This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land
Zenith Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
??
(call)
The Forgotten War Remembered: America and the Korean War
National Archives at College Park [homepage] [hours] [map]
??
Isabelle Carbonell: Cuba Exhibit
Soho Tea & Coffee [homepage] [hours] [map]
??
Shawn Davis: Departure: Leaving the AIDS Hospice
All Souls Unitarian Church [homepage] [hours] [map]
??
Hometown Heroes: Native Washingtonians Who Made a Difference
Covenant House Washington West [homepage] [hours] [map]
??

What’s happening 8/12/04

Thursday, August 12th, 2004
Upcoming Events When
Teen Photography Workshop: Let’s Go Orozco
Hirshhorn Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/13
1pm
WWII Photographic Perspectives Exhibition Tour
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/14
2pm
Inspiration Renewed: August Sander’s Landscape Photography in the Wake of Nazi Germany
The Phillips Collection [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/19
6&7pm
Penn Camera: Express Digital Day Demo
Penn Camera, Vienna, VA [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/25
11am
Directions–Gabriel Orozco: Curator’s Tour
Hirshhorn Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/5
2pm
David Lubin: Life After Death: JFK, Dallas and Modern Visual Culture
Renwick Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/7
4pm

 

Current Exhibits & Shows Closes
The Exercises - E1: Contemplating Process
Transformer Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/14
Normandy Portraits: 60th Anniversary
Montpelier Cultural Arts Center [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/21
Blessed is He Who Comes in the Name of the Lord
Pope John Paul II Cultural Center [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/22
Diego y Frida: A Smile in the Middle of the Road
Cultural Institute of Mexico [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/27
Vladracul: Johnny De Brest’s Photo Novel
Goethe Institute Washington [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/27
Dog Days Dog Show (some photography)
Kathleen Ewing Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/28
Academy 2004 (group show with some photography)
Conner Contemporary Art [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/28
All Digital: Juried exhibition
Photoworks at Glen Echo Park [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/1
Dragana Rankovic: In My World
Bar noir [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/2
Focus on the Soul: The Photographs of Lotte Jacobi
Museum of Women in the Arts [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/5
August Sander: Photographs of the German Landscape
The Phillips Collection [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/5
Aaron Siskind: New Relationships in Photography
The Phillips Collection [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/5
Sally Mann: What Remains
Corcoran Museum of Art [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/6
Directions-Gabriel Orozco: Extension of Reflection
Hirshhorn Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/6
Multiple Exposures Gallery show juried by Bruce McKaig
Multiple Exposures Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/6
Alexandria at War
The Lyceum [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/7
Faith & Courage: U.S. Chaplains’ Service in World War II
Washington National Cathedral [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/26
Tornado: Twist of Fate
National Geographic Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/11
Symphony in Steel: Ironworkers & the Walt Disney Concert Hall
National Building Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/28
The New Berlin: Photographs by Wess Brown
German Historical Institute [homepage] [hours] [map]
12/31
Mike McCartney’s Liverpool Life: Sixties Black and Whites
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/2
The Beatles! Backstage and Behind the Scenes
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/2
WWII Photographic Perspectives
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/5
Reconaissance and Recollection: The Photographs of Sy Weinstein
National Museum of American Jewish Military History [homepage] [hours] [map]
5/31
Rotating Student Photography Exhibit
Washington School of Photography [homepage] [hours] [map]
rotating
Oldrich Skacha (call to confirm still running - believe website is wrong)
Czech Embassy [homepage] [hours] [map]
?
David Glick: This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land
Zenith Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
?
(call)
The Forgotten War Remembered: America and the Korean War
National Archives at College Park [homepage] [hours] [map]
?
Isabelle Carbonell: Cuba Exhibit
Soho Tea & Coffee [homepage] [hours] [map]
??

