Archive for the 'Art!' Category



Leibovitz Lecture

dsc_0025

Last week I had some amazing luck and ended up with a ticket to the sold out Annie Leibovitz lecture at the C|O Berlin where her retrospective is up, “A Photographer’s Life.”  The space was beautiful and walking past the giant line felt pretty great, turns out Germans love her; I saw a “Willkommen Annie” cover story on at least 3 big newspapers the day she arrived.

I know a lot of photographers don’t feel this way.  My room mate, for one, who was her first assistant for many years back in the 90’s.  Fortunately for me he didn’t really feel like going (apparently she can be more than rude on set) and thus I ended up with his ticket.  A lot of other photographers who have never actually worked with her, like me, kind of cringe about her because she’s become one of those names.  You know, like Ansel Adams or (more full on cringe here) Anne Geddes.   The type people who don’t know much about Photography mention whilst in awkward getting to know you conversations with a photographer.  I know I’ve had to surpress an eye roll on more than one occasion when people mention those names, it’s happened to the best of us.

dsc_0003

All that said when Leibovitz walked in, I stood on my tippy toes to see her and later on found myself taking as many photos as I could while she was nearby.  She’s a household name for a reason and although I still don’t get Anne Geddes I had a similar experience with Ansel Adams in which I went to a retrospective show and was floored by the beauty of his prints.  Sometimes there’s reason for the hype.

dsc_0017

Also, I just finished reading the late Susan Sontag’s journals “Reborn” and since Leibovitz and Sontag were partners I was interested to hear her talk about her.  When she did the audience went completely silent, more so as we watched this very powerful seemingly guarded woman grow a bit emotional as she referred to ‘loosing Susan.’

annieliebovitz

“when we met she knew I could be better, I could’ve been a jerk or the work could’ve gotten better.  I never really could be the person she wanted me to be.  She had a high set of values.  I never felt like I could totally please her”

Apparently the “Women” book was Sontags idea, interesting fact.  I found the photos in the show of Sontag to be really beautiful.  I think it’s always telling to see the portraits the portrait photographer takes of their loved ones.  Leibovitz said that was the motivation for the show, after Sontag died she was looking through photographs of her believing in all their years together she’d failed to get any really great ones.

She went on to talk about the photograph of her Mother, from the Women book and how it has become so much more to her over the years.  Just before taking it her Mother had asked her not to make her look old and after when she showed her parents neither one liked it.

“We always had to smile for photos when I was younger, in the best and worst of times.  And my Mother always smiled in photos.  But, I began to distrust the smile, in my protraits you rarely see people smiling….later at the show someone came up to me and said ‘she looks as if she loves you in that picture'”

my-mother

It was nice to hear some of the anecdotes behind the photos I’ve referenced since I was 16.  And yes I have to admit I was a bit star struck; it’s hard not to be when you walk through the rooms of people she’s photographed.  I mean just to have met all those people is a pretty amazing feat.  I know I know, you can roll your eyes if you must.

9780375505102_8483205_o

“as a photographer, my achilles heal: I like people to look good.”

Annie Leibovitz

Cindy Sherman at Sprüth Magers then Dancing

dsc_02581

sprueth

219

Sprüth Magers Berlin is delighted to present Cindy Sherman’s first exhibition of new work in Europe since 2004. The fourteen colour photographs assembled develop Sherman’s longstanding investigation into notions of gender, beauty and self-fashioning, and reveal a particular concern to probe experiences and representations of aging. Working as her own model for more than 30 years, Sherman has developed an extraordinary relationship with her camera, and her audience, capturing herself in a range of guises and personas which are by turn alarming and amusing, distasteful and poignant. A remarkable performer, subtle distortions of her face and body are captured on camera, leaving the artist unrecognizable as she deftly alters her features, and brazenly manipulates her surroundings.

Each of the women which feature in Sherman’s new exhibition share an acute consciousness of glamour and social hierarchy, which is both disquietingly flagrant and sardonically relevant to contemporary obsessions with image and status. In one photograph (Untitled #465, 2008), the fiercely proud eyes of a woman installed in her warped and blurred country estate stare out of a face regrettably cracked and peeling with age, ill concealed by make-up, hair-dye or expensive pearls. In another work from the series (Untitled #467, 2008), a woman with a tight sequined skirt, fake gold jewellery and extravagant fake white nails also glares out, perhaps daring the viewer to call her trash, or ruefully acknowledging that this is what she is. It is ultimately impossible, however, to fix any stable narrative in Sherman’s work; different levels of pretence and authenticity operate and interact in her images to complicate any straightforward reading of her characters, or the stories they might tell the viewer.

