Posts tagged with "Photography":

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New exhibition studies destruction and demolition in New York City and Appalachia

Destruction and Transformation: Vernacular Photography and the Built Environment at New York City’s Walther Collection, an art space featuring historical and contemporary photography, looks at what happens when buildings disappear. The exhibition will showcase 16 photographic series ranging from 1876 to 2000 that focus on building demolition, with a focus on two sites in particular: the Appalachian coalfields, where natural resource extraction has decimated the local landscape and ecology; and New York City, an urban environment dominated by cycles of cash-fueled construction and destruction. Although the exhibition will center on demolition, Destruction and Transformation will force visitors to confront the drastic and often harsh effects of modernization and urban expansion that come often at the expense of nature, history, and native populations. Rather than focus on a single photographer, the exhibition displays numerous documentary images taken in New York City over the course of a century, including Harvey F. Dutcher’s 1939 series depicting the gradual destruction of the Sixth Avenue Elevated Railroad, as well as an anonymous photographer’s meticulous survey of stores along Sixth Avenue, many of which have since disappeared. Destruction and Transformation will also include panoramic photos of evolving landscapes, including images of the construction of San Francisco, the famous Viaur Viaduct in Southern France, and the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. Destruction and Transformation: Vernacular Photography and the Built Environment February 8–May 25, 2019 Walther Collection 526 West 26th Street, Suite 718 New York, N.Y. 10001
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A grandiose tour of Mexican architecture is coming to New York

Opulent interiors, delicate dances of light and shadow, and 600 years of Mexican history will soon go on display at Manhattan’s Sean Kelly Gallery. Candida Höfer—In Mexico will run from February 2 through March 16 and present large-format architectural photographs from German artist Candida Höfer. Höfer traveled to Mexico in 2015 as part of the Mexico-Germany Dual Year, a cultural and scientific exchange program between the two countries that showcased the partnership’s fruits in Mexico throughout 2016 and 2017. Höfer’s photographs, which took her across Mexico, are meticulously composed, ornate shots of grand halls, museums, palaces, and auditoriums, places of convergence that, in her series, are entirely empty. In a press release for the upcoming show, Höfer wrote that: “I realized that what people do in those places—and what the spaces do to them—is more obvious when nobody is present, just as an absent guest can often become the topic of conversation.” More than just large-scale photos of sweeping spaces, Candida Höfer—In Mexico will also put intimate aspects of each building on display as well. Light falling across a doorway, or hidden nooks, were captured by Höfer’s handheld camera and the fleeting instances stand in stark contrast to the much larger staged photographs. The photos are truly massive, each being at least 70 inches wide; by comparison, the more intimate photos will be presented as 16-and-9/16-inch-by-12-and-7/8-inch prints. While this is the first time Höfer’s Mexico series will be shown in New York, the show was previously on display in Mexico and the North Carolina Museum of Art.
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Detroit Institute of Arts brings the city’s past to life in found photo show

The Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) is putting fresh faces on the past with the found photography show Lost & Found: Photographs from the DIA’s Collection, up now through March 3. Coming from a range of sources, some "rescued from attics, resale shops, online sources," and DIA archives, according to the institute. Subjects are both architectural and social, originating from the 1860s to the 1970s. Some of the more recent snaps are from local photographers Allen Stross and James Pearson Duffy, who documented the city frequently from the seat of his car, according to DIA. The institute is also soliciting contributions from the public via social media, asking participants to use the tag #LostAndFoundatDIA. Both the show and admission to the museum are free for residents of Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties.
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Syria Before the Deluge is a poignant photographic journey through prewar Syria

In 2009, architectural photographer Peter Aaron set out to Syria with his wife Brooke Allen, an author and professor of literature at Bennington College, and their two daughters. Armed with a Canon 5D modified to only register infrared light, Aaron began a two-week journey in a minivan to visit 15 sites across Syria. Put on exhibition at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, what began as a personal collection stemming from a family vacation has developed into the photographic project that is Syria Before the Deluge.

Since the start of the Syrian Civil War, there has been no dearth of imagery and footage bringing the horrors and destruction of the conflict to an international audience. The country’s history has been relegated to a veritable carousel slide projection of architectural and human destruction; Aleppo lies in Stalingrad-esque ruins while pent-up political and sectarian animosity has unleashed one calamity after the next, at a level not witnessed since the Yugoslav Wars. Syria Before the Deluge presents the country's ancient architectural heritage in 40 images of breathtaking detail, clearing the fog of war by casting a humanizing light on the war’s victims with scenes of daily life and placing the conflict within the vast continuity of the region’s civilization.

