In the mid-70s, Mitch Epstein was exhibiting some of his earliest work, some of the images first to elevate color photography into the realm of fine art, joining the ranks of Stephen Shore and William Eggleston. Right around that time, Sondra Gilman, who, along with her husband Celso Gonzalez-Falla, has been repeated ranked among the top photo collectors in the world by ARTnews, purchased her first photograph.
She had “tripped over a [Eugène] Atget show” at MoMA, she tells New York Social Diary in an interview (accompanied by dozens of images of the collection at home in their Upper East Side townhouse), and “literally had an epiphany.” She ended up buying three $250 prints at a time when photographs “had no value.” Since then, the couple’s collection has grown to several hundred vintage prints, and their value, surely to no one’s surprise today, has grown astronomically.
On Wednesday, April 11, 2012 Aperture Foundation presents a conversation with Gilman and Gonzalez-Falla alongside Epstein, whose work features prominently in the Shared Vision collection (at Aperture through April 21, 2012). This ambitious exhibition, organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Jacksonville, curated by Ben Thompson and Paul Karabinis, brings together their most iconic images reflecting the diverse nature of an entire century of photography. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue published by MOCA and produced by Aperture, including historical context for each image and photographer as well as curatorial remarks.
Epstein, who won the Prix Pictet in 2011, the Berlin Prize in Arts and Letters in 2008, and the Kraszna-Krausz Photography Book Award in 2004, also appears in the New York Times Magazine Photographs, edited by Kathy Ryan, and Aperture issue 168. A former student of Garry Winogrand at Cooper Union in the early ’70s, his work has since landed in the collections of the MoMA, the Whitney, the Getty Museum, SFMOMA, and Tate Modern in London. While his projects often start as independent explorations or excursions, he has a strong inclination to “engage with issues beyond self-reflexive ones,” he tells BOMB in a lengthy interview about how some of his latest projects including American Power, progressed from an editorial assignment, to a print series, to a book.
Watch a great video shot at Tate Modern of Epstein discussing his latest series and exploring what makes a strong photograph. Check out photos from our the walkthrough of the Shared Vision exhibition with Marcelle Polednik, Director of MOCA Jacksonville and the collectors, and the VIP walkthrough during last weekend’s AIPAD Photography Show. And find images of the installation as well as an index of the work on view at DLK Collection.
Shared Vision: A Conversation with Sondra Gilman, Celso Gonzalez-Falla, and Mitch Epstein
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 at 6:30 pm
Aperture Gallery and Bookstore
547 West 27th Street, 4th Floor
New York, New York