Find the full press release here.

dsc_0260

Winnie, Anna, and Ford

dsc_0256

I really loved the show, the space was wonderful (above photo is the ceiling) and it felt good to meet other artists and discuss the photos.

dsc_0269

After the gallery opening Harriet (above) had the grand idea of heading to Clärchens Ballhaus, a wonderful dance hall that has been hosting dances since 1913.  Even through war this place was said to have kept going.  On this particular evening it was Swing night, we mostly just watched, but towards the end we couldn’t resist and ended up going out and giving it a go.  The whole thing made me so happy, these elderly couples who were obviously regulars along side teenagers who wanted to learn from the masters.  Anyone who ever believed Germans to be cold and unfriendly has obviously never been here, the happy warmth seemed to radiate.

home_logo

dsc_0286

My favorite had to be this older man who looked at least 80 that had a smile on his face the whole night.  All the girls were dancing with him and even a few men which was truly heartwarming to see.  Not only these beautiful people dancing around and losing their self consciousness in it but also these big German men dancing together, everyone smiling.  I didn’t get to see the upstairs but here are some photos from the web.  If you come to Berlin I highly recommend this being one of your stops!

claerchens_ballhause_col_front_otto_dix

nov07-postcards

Artists Annonymous

I almost started to run but decided walking quickly would be less ridiculous, I was only 5 minutes late and I knew somewhere in the back of my head I was the only one who would notice or worry about it.  That all seems silly now that I know the place.

The Artists Annoymous are three people.  Here is their website.  When I came in the first time on that weekend in Berlin, I met with Ed and he explained to me that they needed interns for an upcoming show in Amsterdam.  An installation based on a video game which would be built here then transported by trucks and set up at the gallery there.  After I moved here and emailed Ed about coming in he said great, wear something you can get dirty.

dsc_0232

Ford and Harriet from inside the last bits of the pin hole camera

In my experience with photography I never got really good and dirty,  I mean you can’t really get chemicals all over without causing some serious damage.  There’s something quite satisfying about making things and coming home a bit more sore, with paint around the edges of your fingernails, and scrapes on your knuckles.  It’s a whole new sense of feeling useful.

dsc_0236

Anna in the palm of a giant hand

dsc_0230

Level headed Harriet

dsc_0239

Serena and Winnie making paper flowers in the new open space

The first day I was there we tore down a giant pin hole camera that was taking up too much space in the studio.   Then we started to build. The process has been a lot of give and take, discussing, and cups of coffee stirred with ends of rulers or pencils.

dsc_0251

La Festa e La Gattina

The Au Pair job was turning shady and I soon realized the offer was indeed to good to be true.  Everything had seemed great, they sent a contract through the agency and when I checked with the agency they said it sounded legit.  But then I started asking more questions, wanted some photos, some back round, etc.  That’s when I stopped getting answers and was urged to fly to London as soon as possible.  We’ll buy you the ticket, just fill out this Visa application.  Shady.  Sketchy. No go. I found some reassuring words here though.

encouragingwords_242

So it was decided for me in a way, Berlin it would be.  Now I just had to get together the courage to leave my Sisters comfy apartment, jump not knowing if I’d land on my feet.

dsc_0963

dsc_0981

While getting together this confidence I distracted myself with more knitting, the gattina (kitten-who I was quickly falling in love with), and a fabulous dinner party for a classmate’s boyfriend.

dsc_0903
Instead of gifts Anthony (above with the fabulous belt buckle) requested everyone bring something they had made that everyone could enjoy.  Being that most of the group is foodies that meant a lot of excellent food, including some wonderful Spring rolls by Jennifer and an delicious Almond cake by my Sister.  I brought my Polaroid and Nikon to document the events and give the Polaroids to Anthony.  Others wrote poems, brought artwork, and one woman performed belly dancing for us.  It was pretty excellent.

dsc_0915

After the dance I stepped outside for a minute, I got to meet Anthony and Rani’s neighbor who works for the Parma Gazette.  He showed me all of his photos and we chatted a bit in Italian.  It was really refreshing to see someone my age working as a photographer in Italy.

dsc_0933

Then, back inside, we all started dancing, even those people who hate dancing, and the apartment seemed to swell with smiles and new friendships (if only for that night).