What’s happening 8/5/2004

Thursday, August 5th, 2004
Upcoming Events When
Artist’s Reception: Dragana Rankovic: In My World
Bar Noir [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/5
7:30pm
An Introduction to Aaron Siskind: New Relationships in Photography
The Phillips Collection [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/5
2pm
Teen Photography Workshop: Let’s Go Orozco
Hirshhorn Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/6
1pm
Success as an Artist: Seminar for artists
Fraser Gallery Bethesda [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/8
noon
Teen Photography Workshop: Let’s Go Orozco
Hirshhorn Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/13
1pm
WWII Photographic Perspectives Exhibition Tour
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/14
2pm
Inspiration Renewed: August Sander’s Landscape Photography in the Wake of Nazi Germany
The Phillips Collection [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/19
6&7pm
Penn Camera: Express Digital Day Demo
Penn Camera, Vienna, VA [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/25
11am
Directions–Gabriel Orozco: Curator’s Tour
Hirshhorn Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/5
2pm
David Lubin: Life After Death: JFK, Dallas and Modern Visual Culture
Renwick Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/7
4pm

 

Current Exhibits & Shows Closes
Take Ten: Photography Group Exhibit
Touchstone Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/8
The Exercises - E1: Contemplating Process
Transformer Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/14
Normandy Portraits: 60th Anniversary
Montpelier Cultural Arts Center [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/21
Blessed is He Who Comes in the Name of the Lord
Pope John Paul II Cultural Center [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/22
Diego y Frida: A Smile in the Middle of the Road
Cultural Institute of Mexico [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/27
Vladracul: Johnny De Brest’s Photo Novel
Goethe Institute Washington [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/27
Dog Days Dog Show (some photography)
Kathleen Ewing Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
8/28
All Digital: Juried exhibition
Photoworks at Glen Echo Park [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/1
Dragana Rankovic: In My World
Bar noir [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/2
Focus on the Soul: The Photographs of Lotte Jacobi
Museum of Women in the Arts [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/5
August Sander: Photographs of the German Landscape
The Phillips Collection [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/5
Aaron Siskind: New Relationships in Photography
The Phillips Collection [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/5
Sally Mann: What Remains
Corcoran Museum of Art [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/6
Directions-Gabriel Orozco: Extension of Reflection
Hirshhorn Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/6
Multiple Exposures Gallery show juried by Bruce McKaig
Multiple Exposures Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/6
Alexandria at War
The Lyceum [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/7
Faith & Courage: U.S. Chaplains’ Service in World War II
Washington National Cathedral [homepage] [hours] [map]
9/26
Tornado: Twist of Fate
National Geographic Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
10/11
Symphony in Steel: Ironworkers & the Walt Disney Concert Hall
National Building Museum [homepage] [hours] [map]
11/28
The New Berlin: Photographs by Wess Brown
German Historical Institute [homepage] [hours] [map]
12/31
Mike McCartney’s Liverpool Life: Sixties Black and Whites
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/2
The Beatles! Backstage and Behind the Scenes
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/2
WWII Photographic Perspectives
Museum of American History [homepage] [hours] [map]
1/5
Reconaissance and Recollection: The Photographs of Sy Weinstein
National Museum of American Jewish Military History [homepage] [hours] [map]
5/31
Rotating Student Photography Exhibit
Washington School of Photography [homepage] [hours] [map]
rotating
Oldrich Skacha (call to confirm still running - believe website is wrong)
Czech Embassy [homepage] [hours] [map]
?
David Glick: This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land
Zenith Gallery [homepage] [hours] [map]
?
(call)
The Forgotten War Remembered: America and the Korean War
National Archives at College Park [homepage] [hours] [map]
?
Isabelle Carbonell: Cuba Exhibit
Soho Tea & Coffee [homepage] [hours] [map]
??

Donate photography books to the DC library

Wednesday, August 4th, 2004

There are lots of photo books that I want to read, but the DC library system leaves something to be desired. If the elevators at the MLK main library are working or you can brave the scary stairs (avoid the dripping water and wires dangling from the ceiling), the expedition to the art division on the second floor reveals a surprisingly large photography section. Much of it is old, though, so if you want current stuff, you have to buy it. I keep only a small selection of photography books permanently. A few weeks ago, I took a couple of current photo books in to MLK, and they seemed happy to get them. Take them right to the librarian on the second floor, in the art section after you make sure that they don’t already have them in their collection.

One other tip if you’re looking for a photo book at MLK - if you can’t find a photography book that is supposedly checked in, ask a librarian. For some reason I can’t fathom, there are actually four separate places (that I’ve found so far) in the art section where photography books are shelved, and the call number won’t necessarily tell you which section it is in. I think of the sections as Normal, Reference, Oversize, and Random Backwater. I’m giggling as I type this - this sounds really stupid, but believe me - the MLK library can make you shake your head in wonder. Hmmm. I just checked to see if the books I donated are in the catalog, and they aren’t. Well, try donating anyway - if they do show up, I’ll have a better selection of interesting books to check out.