Tag Archives: National Endowment For The Arts

Garie Waltzer, Shanghai / Overpass #1

Garie Waltzer, Shanghai / Overpass #1

Garie Waltzer

Shanghai / Overpass #1,
, 2001
Website – GarieWaltzer.com

Garie Waltzer was born in New York City and received her BFA in painting and MFA in photography from State University of New York/ Buffalo. She is a recipient of numerous artist grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ohio Arts Council, including the 2011 Ohio Arts Council Award for Excellence in Photography, and most recently, the 2012 Cleveland Arts Prize. Waltzer developed the photography program at Cleveland’s Cuyahoga Community College where she chaired the department and taught for many years. Her work is included in the numerous private, corporate and museum collections, including the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Robert B. Menschel Media Center, and Houston’s Museum of Fine Art. She is currently working on Living City, a project examining the cultural landscape of urban civic spaces.

Vance Gellert

I recently had the great pleasure to co-juror the Portrait Contest hosted by the Santa Fe Workshops.  Over the next several days, I will be featuring the work by several of the winners.  Almost a thousand photographers submitted closed to 4,000 images and the decision process was a tough one.  So many stellar photographs, so I am thrilled to featured these stand-out portraits.
Vance Gellert’s Second Prize Winning Image
Nina and Misha, Russian Performance Artists

Vance  received his MFA in photography from
Virginia Commonwealth University. He has been widely exhibited and published and has received numerous grants for
his work including one from the National Endowment for the Arts. He was
co-founder and executive director of pARTs Photographic Arts in Minneapolis where
he also curated exhibitions for 13 years. He joined IFP Center for Media Arts
as photography curator in 2008.

Vance has a natural ability as a portrait photographer, as evidenced in the series below, Real: Artists and Landscapes.  I am also featuring a sampling from his series, Smoke and Mirrors, about ritual and ceremony in health care in third world countries and western clinical practice.

REAL: Artists and Landscapes
Sometime in 1998, I was turned down for a travel grant request to curate a project of photography from Cuba. When I inquired as to what I could have added to make the request fundable, they said samples of my artwork, which was confusing since this was a request to find other people’s artwork. Heeding that advice, I went to Cuba on my own dime to find artists and brought my trusty Hasselblad. I photographed the photographers I interviewed in their studios as well as the environs in and around Havana.

There’s something about visiting visual artists in their studios. It not only yields compelling imagery, I find it creatively inspirational. After leaving the gallery in 2003, I set off on another project to find self-taught artists around Minnesota for interviews and portraits in their studios. The portraits were complemented with images of their environment that were taken on the way to or from the artist’s studio. These were paired with their portraits and a sample of their artwork in the exhibition REAL: Artists and Landscapes.

Images from Smoke and Mirrors

From the NY Times: When Vance Gellert studied pharmacology
in the early ’70s, he found that a scientific method of systematic observation,
precise measurement and disciplined testing could explain the efficacy of most
treatments. For that matter, it was a satisfying way of explaining much of the
world around him.

Mr. Gellert had always wanted to study the
role of shamanic ritual in enhancing the application of traditional plant
medicines. In 2005, as he approached 60, he resolved to combine his academic
and photographic interests by studying and documenting shamans and other
healers in Peru and Bolivia. He spent 10 months of the next five years living
with healers, studying their rituals and undergoing treatment himself.
Mr. Gellert understood that just because
the spiritual world of the shamans didn’t conform to Western science didn’t
mean that the healing he witnessed wasn’t real. “Scientists generally approach
things quantitatively and statistically,” Mr. Gellert said, “but there are
thing that don’t lend themselves well to that kind of research and
In fact, he was aware of powerful forces at
work; forces he didn’t know how to explain. Photos, it turned out, often served
better than scientific prose to describe what he witnessed — or experienced.

“Since it was invented, photography has
served science as a recorder of facts,” Mr. Gellert said, “but photography also
has subtleties and nuance that can communicate on a different level. When you
start looking at things that are not quantifiable, photography might be an
excellent tool.”

It is difficult to capture spiritual
experience in a photograph. Yet Mr. Gellert’s portraits often suggest powers
lurking just beyond what the eye can see.

The shamans let him into their lives and
encouraged him to photograph their treatments. They had confidence in their
practice and had no qualms about sharing it with a medical colleague, even one
who might occasionally have seemed slow to fully grasp what they were doing.

