Everyone’s been to AIPAD now, so time for the reviews to come in. I went twice, and felt overwhelmed at some point each time, but did come out with some thoughts I wanted to share.
There was a lot more contemporary work this year, and while I appreciated seeing such wonderful work (and it was mostly wonderful), when I think back, it can’t have the gravitas of the vintage work that I love seeing. I pretty much hated the contemporary work last year. This year there were a number of standouts.
Entering the exhibition, you stare directly at large format C-prints of Tim Hetherington’s “Sleeping Soldiers,” and 2 other prints of his soldier projects. To the right is an exceptional print of a man in a small Liberian boat, drifting past a rusted hunk of large ship. So amazing seeing it as a large print. Hetherington’s images all had an almost Rembrandt color palette that was very strong and emotional.
Yossi Milo represents his estate and will be opening a show on April 12. I’m really looking forward to it.
To the left when you enter is a wall full of Accra Shepp’s “Occupy Wall Street" portraits. There were 36 of them in a grid. And they were perfectly juxtaposed with Ernest Wither’s photo of the Memphis sanitation workers “I AM A Man” march in 1968. Steven Kasher made a very strong statement there.
Playing the “What would I buy if I had the money?” game, here are my choices:
Tim Hetherington—the Liberia image or one of the sleeping soldiers.
Anything by Bill Eppridge at the Monroe Gallery, maybe the anguished Medgar Evers family after his murder.
One of Katherine Wolkoff’s bird silhouettes "Found"(I loved everything at Sasha Wolf’s booth)
One of Michael Wolf’s voyeuristic Japan subway photos.
I also loved Emily Roysdon's “David Wojnarowicz Project" at Higher Learning. It was fresh, clever and well executed. The small B&W images really spoke to me.
I was pleasantly surprised to see work by so many photographers I knew, including Nina Berman, Laurie Lambrecht, Sandi Fifield, Martine Fougeron, and Justine Reyes. John Cyr’s developing tray project was there as well, and looked really good on the walls.
Now in the end I don’t know how successful this year’s AIPAD was for the galleries, but I saw many people, and enjoyed myself. It seemed fresher than last year, but I'm a real sucker for the vintage work, and that seemed to take a back seat. I'm on the fence about that. AIPAD is exhausting, and when it’s over, I find I need a break from photography.
If money was no object, what would YOU buy?
Photos by Jason Florio.