Tag Archives: Contemporary Art


So much happening in Washington DC starting Saturday and it’s not all political.  Fotoweek DC is an incredible celebration of all things photography, with a heaping feast of exhibitions, education, lectures, portfolio reviews, and a city that is joining in the experience.

Among a large selection of exhibitions, Feature Shoot editor Alison Zavos and Amanda Gorence are presenting Come Together, a group photography exhibition featuring 18 photographers that is a mash-up of contemporary imagery that visually alludes to song titles by the Beatles. The experience of viewing the show can be likened to a Beatles-themed
game of charades, but using photos to invoke an interactive element,
even if the challenge is only going on inside the mind. Accessible and
lighthearted, the exhibition offers a unique perspective on one of the
most popular bands of all time. While some connections will be easier to
make than others, the images will cross all genres, allowing viewers of
different generations to find a meaningful relationship between the

I’m thrilled to be teaching the seminar:

Knowledge For Beginning and Emerging Photographers – Aline Smithson
& PDN’s 30 Strategies for Young Working Photographers  REGISTER NOW

10am – 2pm, Goethe Institut*
Aline Smithson – The Broad View: Fine Art Portfolios from Context, to Creation, to Completion

The most important tool that a
photographer can bring to their work is knowledge and insight.  Many
photographers spend much of their education on learning the bells and
whistles of cameras and changing technology, and don’t consider what is
equally as important: Creating a voice, having ideas, producing stellar
prints, and knowing where the work they create fits into the
contemporary art market.  Ultimately, what is most rewarding and most
important is The Work.

This three-hour workshop is geared to
beginning and emerging photographers.  During the session, we will
explore how to develop ideas for projects by examining the fine art
market and by exploring the context of award winning or meaningful
portfolios.  Portfolios will be presented to also help explain
contemporary genres of photography, touching on categories that are
often offered in competitions or magazines, and we will look at what
kinds of work fits into what kind of market.

In the
workshop, we will also not only discuss how to create a portfolio but in
addition, how to present a body of work to the fine art market,
focusing on your ability to articulate your work and produce quality
photographs.  The details that surround the work you make are important
to establishing yourself as a professional.

There are lots of terrific seminars to attend:

A Photo Student Update

Shsssssshhhhh aphotostudent.com is sleeping.

But you can find me at The New Yorker’s Photo Booth or hanging out at http://jamespomerantz.tumblr.com




Conceptual photography

For its latest issue (#71), Source magazine is asking the question, “What is conceptual photography?” To go along with the mag they have produced three short talking-head videos exploring this question with a handful of artists and critics. The importance of the “concept” in contemporary photography has always interested me. In the photo-world, the question regularly pops up about why “straight” photography isn’t taken seriously by the art world. Those in the straight photography corner often appear to see conceptual photography as impure in some way, as if it were not what photography is really about. Without wanting to spark off another one of these debates, it seems to me that concept is indeed considered paramount in Western art photography today (in my experience, this is not at all the case in Japan, where “serious” photography can still very much be about wandering around with a camera and taking pictures). For example, I’m often struck by young photographers struggling to hang an ill-fitting artist statement with some big ideas in it over the shoulders of work that is clearly not conceptual in the slightest… presumably because they have been taught to do so in art school. Wherever you stand on this question (or however delightfully far away you stand from it) these videos provide an interesting look at how photography became so excited about concepts and what the hell “conceptual photography” is even supposed to mean in the first place.


Palais de Tokyo Young Curators Season 2013 Open Call

Dedicated to the emergence of the newest forms of contemporary art as it is, the Palais de Tokyo sees participating in the renewal of the ecosystem of art as part of its remit. This is why it undertakes to seek out and support new players, and new directions. Thus in the summer of 2013 the Palais de Tokyo is entrusting its entire programme schedule to “young curators”. Selected on the basis of the proposals they submit, the winners will bear witness to the perpetual reinvention of the issues involved in curating an exhibition, their scouting talent, and their ability to dream up new ways of relating to art. This event is likewise intended to demonstrate the dynamism of Paris and the surrounding area as part of a joint initiative involving a great many partners and institutions.

The proposed project must clearly demonstrate innovative thinking about exhibition formats. Whether it relates to a solo or a group exhibition, it must envisage occupying a surface area that can be as large as 250 sq. m. It must be capable of evolving in accordance with the technical constraints and the diversity of spaces that apply at the Palais de Tokyo. The selection will be made primarily on the basis of the inventiveness of the project, its curatorial boldness, and its relevance in the current field of creative work. Applicants can indicate a preference as regards the typology of space best suited to their proposal. Applicants can be curators and/or artists.

The application file will consist of:

1. a statement of intent
2. an illustrated list of proposed artists (and/or works)
3. an estimated budget in euros comprising the items: production of works, transport, materials and equipment required
4. a CV
5. an artistic documentation giving a short description of the previous curatorial projects carried out by the applicant
6. anything else likely to shed light on the proposed project

File to be forwarded before 30 September, 2012

– In digital format to: [email protected]
– As a hard copy to: Palais de Tokyo, Young Curators, 13 av du prsident Wilson, F-75116 Paris, France

Applicants must be under 40 years of age.