Though he started his quest
to learn about the relation between ritual and medicine, he came to see
ceremony and ritual as an integral part of healing. “The medicines are the
tool, but it is the process of interaction between healer and patient that is
most important,” Mr. Gellert said.

Alfredo Jaar at SCAD Museum of Art

© Alfredo Jaar

Alfredo Jaar, May 1, 2011

Exhibition on view:
Oct. 29, 2011–Feb. 12, 2012

SCAD Museum of Art:
601 Turner Blvd
Savannah, Georgia 31401
(912) 525-7191 

To celebrate the reopening of the SCAD Museum of Art, the Savannah College of Art and Design is presenting a series of several contemporary art exhibitions featuring the work of Bill Viola, Liza Lou, Stephen Antanakos, Kendall Buster, Kehinde Wiley, Nick Cave, and Aperture-published artist Alfredo Jaar. Debuting for the first time in the U.S., the museum will exhibit Jaar’s installation May 1, 2011. His piece juxtaposes an image of a white screen with that of the now infamous photo of U.S. leaders watching what is believed to be live footage of the killing of Osama bin Laden. May 1, 2011 comments on both the socio-political power of images and the equally affecting power of the lack of an image.

Born in Chile, Jaar’s photography, films, and installations regularly offer commentary on the possibilities and limitations of art to represent global political issues. He has received many awards, including a MacArthur Foundation Award and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He has exhibited at many museums including the MIT List Visual Arts Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Jaar’s work has appeared in Aperture issues 181 and 204.

Bruce Davidson’s Subway Exhibition

© Magnum/Bruce Davidson

In 1986, Aperture first published Bruce Davidson‘s Subway—a ground-breaking series that has garnered critical acclaim both as a document of a unique moment in the cultural fabric of New York City as well as for its phenomenal use of extremes of color and shadow set against flash-lit skin. In Davidson’s own words, “the people in the subway, their flesh juxtaposed against the graffiti, the penetrating effect of the strobe light itself, and even the hollow darkness of the tunnels, inspired an aesthetic that goes unnoticed by passengers who are trapped underground, hiding behind masks, and closed off from each other.”

Accompanying the third edition of this classic of photographic literature, Aperture Gallery will present Subway, an exhibition of the iconic color images that move the viewer through a landscape at times menacing, at other times lyrical, soulful, and satiric. The images include the full panoply of New Yorkers—from weary straphangers and languorous ladies in summer dresses to stalking predators and the homeless.

There will also be a Talk and Book Signing event at Strand Books on Monday, September 26, 2011. Buying a copy of the new edition of Subway, or a $10 Strand gift card will get you into the event. Although tickets are sold out online, more tickets will be sold at the door the night of the signing.

Bruce Davidson (born in Oak Park, Illinois, 1933) is considered one of America’s most influential documentary photographers. He began taking photographs when he was ten, and studied at the Rochester Institute of Technology and the Yale University School of Design. In 1958 he became a member of Magnum Photos, and in 1962, he received a Guggenheim Fellowship to document the civil rights movement. After a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1963, followed by a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 1967, Davidson spent two years photographing in East Harlem, resulting in East 100th Street. In 1980, after living in New York City for twenty-three years, Davidson began his startling color essay of urban life in Subway. Davidson received a second National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1980, and an Open Society Institute Individual Fellowship in 1998. His work has been shown at the International Center of Photography, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Museum de Tokyo, Paris; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Museum Rattu, Arles, France; Burden Gallery (Aperture), New York; Parco Gallery, Tokyo; and New-York Historical Society.

Exhibition on view:
Tuesday, October 4, 2011–Saturday, October 29, 2011

Opening reception:
Thursday, October 13, 2011, 6:00 pm

Artist Talk:
Wednesday, October 26, 2011, 6:30 pm

Aperture Gallery
547 West 27th Street, 4th floor
New York, New York
(212) 505-5555

Sally Mann at Jackson Fine Art

Ponder Heart, 2009. © Sally Mann

Proud Flesh

Exhibition on view:
September 9–October 29, 2011

Jackson Fine Art:
3115 East Shadowlawn Avenue
Atlanta, GA
(404) 233-3739

Proud Flesh is the upcoming exhibit of Sally Mann’s photography at the Jackson Fine Art. Using the human body as her main subject, Mann explores familial and spousal relationships in her photography. Born in Lexington, Virginia, Mann’s work has been showcased in museums and galleries all around the world. She has received numerous awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Mann has been featured in Aperture magazine issues 138, 162, and 194. Aperture also offers these books from Mann: Sally Mann: Proud Flesh, The Flesh and the Spirit, Immediate Family, and At Twelve.