Traversing the country’s ancient urban centers of Damascus and Aleppo, through their many souqs, mosques, and labyrinthine streets, Aaron’s images display a vibrant contemporary society inhabiting the successive layers of the old. Remains of Roman civilization are embedded within these urban ensembles, sites such as Damascus’s Bab Sharqi, a Roman arch topped with a medieval minaret, have collected the accretions of time with Islamic and Roman architectural pieces—towering minarets and geometric spandrels—abutting contemporary concrete construction. 

Outside of the country’s principal demographic centers, past the Aramaic-speaking mountain towns of Reef Demashq, the “dead cities” of northwestern Syria are depicted as moraine-like vestiges dotting the rugged arid landscape. The abandoned urban settlements, numbering over seven hundred, are the hallmarks of a Byzantine civilization that gradually vanished, with its Greco-Roman architectural language of archways, colonnades, and carefully proportioned stone ashlar. The author notes that the current refugee crisis afflicting Syria has led to a renewed life for the "dead cities" as an embattled shelter for those fleeing the civil war's armed factions. 

Where Syria Before the Deluge rises to a work of historical record is in Aaron's depiction of UNESCO World Heritage Sites now ravaged by the conflict. Palmyra's Temple of Bel, infamously exploded by ISIL, which documented the event for the world to see, is captured in its ruinous magnificence as a global exemplar of Greco-Roman and Middle Eastern architectural syncretism, with nearly 50-foot tall fluted Corinthian columns and detailed Middle Eastern scenes. Located less than 15 miles from the Turkish border, the Church of St. Simeon Stylites, now subject to multiple military incursions and aerial bombardments, still stands—complex stonework along its archways, pediments, remnants of vaults, and all. Considering their historical role as military bastions, it is none too surprising that the imposing Crusader castle of Krak des Chevaliers and the Citadel of Aleppo have renewed their intended functions. Over their millennium-long existence, the forts, like Syria itself, have passed through the hands of Kurds, Christians, Ottomans, and Arabs, with Aaron capturing the layering of one civilization's architectural character over the next. It is on this note that the author expands: the general audience cannot "comprehend the intense concentration of ancient structures; many of them have been in continuous use for centuries and even millennia, through waves of different civilizations.” Through pictorially contextualizing the current civil war within Syria's successive waves of invasions, cultural flowering, and internal strife, Syria Before the Deluge inspires a degree of hope that the region will emerge again from the ruins.

Syria Before the Deluge Peter Aaron, Blurb $150.00

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Swedish photo museum plans its first New York City outpost

The Church Missions House, a historic, Renaissance revival building located at 281 Park Avenue South in New York City, will soon be the new home of Fotografiska. The Stockholm-based photography museum is scheduled to open an outpost in New York in spring 2019. The organization has chosen New York–based CetraRuddy to lead the design makeover and restoration of the landmarked space. Other collaborators on the project include Roman and Williams, which will design an avant-garde restaurant and bar on the second floor, Higgins Quasebarth & Partners, which will preserve and restore the stained-glass windows and limestone and granite facade of the building, and Linq, a tech firm that will design a multi-sensory experience for visitors using flavor, scent, and art. Fotografiska, which views sustainability as a core part of its philosophy, strives to use the power of photography to leave a significant impact on the world. “By following our vision of inspiring a more conscious world, we aim to raise the level of awareness and question what we eat, drink, and take for granted—nudging society towards more sustainable habits,” states Fotografiska on its website. The six-story Church Missions House building will further enhance the cultural significance of Fotografiska and the surrounding Gramercy neighborhood. Built toward the end of the 19th century, the extravagant facade embodies an era in which New York City became a center for art, architecture, and creativity, and it has housed numerous offices and non-profit organizations in the years since. The building is also recognized for its role in the Anna Delvey story, where in 2017, the New York City socialite was arrested on six charges of grand larceny for trying to swindle her way into owning the building by scamming wealthy business acquaintances and hotels. The building’s Italianate style is evident in its arched windows, elegant columns, and decorative enrichments—including elaborate cornices and balustrades. Although the building is located in the midst of lofty skyscrapers and bustling city blocks, it conjures images of the elegant Italian villas of the Renaissance, while at the same time providing the city with valuable restaurant, gallery, and exhibition space. As swaths of Midtown Manhattan continue to disintegrate beneath the rapidly expanding, corporate-run metropolis, the landmark building at 281 Park Avenue is becoming more prominent than ever before. “We have been looking for the right New York location for a while, and the Park Avenue South space is a great opportunity for us to finally start to change the world in the spirit of Fotografiska,” said Geoffrey Newman, project manager and shareholder of Fotografiska New York, in a recent press release.
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Photo show of Spain’s modern ruins offer lessons for another economic crisis