The Palais de Tokyo will bring together a jury consisting of seven curators from its team, its President, Jean de Loisy, and several suitably qualified notabilities. Following an initial selection, the applicants chosen will present their proposal to the jury in person. The traveling expenses of the applicants selected to present their proposals orally will be covered by the Palais de Tokyo. Between ten and fifteen winners will be named following this second phase.

Each winner will be assigned a curator as their main contact at the Palais de Tokyo and will be supported by the production service throughout the implementation of the project. squido lense . The total estimate budget for the season is 500,000, excluding caretaking and security, mediation and communication. Each curator selected will receive a sum of 1500 euros as a fee, not to be included in the estimated budget.

Call for applications: beginning of June 2012

Applications to be submitted before 30 September, 2012

Oral interviews of those selected in the first round: 5 November, 2012

Winners announced during the week of 5 November, 2012

Exhibition: June 2013

For information, a plan of the Palais de Tokyo etc click here.

Art Space Tokyo

Art Space Tokyo

Tokyo is not an easy place to get to grips with, especially for those of us who are used to the structure and scale of most European cities. Its multi-layered sprawl and labyrinthine underground transport network can make it feel like a never-ending maze. Like the city itself, Tokyo’s art scene can feel impenetrable to an outsider. The fluctuations of the art world make it difficult to keep up with the art landscape in any big city, but Tokyo more than most as the contemporary art market is not as developed and established as in the US or Europe. This doesn’t mean fewer galleries, but rather more of them and a constant ebb and flow of relocations, openings, and closures too. As a regular visitor to the city over the last decade, I still feel as if I have only seen the tip of the art scene iceberg. Galleries are often small, tiny even, and difficult to find, rarely at street level but tucked away in a basement or on the 4th floor of an anonymous building in a non-descript neighbourhood. Part of the charm if you’re gallery hopping, but if you actually have to get to a meeting, it can be a little more stressful. I often rely on Tokyo Art Beat, a kind of online art events guide (in both Japanese and English) including exhibition reviews that tells you what is on in Tokyo. A very useful tool, in its attempt to be comprehensive it also ends up being a little overwhelming and is probably more useful when you know what you are looking for.

Thankfully there is now another online English-language resource to turn to. Art Space Tokyo has existed as a physical book since 2008, but it has now been launched on digital platforms and as a website including three major sections: spaces, interviews and essays, as well as a timeline of some of the major art events in Tokyo over the last 60+ years. Rather than going for a comprehensive picture of the Tokyo art scene, Art Space Tokyo limits itself to a couple of handfuls of spaces and art world ‘players’, providing the essential info but also going into some depth and analysing current trends. The essays included also tackle interesting questions such as the nature of Japanese street art or the state of art journalism and criticism in Japan, making this much more than a guidebook to the Tokyo art world. The authors, Ashley Rawlings and Craig Mod, have also clearly given a lot of thought to translating all the content from a paper book to digital platforms (iPad, Kindle) and to a website. They have been generous too, putting up the entire contents of the book online for free, even holding on to Nobumasa Takahashi‘s great illustrations, rather than treating the site as a sneak preview promotional tool. This one is bound to come in handy on my next visit to Tokyo.


Christopher H. Paquette, Untitled

Christopher H. Paquette, Untitled

Christopher Paquette

Toledo, Ohio, 2010
Website – PHOTOartsMagazine.com

Christopher Paquette is an artist and writer from Philadelphia. Since 2006 he has edited PHOTO/arts Magazine, a compendium of photography and art related news, exhibit listings, and critical essays relating to historical and contemporary art topics.

Sara VanDerBeek Nominated for Smithsonian’s Contemporary Artist Award


2012 © Sara VanDerBeek

Established in 2001, the Smithsonian American Art Museum created the Contemporary Artist Award to enhance the museum’s commitment to living artists and to honor their achievements. Artists nominated have to be younger than 50, have produced a significant body of work, and consistently demonstrate exceptional creativity.

The 15 nominees for the 2012 Contemporary Artist Award, whose work spans a diverse range of media, are Matthew Buckingham, Kathy Butterly, Christina Fernandez, Amy Franceschini, Rachel Harrison, Oliver Herring, Glenn Kaino, Sowon Kwon, Ruben Ortiz-Torres, Jaime Permuth, Will Ryman, Ryan Trecartin, Mark Tribe, Mary Simpson and Sara VanDerBeek.

Artists are nominated by a panel of jurors from across the country, each with a wide knowledge of contemporary art. The artist receives $25,000 with the intent to encourage the future development and experimentation of the artist’s work. Winners will be announced in October.

VanDerBeek appeared in Aperture issue 202.

Martin Usborne, Tea with five sugars

Martin Usborne, Tea with five sugars

Martin Usborne

Tea with five sugars,
Hoxton, London, 2008
From the Joseph of Hoxton series
Website – MartinUsborne.com

Martin Usborne lives and works in London. He trained in architecture, then philosophy, then psychology, then 3D animation before finally settling on photography. His current work consists of portraits, both human and animal, and he is particularly interested in capturing the relationship between the two whether directly (when both appear in the frame) or indirectly (as in the case of his MUTE: the silence of dogs in cars series, where the human's role is implied). He strives to make his work poignant but playful – he feels there is too much unremitting sadness in contemporary art photography. He has published two photography books, the first called I’ve Lived in Hoxton for 81.5 years about an old man that has only once left East London, and another, My name is Moose about what it is like to be a dog in the recession. His third book, The Silence of Dogs in Cars is due out in October.