Archive for May, 2009

William Lamson – Work & Trade

May 29, 2009

William Lamson, Trade 104 from Work and Trade

I’m surprised that I haven’t heard or read anything in relation to William Lamson’s current solo exhibition going on right now at Pierogi Gallery.

I only found out last night by chance as I ran into Lamson himself and luckily for all of us, the performance part of the current exhibition is still ongoing through this weekend.

First let’s just say that Lamson already defined himself as a pretty damn good photographer, not to mention super smart and funny, with his Me in America series from 2004-2006.

He then moved on to tackle the time based medium of video and to my mind has made some of the freshest, most bizarre, hilarious, intellectual and stimulating videos I have seen in a while. These are the kinds of videos that you actually want to stand around and watch to see what happens.

Lately Lamson has been tackling the fine art of drawing using some rather odd techniques and strategies. Most of the drawings use a sort of automatic and/or Dada-esque contraption to do the actual work which reminds me a bit of the wackiness and ingenuity of Peter Fischli and David Weiss.

At Pierogi, Lamson is presenting his latest drawing project and performance work titled Work and Trade.

From the press release:

Lamson will work in the gallery making drawings with a device that consists of a ceiling fan, string and a marker. Visitors are invited to look through a flat file archive of this work and offer him something in exchange for a drawing of their choice. The traded item will become part of a collection of unique objects on display in the gallery, and anything that is not already in the collection may be offered as a trade. By allowing viewers the ability to trade something for a drawing, Lamson creates both an opportunity for dialogue and a system through which the audience determines the content of the work on display. Through these conversations and the display of traded objects Lamson challenges the viewer to question the criteria by which value is determined.

Lamson is also keeping an ongoing chronicle of the project at a website which he specifically set up for the occasion.

Tonight is the official opening of the exhibition but he’s been making drawings and accumulating objects all week.

You have until Sunday to get down to the gallery to make your own personal contribution and exchange.

William Lamson at PIEROGI
177 North 9th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Opening Reception: Friday May 29th, 7-9pm
Exhibition dates: May 22-June 22, 2009

That was a camera shutter…

May 27, 2009

Watch as this bird mimics the sound of a car alarm, a camera shutter, a camera with a motor drive and even a chainsaw.

Are you Color Blind?

May 27, 2009


It turns out that I have perfect color vision but I think my regular vision is slowly starting to go.

Test your color vision.


Thinking About Alternate Words for Photograph

May 26, 2009

Blow Up

Any others?

Photographic: 09-09

May 23, 2009


To request the above photograph:

Send an email (subject: Photographic: 09-09) to horses [at] with your name and mailing address.

If you are the first person to respond after the posting, you will receive the photograph in the mail.

*This photograph is no longer available.

Two Weeks

May 22, 2009

Grizzly Bear’s new album, Veckatimest, is out next week on May 26 but listen and watch the above video, which is one of the first tracks off the album.


You can also download another new track for free directly from their website.

Your Golden Opportunity

May 20, 2009

rj_opportunityRJ Shaughnessy, Your Golden Opportunity Is Comeing Very Soon

RJ Shaughnessy was kind enough to send me a copy of his latest self-published book, Your Golden Opportunity Is Comeing Very Soon.

The book is filled with night time images, illuminated with a hard bright flash, of what I can only assume are locations of random car accidents.

The images seem to be evidence of the car crashes as poles bend and warp in all directions, fences break and marks are left behind in a kind of abstract expressionistic landscape of sidewalks, curbs and the open road.

Needless to say that all the images appear to have been shot in Los Angeles where the automobile is obviously the main mode of transportation. The book as a whole makes me think of all the celebrity and paparazzi car chases and clashes we are constantly seeing in photographs and on TV.

It’s quite an impressive looking book that got me thinking about self-publishing and wondering how and where he had it made. This also appears to be his second self-published book after Death Camp.

In an email exchange, RJ informed me that he had the book printed in Hong Kong with Diya USA and seemed to have good things to say about them. He says the website makes them look worse than they really are and that you can even get a quote from them online.

It seems that self-publishing is all the rage these days and I’m quite intrigued by all the possibilities. Things will only get more exciting as these cheaper publishing places pop up all over the place and make books more accessible as well as significantly more affordable.