Spain’s explosive building industry was hit hard by the economic crisis of 2008, resulting in an incredible number of unfinished and abandoned construction projects. Photographs documenting these “modern ruins” hang over the center of Unfinished, a new installation at the Spitzer School of Architecture at the City College of New York. Though it details derelict buildings, the exhibition isn’t all financial doom and architectural gloom. The main body of the show highlights 55 extraordinary projects from the last few years that explore new strategies for adapting these neglected structures and building with limited resources. For the designers of these projects, who have learned hard lessons, architecture is something that remains unfinished. Their buildings are designed to evolve and adapt to future uses. They embrace the visible passing of time, rather than building over it. Cleverly adapted from the multi-room Spanish pavilion at the 2016 Venice Biennale, the installation has a spare design and straightforward construction that reflects the resourcefulness of the projects on display. Although the content focuses on Spanish structures, the issues explored in Unfinished are as universal as the installation. As politicians and businesses around the world inevitably repeat the same mistakes that lead to the last crisis, architects will have to more seriously consider how they build and what they build. Ultimately, Unfinished demonstrates the resilience of the discipline. It is, as the curators write, "a validation of innovative and engaged practices that have parsed through the wreckage to find a voice.” Unfinished will be on view until February 8, 2019.
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Denise Scott Brown’s photos bring their “messy vitality” to New York City

Denise Scott Brown photographs taken from 1956 to 1966 will be on view at Carriage Trade Gallery in New York City starting Thursday, October 25. The images in the exhibit, Scott Brown says, are “about architecture,” but if they are viewed also as art it’s a byproduct. They reflect her interest in “automobiles, cities of the American Southwest, social change, multiculturalism, action, everyday architecture, 'messy vitality,' iconography, and Pop Art," all themes throughout her career. “Waywardness,” Scott Brown claims in the small catalog on sale at the gallery, “lay in more than my eye.” Carriage Trade is located in a dense, image-packed Chinatown block on Grand Street, a fitting site for this exhibition of "touristy" color photographs of Venice and Las Vegas. The photographs are on sale at the gallery for a very reasonable price. Ask to speak with Peter Scott, the director of Carriage Trade. The show is co-organized with PLANE-SITE and Andrés Ramirez. There will be a formal opening Thursday, October 25, 6–8 p.m. Carriage Trade Gallery 277 Grand Street, Second floor October 25–December 22, 2018
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Bot creates mesmerizing art out of satellite photos of U.S. census tracts

A Twitter bot created by New York–based artist and urban planner Neil Freeman is producing serial images of every census tract in the United States. Operating under the account @everytract, the project will eventually publish satellite photos of the entire country. The account's feed—a stream of landscape photos cut out along census tract boundaries placed against a white background—initially appears pretty monotonous. The bot posts every image with the census tract's government identification number and location, but includes no other information or commentary, and the satellite imagery is familiar to anyone who has ever used Google Maps. Image after image of Southern California suburbs seems to confirm the banality of American neighborhoods, but after scrolling through dozens of images, the photos get defamiliarized and nuanced differences start to become more apparent. Repetitive patterns emerge only to be broken by strange landscape anomalies—an open mine, perhaps, or an artificial oasis in the Mojave Desert. As the bot shifts from one state to another, the images shift from the green forests of the south to the tan deserts of the west to the white snowdrifts of the north. The posts become artifacts that testify to the incredible variety of American settlements. Because census tracts are designed to have comparable population sizes, the images vary wildly in scale, showing the range of densities across the country. "I was playing with the project of a book that included satellite images of every tract at the same scale," Freeman said, "but I abandoned it when I realized that for the smallest tracts to be visible, the largest ones, in rural Alaska, would have to be wall-sized." Freeman also said that the project highlights the geographic idiosyncrasies of every state: "Only about a hundred tracts in Arizona cover the vast majority of the state’s land, so if you blinked, you missed them. It’s really a very urban state. Arkansas, on the other hand, was small town after small town." Freeman, who has been creating similar work that combines data-sorting algorithms and urban planning for years, said that the root of the listing concept came from poet Allison Parrish’s 2007–2014 project , which posted every word in the English language. Freeman began the @everytract project this spring, and it will progress alphabetically through the states, posting every half hour and is scheduled to run for another three years and ten months. The account is currently making its way through Los Angeles, California.
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Inside North Korea: A candy-colored fever dream

