Wednesday 6 August 2008

Young Curators, New Ideas @Bond Street Gallery, New York

©Gerald Edwards III, Investigation into the Disruption of Power, 2006

OPENING RECEPTION: Wednesday, August 13, 2008
ON VIEW: Wednesday, August 13 – Saturday, September 6, 2008

Bond Street Gallery in Brooklyn, New York will be hosting Young Curators, New Ideas, a group exhibition organized by Amani Olu and curated by Alana Celii & Grant Willing (Fjord Photo), Michael Bühler-Rose, Jon Feinstein (Humble Arts Foundation), Laurel Ptak (I Heart Photograph), Amy Stein (, and Lumi Tan (Why + Wherefore).

Reading from the press literature, the exhibition examines different trends and perspectives in contemporary art photography through the bias of six new and seasoned curators. Each curator (or curatorial group), using roughly ten feet of space, aims to engage viewers in a discussion on where he or she believes art photography is today.

Völuspá, curated by Grant Willing and Alana Celii, focuses on the themes of magic, otherworldliness, secrets and nostalgia. The exhibiting photographers were curated from the Fjord collective, and include Mikaylah Bowman, Gerald Edwards III, Bryan Lear, Miranda Lehman, Seth Lower, Mark McKnight, Erin Jane Nelson, and Jesper Ulvelius. The images from these eight artists represent the ideas of a multi-verse, which is a self-contained, separate reality. All of the photographs point to a place or moment that feels familiar, but objectively is known to rarely exist. These spurious emotions allow the viewers to address a personal memory or follow one's spiritual quest; yet when presented with the facts that directly make up the photographs, they feel like something that cannot be experienced.

Artist Michael Bühler-Rose presents Opposing Photographers by Charles Benton. Benton's work examines the nature of portraiture by returning fine art photography to its roots in conceptual art practice. Benton enables the viewer to be placed within the middle of a photographic "volley" to experience not just the gaze of the photographer towards his or her subject, but also to reflect that gaze back and enable the viewer to experience both subject and object simultaneously. Through this lo-tech presentation Benton reassess the slide presentation/photographic document's traditional function of "pointing to..." and enables the viewer to experience being pointed at.

In Jon Feinstein’s exhibition, Light and Color, he explores notions of science, mysticism, astronomy and the unreal using photographs from Hannah Whitaker, Talia Chetrit, Noel Rodo-Vankuelen, and Ann Woo. Much of the work utilizes stripped down elements such as prisms, rainbows, and seemingly banal sunsets to investigate common themes in art history and larger conceptual issues surrounding the process of image making.

Laurel Ptak's exhibition takes the show in a different direction by commissioning 26 photographers, designers, and new media artists to embrace the animated GIF. Appropriately titled Graphics Interchange Format, the show explores how a lo-fi digital image technology invented in 1987 fares in contemporary context. Ptak gave artists only 3 days to complete the commission and encouraged the use of photographic materials. A few of the artists had never made an animated GIF before, while others were notorious for it. "Some use the form epically," says Ptak, "like a novelist or film director; others are self-reflective about the limits of technology and representation; many challenge photography's usual atemporal disposition; and then some just make me giggle." The results are 67 artist-made animated GIFs shown on 44-inch flat screen in an infinite loop. Each are sold in an unlimited edition for $20, accompanied by a personalized note from the artist.

Graphics Interchange Format features works by Victor Boullet, Tyler Coburn, Petra Cortright, C. Coy, Daniel Everett, Thobias Fäldt & Per Englund, Martin Fengel, Jason Fulford, Nicholas Grider, Pierre Hourquet, Konst & Teknik, Eke Kriek, Emily Larned, Matt MacFarland, Katja Mater, Kelci McIntosh, Ilia Ovechkin, Robert Overweg, M. River, Noel Rodo-Vankeulen, Asha Schechter, Trevor Shimizu, Jo-ey Tang, Anne De Vries, Karly Wildenhaus and Damon Zucconi.

In her exhibition, photographer and critic, Amy Stein, selects five photographers working in the tradition of Cindy Sherman, Ralph Eugene Meatyard and Gregory Crewdson. Featuring Alison Brady, Olga Cafiero, Alix Smith, Alex Prager, and Ofer Wolberger, these photographers employ directorial image making strategies to explore identity and representation of the self. Whether they are directing loved ones, friends or relative strangers, these five photographers bring us lush, evocative cinematic moments that transport the viewer into a space that is alternately unsettling yet strangely familiar.

Writer and curator, Lumi Tan, presents three photographs from Brian Bress. In these photographs, Bress conflates the space around us, leaving the viewer disorientated and distracted by a certain distorted familiarity. His use of ordinary objects in seemingly chance combinations and chaotic arrangements are uncanny, asking to be decoded but simultaneously resisting interpretation. By engaging the viewer in absurd performative exploration, he points out how easily we are lost in our own cultural detritus.

Get thee to New York.