NYPH '09

May 19, 2009

Worst slum in AmericaJacob Holdt, Worst slum in America

Like most photographers living in New York, I definitely made a point of checking out what the New York Photo Festival had to offer this year. I attended the exhibits and sat through a couple of artist talks and a panel discussion. The festival this year was larger and seemed to have a lot more going on, which is not necessarily a good thing.

Although there were highlights and events certainly worth talking about, I have to say that in the end I was kind of disappointed.

My biggest complaint would be that given the fact that the festival is trying to bill itself as the go to photography event of the year, I think they are doing quite a disservice to many of the photographers on display by printing, mounting and framing a lot of the work specifically for the festival.

I assume that they do this to save enormous cost on the shipping of work back and forth which I totally understand but in the end many of the photographs were badly printed and inconsiderately framed.

I won’t even get into the strange hanging some work received, the standout being Simon Roberts in Jon Levy’s Home For Good exhibition. Robert’s work was hung in a corner and over the sofas. This will sound harsh but in my mind treating photographic work like this for an exhibition is almost pointless. I would almost rather look at the pictures online or on some poorly projected screen.

My other big complaint relates specifically to Jacob Holdt’s slide installation and artist talk which was probably the biggest highlight and draw of the festival. Just before his artist talk, I was blown away by Holdt’s slide installation being presented around the block. Holdt himself though seemed frustrated by and seemingly went on to disavow the entire presentation of his work as not really being his version of it. He seemed to say the same about the artist talk itself.

I don’t know what goes on behind the scenes of setting up a festival of this proportion and while I’m sure it isn’t easy, I would have preferred it if Holdt had been allowed to set up his own slide presentation and/or give a complete artist talk about his work. It’s possible that maybe the festival asked but Holdt refused or didn’t have enough time in his schedule to give a full-on presentation. But limiting someone like Holdt to 50 minutes of speaking time seemed pretty ridiculous and a disservice to the life long commitment that his work ultimately represents.

I won’t get into my take on the main exhibitions but needless to say I wasn’t terribly impressed. Generally I thought there was too much work selected and not enough focus. For the next festival I think I would rather see smaller exhibitions, finely tuned to their themes as well as beautifully presented.

guesswho18jpgGrant Worth, The Sounds in Our Core, 2008

Strangely, I only recorded two exhibition highlights in my little notebook.

One was Grant Worth’s Guess Who’s Coming After Dinner which was exhibited in I don’t really know what kind of girl I am curated by Jody Quon. Worth’s project is more a performance captured on polaroid film than straight up photography but I couldn’t help but like it.

schaerer_1Phillip Schaerer, Bildbau No 7, 2007

I also enjoyed Philipp Schaerer’s Bildbauten, a funny yet strange collection of constructed and fictitious architecture.

Another highlight of the festival over all was the photography blogging panel which really only got knee deep into the beginning of a discussion. That panel too should have been longer and more in depth.

I would have liked to have seen more of the panel discussions but the remnants of a cold kept me from attending The Edge of Vision: Abstraction in Contemporary Photography as well as Photography After Frank.

As a final conclusion I would say that I value and appreciate what the New York Photo Festival is trying to do but I think the festival would be better served by scaling down their offerings next year and not scaling up any further. I have to wonder if we really need another photography award competition or more portfolio review sessions?


Daniel Power (one of the organizers of the festival) responded (in a comment below) to some of my criticisms of the festival and he makes some good points worth reading.

Simon Schubert

May 13, 2009

simon_schubertSimon Schubert, o.T. (Treppenhaus abwärts), 2006

Simon Schubert delicately folds pieces of paper to create near-photographic depictions of space.

I’m already experiencing vertigo just looking at them online. One can only imagine how much more three dimensional they would be in person.


On Photoshop

May 11, 2009

big_redCory Arcangel, Photoshop CS: 110 by 72 inches, 300 DPI, RGB, square pixels, default gradient “Spectrum”, mousedown y=1098 x=1749.9, mouse up y=0 x=4160, 2008

“I’ll spend six months programming something that doesn’t actually do anything. Or I’ll get Photoshop, open it, leave it on a default setting, click one button to print out something huge, and that gets circulated as a work by Cory Arcangel-even though anyone who knows Photoshop knows it’s just Photoshop. Eventually, people will forget Photoshop. And then more people will recognize the image as mine than will recognize it as the software’s. Or maybe not. Who cares? The point is that the aesthetic produced by those things becomes my work, which is just basically exploiting the way the whole art system works.”

Cory Arcangel in conversation with Dara Birnbaum in the March 2009 issue of ArtForum.