When British landscape architect Nicholas Bonner set out for North Korea's capital, Pyongyang, in 1993, he anticipated a gloomy concrete metropolis. However, on the flight there, brightly colored sugar and pepper condiment packets hinted that a more florid environment lay in store. Fast forward 25 years and Bonner is offering tours of Pyongyang to visitors, including The Guardian's architecture critic Oliver Wainwright who documents the candy-colored city in his new book, Inside North Korea available August 15 from Taschen. Wainwright only spent a week inside North Korea, but that was sufficient time to take enough photographs to fill a 240-page book. "Every day was jam-packed," Wainwright told The Architect's Newspaper. The photographs along with an introductory essay shed light on what is a typically closed-off country that has strict rules for journalists. Though he was shepherded by three guards at all times, Wainwright was afforded more freedom by traveling as a tourist instead of a journalist and was able to document Pyongyang's built environment through a point-and-shoot camera. The images, particularly the interior shots, could easily be stills from a Wes Anderson movie. Interiors are laid out symmetrically, with portraits of the former North Korean premier, Kim Il-sung, and the former Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-il, typically hanging at the focal points of the room. Their presence is no accident. According to Kim Jong-il's 160-page treatise, On Architecture, "the leader's image must always be placed in the center of the architectural space," a dictum which is carried through with regulations that stipulate that nothing else can be hung on the same wall as these portraits. Perhaps the most dazzling interior is that of the East Pyongyang Grand Theatre seen above. Originally built in 1989, it can hold an audience of 3,500 people. A 2007 renovation brought the theater up to Grand Budapest Hotel standards with plaster moldings, scalloped peach-colored walls, purple upholstered seats, a bright-blue vinyl floor, polished stone tiles, and a huge mural relief being added. Images of the theater and other interiors can feel staged, which Wainwright acknowledged while saying everything was shot "just as it is." Images of leadership are used even more emphatically outdoors. Streets have been organized to maximize the effect of these portraits, which Wainwright describes as "utterly crushing, giving the impression of a street made for giants." The world's largest bronze statues of people can be found at the top of Mansu Hill. Looking over a stone plaza, 66-foot-high statues of Kim Jong-il and Kim Il-sung peer onto the Monument to Party Founding situated at the end of an axis one-and-a-quarter miles away. The two former leaders stand in front of a mosaic and are flanked by giant red granite flags which are propped up by bronze workers. One has a plaque which reads: "Let us drive out the U.S. imperialists and reunite our fatherland!" For a country so focused on image, it's unsurprising to learn that it has tried to scrub all foreign influences, U.S. imperialism included, from its aesthetics and architecture. "An architect who is convinced that his country and this are the best will not look upon foreign things or try to copy them, but make tireless efforts to create architecture amenable to his people," wrote Kim Jong-il in On Architecture. Despite all this, images of architectural precedents could be found at the Paektusan Academy of Architecture where images of buildings from around the world could be found, from Moscow's Seven Sisters to Terry Farrell's MI6 Building in London. In all, Pyongyang embodies North Korea's approach to self-presentation: Big Brother-esque images that project the state's power and ability to protect its citizens amplified at a bombastic scale and sweetened with saccharine pastels. Inside North Korea Oliver Wainwright, Julius Wiedemann TASCHEN $60.00
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Denise Scott Brown’s Wayward Eye comes to London in new show of her photography

