07 August 2014

Summer Art

"USA. New York City. Little Italy" Leonard Freed (1956)

While my busy schedule this summer caused me to miss some art exhibits (Kara Walker at the Domino Sugar Factory), I did manage to sneak in some gallery and museum visits. Here are some of the things I saw.

The late Magnum photographer Leonard Freed had a lifelong love affair with Italy and its people and an exhibit at the Leica Gallery New York showcases some of the many images he took over a period of 50 years in Milan, Naples, Rome, Sicily, and New York's Little Italy. His photos wonderfully depict everyday people going about their daily lives—working, playing, celebrating weddings and religious holidays—perfectly capturing the essence of a place and culture. At the Leica Gallery through August 9, 2014.

"Actress Sophia Loren in Italy" David "Chim" Seymour (1955)

Contact sheets give viewers insight into a photographer’s creative process and the recent “Magnum Contact Sheets” exhibit at the Milk Gallery was a photography fan’s dream with examples from some of Magnum's greatest photographers on display including Rene Burri’s iconic images of Che Guevara, David “Chim” Seymour’s shots of a sultry Sophia Loren, Eve Arnold’s behind the scenes images of the doomed cast of The Misfits, and one of Elliott Erwitt’s famed dog shoots. The exhibit is sadly over but if you have the money to spare, you can purchase the book, Magnum Contact Sheets.

"Real Gabinete Português de Leitura (Royal Portuguese Reading Room)" Caio Reisewitz (2004)

One of the current exhibits at the International Center of Photography is devoted to the work of Brazilian artist Caio Reisewitz who creates large-scale colour photographs of locations in his country that are stunningly beautiful. One of my favourites is of the interior of the Real Gabinete Português de Leitura; it's so big you feel like you could step right inside. Also included in the show are small photo collages where urban scenes are found within the wilds of the Brazilian forest. At the ICP through September 7, 2014.

"A Certain Slant of Light" by Spencer Finch on a Sunday afternoon. Photo by Michele.

“A Certain Slant of Light” by Spencer Finch is just simply beautiful. With 365 films of colour placed onto the glass walls of the Morgan Library and Museum’s Gilbert Court and with additional ones hanging on glass panels, the result is a daily change in light patterns. Inspired by the library’s collection of medieval Books of Hours, the films have been arranged strategically to correspond with the changing seasons and the red panels symbolize important birthdays of such people as Emily Dickinson. This is an exhibit I plan on seeing again on multiple visits. At the Morgan through January 11, 2015.

"Balloon Dog (Yellow)" Jeff Koons (1994-2000)

The large Jeff Koons Retrospective at the Whitney Museum is the museum’s last major exhibit before they move to their new space in the Meatpacking District next year. While I’ve never been a big Koons fan there is much here to like: his oversized balloon dogs and giant hanging heart are delightful and there’s his sculpture of Buster Keaton and of course Michael Jackson and his monkey, Bubbles, in full porcelain glory. But then there’s “Sponge Shelf,” which is literally a stack of kitchen sponges, and pieces from the “Made in Heaven” series featuring Koons and his then wife, the former Italian porn star La Cicciolina, that just leave me shaking my head. At the Whitney through October 19, 2014.

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