2011 Benefit and Auction Spotlight: Honoree Bruce Davidson

Boys at the Lake, Central Park, 1992 © Bruce Davidson/Howard Greenberg Gallery

Benefit Honoree Bruce Davidson‘s photograph Boys at the Lake, Central Park is one of the many exciting items up for auction at this year’s Benefit. The black and white image depicts four boys climbing on overhanging branches, starkly silhouetted against the Manhattan skyline. The photographer writes, of the image, “I discovered these young children swinging on low branches of trees over the lake. They seemed very free to me and comfortable as I made a few panoramic exposures. I thanked them and continued walking along.”

“The layers of life are very deep within Central Park, and no one will ever finish photographing Central Park. […] I used a panoramic camera with a rotating drum scan for much of the work in the park because Olmstead saw the park as a proscenium that moved, like during a carriage ride, or strolling, so I needed that 150 degree view.”

Bruce Davidson (born in Oak Park, Illinois, 1933) is considered one of America’s most influential photographers. He began taking photographs when he was ten, and studied at the Rochester Institute of Technology and the Yale University School of Design. In 1958 he became a member of Magnum Photos, and in 1961 he received a Guggenheim Fellowship to document the civil rights movement. After a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1966, followed by a National Endowment for the Arts grant in 1967, Davidson spent two years photographing one block in East Harlem, resulting in East 100th Street. A solo exhibition of this work was curated by John Szarkowski for the Museum of Modern Art in 1970. In 1980, after living in New York City for twenty-three years, Davidson began his startling color series of urban life in Subway. Davidson received a second National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1980, and an Open Society Institute Individual Fellowship in 1998. He received this year an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from the Corcoran College of Art and Design. His work has been shown at the International Center of Photography, New York; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Museum Reattu, Arles, France; Burden Gallery (Aperture), New York; Parco Gallery, Tokyo; and New-York Historical Society.

Click here to preview artworks from the Auction and to bid online

Click here to purchase tickets to the Benefit and for more information

Click here to see Bruce Davidson’s new edition of his classic book Subway, to be published by Aperture this Fall

Bill O’Donnell

Some weeks ago, I professed my love of all things miniature on Lenscratch, and I was delighted when photographer Dawn Roe, offered up the name of someone I might find of interest, Bill O’Donnell . For his series, Many Rooms, Bill has taken a long forgotten doll house and changed it into a stage for his exploration of being in the world.

A Chicago photographer, Bill was born in Providence, RI and has traversed the country persuing his photographic goals after initially exploring painting and graphic design. He earned his MFA from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago and taught at Loyola University Chicago and the School of the Art Institute before joining the faculty of Illinois State University in 2001 where he is an Associate Professor in Photography.

The National Endowment for the Arts has recognized his work with a Regional Fellowship, and the Illinois Arts Council has awarded him two Artists Fellowships and he has had numerous exhibitions including the Midwest Photographers Project Collection at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, The Chicago Project at the Catherine Edelman Gallery, The Seattle Portable Works Collection and the NEA Visual Artists Fellowship Archive. Solo exhibitions include shows at the historic Water Tower Gallery in Chicago, the Chicago Cultural Center and SOHO PHOTO GALLERY in New York.

MANY ROOMS: These pictures are shot in a rusting tin dollhouse. This home serves as a generic domestic setting. For my purposes, it’s also a quirky enough stage-set to play the role of a heavenly home, the endpoint of life’s journey in any promise of an afterlife. I also find it to be a fitting laboratory for the working out of a host of problems inherent in a number of human ideals.

Primarily, inspired by three formal concerns of the Western philosophical tradition, Knowledge, Conduct and Governance, the pictures circle around these essential questions:

How do we know what we know?
How might one live a virtuous life?
How is one related to one’s society?

The cycle of acquisition, loss and regaining of knowledge can range from the maturity and death of a wise teacher to the building and destruction of a great library. In my pictures, piles of dust, ash and books suggest the frail, ephemeral nature of both the human body and any treasury of accumulated wisdom.