London Gallery Betts Project is showcasing photographs from Denise Scott Brown, marking the architect, planner, and theorist's first solo exhibition in the U.K. Titled Denise Scott Brown: Wayward Eye, the exhibition features photos taken between 1956 and 1966 that illustrate Scott Brown's explorations into urbanism, Pop Art, and the emerging architectural language of roadside America, ideas which would later be collected in Learning from Las Vegas published in 1972. "Such a study will help to define a new type of urban form emerging in American and Europe, radically different from that we have known; one that we have been ill-equipped to deal with and that, from ignorance, we define today as urban sprawl," Scott Brown wrote in 1977 in the abridged Learning from Las Vegas. "I’m not a photographer. I shoot for architecture—if there’s art here it’s a byproduct," Scott Brown told curators Marie Coulon and Andrés F Ramirez at Betts Project this year. "Yet the images stand alone. Judge what you see." The photos provide insight into how Scott Brown, Venturi Izenour, and their students dissected commercial strips. Never before had such mundane elements been looked at through an architectural lens: a nondescript shot of a Dodge Charger driving down an L.A. freeway is deliciously titled Industrial Romanticism, while another features an equally unremarkable image from a water taxi in Venice. "For Robert Venturi and me, these sequences from Venice to Venice, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas provided inspiration and they still do. And via them, architectural photography initiated a move beyond beauty shots and data. Over the last 60 years, by adding analysis, synthesis, recommendation, and design, it has gone from tool to subdiscipline in architecture. "In 1965, after ten years of urbanism, my foci were automobile cities of the American Southwest, social change, multiculturalism, action, everyday architecture, 'messy vitality,' iconography, and Pop Art. "Waywardness lay in more than my eye," Scott Brown continued. "Do I hate it or love it? ‘Don’t ask,’ said my inner voice. ‘Just shoot.’" Scott Brown's work doesn't come around to London often. She came to the city in 1952 (when her surname was Lakofski) to work for the modern architect Frederick Gibberd before studying at the Architectural Association School of Architecture. She returned with her husband Venturi to work on the Sainsbury Wing of London's National Gallery in 1991 after the infamous Carbuncle incident. Denise Scott Brown: Wayward Eye runs through July 28 and comes with a catalog, published by PLANE—SITE, featuring texts by Scott Brown and Andrés F Ramirez.
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Stephan Zirwes freezes time with summery photos of swimming pools

German photographer Stephan Zirwes may be known for his eerie, calming aerial photography, but his recent additions to the Pools series push the art to new heights. Zirwes is mesmerized by the top views of everyday settings such as golf courses, soccer fields, and swimming pools. With a drone, he captures the silent drama of these places, some occupied by visitors, while some completely void of human activity. The Pools series is a recent selection of photos that focuses on “privatization of public pools,” according to a statement from the World Photography Organization where Zirwes won the Sony World Photography Awards in 2016. Zirwes highlights the importance of water. Clean water, being one of the world’s most needed resources, is wasted in some parts of the world as a tool for excessive entertainment. He believes that the private pool is a cruel commodity that “privatizes a public asset for commercial exploitation.” The abstracted images, with surroundings edited out, focus our concern on the pools with a playful but graceful approach. In a photo of an irregularly shaped, vacated pool titled sardegna, a sunbrella, pair of sandals, and ripples on the water surface hint at the presence of a swimmer.

yellow slide

A post shared by Stephan Zirwes (@stephanzirwes) on

In another photo titled yellow slide, a slide hovers above the unoccupied pool. The crisp, horizontal strips painted at the bottom of the pool are blurred by the slight ripples. The vertical bricks are seen in perpendicular to the pool’s lines, making up a peaceful composition.
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Portland Art Museum presents Minor White’s evocative Oregon photographs

In the Beginning: Minor White’s Oregon Photographs Portland Art Museum 1219 SW Park Avenue, Portland, Oregon On view through October 21 The Portland Art Museum (PAM) is currently presenting In the Beginning: Minor White’s Oregon Photographs, a two-part photography exhibition highlighting the evocative works of the famed 20th-century modernist photographer. The twin showcases focus on White’s early work documenting historic architecture and landscapes in Oregon. In 1938, White was hired to record changes along the city’s Front Avenue for the Oregon Art Project, part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Employed as a “creative photographer,” White documented the iron-front and industrial buildings in the district that were to be demolished in order to make way for Harbor Drive, a new highway on-ramp. The project was followed in 1942 by a commission from PAM to document a pair of historic Portland homes.