This won’t be the Last Time

dsc_0782
After an amazing three-day trip I had to leave Berlin.  Usually I hate such short trips, feels like you’re not being fair to the city or your experience by only seeing a fraction of the place.   However I felt like I covered a lot of ground and knew I would be back.

dsc_0799

Before getting on the train I walked around Museum Island and attempted to take some photos of myself in Jessica Victory style (she always has these fantastic mid air jump shots that make me happy).  Now imagine me 4feet in front of my camera, which is propped up on my bag on self-timer, at around 10 am, jumping and smiling repeatedly.  Needless to say I attracted a small crowd of onlookers across the street that were all smiling and giggling.  I smiled back; awkwardness is universal.

dsc_0794 dsc_07951 dsc_0796

dsc_0809

“ALL ART HAS BEEN CONTEMPORARY”

dsc_0787

I had a nice fancy Cappuccino in a museum café and then some Curry Wurst (a Berlin dish of sausage with ketchup and curry) at the station and back on the train to Wurzburg.
dsc_0830
On the train I felt so strange, this ominous hum about me that seems to come and go frequently these days.  I suppose it’s a product of travel, the excitement and anticipation of the next place, but it seems stronger now.  It makes me want to photograph everything.

dsc_0833

dsc_0838

dsc_0845

It was really hard to photograph in a moving train but the scenery was gorgeous; I particularly loved these trees with what looked like tumbleweeds hanging amongst the branches.  It was lovely.

dsc_0860

dsc_0863

and everything changed

dsc_0502

The next day I woke up and had a quick breakfast before jumping on the U Bahn to go to the East Side Gallery.  The introduction page of my guide book to Berlin says this is not a beautiful city this is a city that has been through so much that it seeps from each space.

dsc_0505

The East Side Gallery is a remaining part of the wall that’s been left for artists to use as a canvas.  I took about 298749874 photos:

dsc_05091

dsc_0556 dsc_05101 dsc_0563

dsc_0519

dsc_0530

dsc_0557

dsc_0561

dsc_0565

dsc_0528

dsc_0569

dsc_05381

dsc_0559

Barbara’s Birthday

dsc_0428

dsc_0430

After a lazy morning we hopped on the train and rode out to the Museum im Kulturspeicher where we saw a great exhibit about Gabriele Munter, Wassily Kandinsky, and the “Der Blaue Reiter” (The Blue Rider) Group.

dsc_0871

dsc_0436

dsc_0881

dsc_08751

Print by Munter and Kandinsky in Germany with their cat.

dsc_0456

Afterwards Barbara and I walked back into town and went to a beautiful cafe.  It felt like a really classic place, a bit of an Austrian vibe, and beautifully decandent coffees and desserts.

dsc_0453

I had apple strudel (which came with a light vanilla cream to pour on top) and Barbara had a refreshingly not too sweet slice of cheese cake.

dsc_0457

Later that night we went to an amazing live show of ‘La Banda Brassa’ which is a band from Barbara’s region.  She was explaining to me that even though they are singing in German it’s a different dialect than in Wurzburg so most people don’t know the lyrics, not just me.

Well it was truly one of the best shows I’ve seen, the first thing these guys did was play their version of german techno (mind you this is with tuba, trumpet, drums) which was hillarious.  Then after playing their set to a packed and dancing crowd; myself, Barbara, and friends included, they were given two or three standing ovations and started to play some classics I could sing along to.  “Around the World” by Daft Punk, really amazing in brass! And my personal favorite “Waterfalls” by TLC.  Can’t top that! Hopefully I’ll have pictures soon, I opted out of bringing my camera and instead brought a disposable.  And also wunderbar, the band did a birthday shoutout for Barbara!

New York Fuckin City

Here I am, back again.

I’ve been staying with my friends Este and Alyson for a few days now; I just got back from class Yoga to the People so I’m nice and smelly and feeling cleansed.  I feel pretty ready for 2009, new places to go, new and I can already say with confidence better President, and another year of new questions and answers.  Now I’m not one for resolutions; I prefer not to put a date on when I make resolutions because then I’d procrastinate more than I already do.  I shoot for the fall season instead as a time of quitting and beggining habits.  I just want to continue to be open minded and appreciative.  Thanks to my family, new friends, and old for making 2008 wonderful, see you next year!

1e23e3c485a4c036bed72b548a8a8c49aef46ab5_m

dsc_0445

It Felt Like Years Disguised as Moments

dsc_0201

Saturday Market in SGV

dsc_0202

The best restaurant in SGV, Osteria D’Angelo.  My eyes are all a twinkle cause I was close to tears saying goodbye.

dsc_0220

Oh how much we grew, my fast growing plant friend

dsc_0215

When I got to SGV this was two teeny tiny little streams

Fresco

Quando mia Mamma ha arrivato da Firenze siamo andate a San Giovanni Valdarno e siamo andate una classe di fresco con la scuola.  Mia Mamma ha fatto una fresca bella, certo, lei era modesta ma e’ veramente brava con l’arte. Brava Mamma!

After my Mom arrived and we dropped off her things at the Bed and Breakfast we were off to our Fresco class at il Sillabo. It was a two part class, first we laid down the sand and mortar mixture and then a week later we applied another smoother mixture which we painted into.  Here are the results, Mom’s first:

dsc_06281

img_1370

img_1376

dsc_06301

img_1377

img_1374


Categories