The utility of knowledge and wisdom is represented in Greek mythology and philosophy as a golden thread; the one that leads Theseus safely back from the depths of the Minotaur’s labyrinth is repeated as Plato’s golden cord, a path of Reason that guides one safely through the maze of appetite and emotions. A golden cord weaves its way throughout the dollhouse in this work.

The ideal world of geometric forms has been used for centuries to suggest the existence of other, equally immutable truths. Humble, clunky, but implicitly transcendent geometric forms appear in some of these pictures.

Finally, the tension between individual liberty and social responsibility is often viewed as a threshold to be honored or crossed. In many images, I use windows and doors, the liminal membranes between public and private, to address questions of tension between society and the individual.

Matt Black

For a number of years, a good friend who is a nurse in an agricultural area in California, has shared with me her efforts to help a community of farm workers from an region in the mountains of Mexico called Mixtecapan, where the inhabitants don’t speak Spanish, but their own pre-Colombian languages. They have had a difficult transition into American culture, and little ability to communicate their needs and struggles. I was delighted to learn about Matt Black’s project, The People of Clouds, focusing on this population and am thrilled to be able to help bring exposure to his Kickstarter campaign.

Matt also comes from an agricultural community in California and began taking photographs at an young age. He worked as a newspaper photographer, and went onto to become a photo journalist whose interest is in changing rural economies, migration and cultural change, themes that he has been exploring photographically for over a decade.

Matt’s work has received grants and awards from the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the California Arts Council, Pictures of the Year International, the California Council for the Humanities, the Alexia Foundation for World Peace, the Sunday Magazine Editors Association, Communication Arts, American Photography, Lightwork, and the Center for Photographic Projects. His work has also been named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and has received a Golden Eye award from the World Press Photo Foundation.

The Mixteca, a rugged mountain range in southern Mexico, is one of the most isolated and impoverished regions in Latin America. Named during the reign of the Aztecs as Mixtecapan — “Place of the Cloud People” — the Mixteca’s isolation and rugged landscape have sheltered its people from the outside world since before the Spanish conquest. Still today, pre-columbian languages like Mixteco, Trique, and Asmuzgos are spoken more widely than Spanish, and cars, electricity and indoor plumbing are recent introductions, if they exist at all.

Named the “Place of the Cloud People” by the Aztecs, the Mixteca is home to one of the oldest and largest indigenous cultures in the Americas. Rugged and remote, the isolated region sheltered a pre-Colombian way of life that largely vanished from the rest of Mexico in the aftermath of the conquest. At its heart, it’s a culture of the land, and corn. Along the region’s hillsides, it is still possible to glimpse ancient terraces, canals, and runoff channels that protected the Mixteca’s rich but fragile soil, and nourished its inhabitants, for thousands of years.

But today, these ancient farming traditions have been lost, replaced by chemical fertilizers, hybrid seeds, and herbicides, the trifecta of modern agriculture heavily promoted in indigenous communities by the Mexican government and international charities as part of the “Green Revolution” of the 1960s. When combined with slash and burn farming, the Mixteca’s steep terrain, and the loss of other indigenous soil-preserving traditions like multi-cropping, these imported industrial agricultural techniques have turned Mixtec corn farming, one of the world’s oldest and most perfectly integrated agricultural systems, into a soil-eating machine.

Today, much of the Mixteca has been declared an “Ecological Disaster Zone,” the result of unchecked erosion, deforestation, and soil exhaustion. Per capita maize consumption is less than ten ounces per day, 90% below US rates, and fewer than a third of children under the age of five show normal growth by weight and height. Ranked on the UN’s Human Development Index (HDI), the Mixteca’s poverty is deeper than nearly all of Latin America’s, comparable only to areas of Africa, India, and the Gaza Strip. Far from sparking a Green Revolution, the industrial farming techniques prescribed to the Mixtecs have resulted in their becoming unable to even keep themselves fed.

Nearly a quarter million Mixtecs have emigrated to the US. Some villages have lost as much as 80% of their population and have become little more than ghost towns. “I only think about dying,” one elderly man told me. “My only worry is how my funeral will be.”

I am seeking your support to help tell this important story. Your pledge to this campaign, a collaboration between Orion Magazine, the nation’s premier environmental journal, and Daylight Multimedia, a leading pioneer of online documentary work, will enable me to create an in-depth chronicle of this modern day, man-made Dust Bowl and document the profound social repercussions left in its wake.