Monday, June 30, 2008

Yard Sale @ Sara Tecchia Roma Gallery!

Esma Paçal Turam
Enlightenment, 2008
Brass and hot glue
39.4 x 67 inches/100 x 170 cm
$19,000 USD

ARTmostfierce recommends stopping by to check out the fabulous Yard Sale that our dear Redhair Gallerista  Sara Tecchia- Roma  is having as a Summer Show starting tomorrow July 1, 2008

Before you hit the beach or barbeque (who cooks in Manhattan?...I do!) drop by and see what can be adorning your walls.

 Need a Chandelier? Not a problem, she's got one from artist Esma Pacal Turam and a pretty fierce one indeed. So fierce that in August 2008, French Vogue is going to be featuring Esma Pacal Turam as one of the three artists from Istanbul to be on the look out for!

Please see press release below.





June 26 - August 1, 2008

Tuesday, July 1: 6-8pm


Come out of the heat and cool off your senses and we're not talking about air conditioning - we're going green anyway.

Sara Tecchia Roma New York is opening our pool shed to bring you hot new works by both gallery and invited artists. Some of the artists you'll recognize but others may surprise you.

There's not a more perfect time for a Yard Sale, the great American pastime, than the month of July, where we clean out our closets to make room for something new. We know you'll find something you didn't know you needed here.

Summer is a time to bask in the visual - the color of the sky, the texture of the sand, the dripping pink juice of the watermelon slice, the grey smoke of the grill - and there is no better embodiment of the visual than art. So come and get it, we're waiting for you with a tall glass of cold Lemonade. Forget your worries, get out of the bustle and grind, and come to Sara Tecchia Roma New York for something new - you have all summer to hit the beach.

Yard Sale will heat up with works by Antistrot, Corey Arnold, Robert Brinker, Muriel Castanis, Benjamin Fink, David Fried, Ludovica Gioscia, Naomi Harris, Matthias Koester, Elena Monzo, Christa Parravani, Roger Ricco, Duston Spear, Esma Pacal Turam, Karina Wisniewska

Don't miss it...lemonade included!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Takashi Homma Aperture Book Signing!

Photos by Takashi Homma, from Takashi Homma: Tokyo (May 2008, Aperture)
1.Boy 2 Tokio Odaiba 1998
2.Fireworks, Urayasu,Marina East 1995.
3. My dog Royce 1 2005

Exhibition & Book Signing

To celebrate the release of his acclaimed new publication Takashi Homma: Tokyo (Aperture, May 2008), photographer Takashi Homma will be signing copies at Books Kinokuniya in New York City. An exhibition of selected prints from Takashi Homma: Tokyo will also be on display beginning Tuesday, July 1 until Friday, July 18.

A key figure of Japanese contemporary photography, Homma’s sleek vision of Tokyo and its suburbs navigates a finely nuanced line between cool objectivity and sentimentality. In line with Eugene Atget in Paris, Berenice Abbott in New York and more recently Ed Ruscha in Los Angeles and Daido Moriyama in Japan, Homma sharply records the evolution of Tokyo which has switched from a traditional culture to a postmodern megalopolis populated by a new generation of video game aficionados and enervated fashionistas. This first major international publication gathers images from his six previous titles published in his native Japan, including Tokyo Suburbia, his seminal work now considered a contemporary classic.

Takashi Homma (born in Tokyo, 1962) studied photography at Nihon University College of Art but left in 1984 to take a job as an in-house photographer at a Tokyo advertising agency. In 1991, he moved to London to work as a photographer for i-D magazine. In 1999, he was awarded a Kimura Ihei Commemorative Photography Award for the project Tokyo Suburbia (1998). Homma currently lives in Tokyo.

Photo by Takashi Homma
My Dog Royce 2005
Currently on sale at Aperture Foundation.
Listed Price $700.00
Sale  Price $595.00

First 10: $650, Nos. 11-20: $700, Nos. 21-30: $800

Paper: 9 1/2" X 12 1/16"

Image: 9 1/2" X 11 5/8"


Edition of 30 and
5 artist's proofs
For more information, please contact Kellie McLaughlin Manager of Limited Editions Prints at


Book Signing
Wednesday, July 2
6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m.

Exhibition on view
Tuesday, July 1 - Friday, July 18

Books Kinokuniya
1073 Avenue of the Americas
New York, New York
(212) 869-1700

FREE...means see you there!

Media contact: Yseult Chehata, Aperture Foundation 212-946-7108;

Friday, June 27, 2008

History Keeps Me Awake At Night @ P.P.O.W.

Artmostfierce recommends checking out this show !
Reception- July 10, 2008!
See you there!
This show is probably one of the best Summer 2008 curated group shows!
And our dear Photographer, Blogger and Sista Zoe Strauss is part of the show!
Go Zoe!
Please read below gallery press release.

David Wojnarowicz in collaboration with Tom Warren
Portrait/Self Portrait of David Wojnarowicz , 1983-85, mixed media, 60 x 40

ZOE STRAUSS With Love, 2008 13 x 19 inchesacrylival inkjet print

Carrie Mae Weems Untitled from The Hampton Project , 2000inkjet print on canvasedition of 5 61 x 69 inches

Please read P.P.O.W. gallery press release for this show below:

David Wojnarowicz’s intention is explicitly ideological: his aim is to affect the world at large; he attempts to create imaginary weapons to resist established powers.” - Felix Guattari, 1989

This show presents the work of a select group of contemporary artists that have been the beneficiaries of David Wojnarowicz’s art, writings, and voice. Although it has been sixteen years since his death in 1992, the potency of David’s work and message still reverberates and affects those who come into contact with it. None of these artists knew David Wojnarowicz personally but they all have work that is directly connected to him. The work of these artists is uniquely theirs, but all of them are bound by the influence David has had on them, each in their own specific way. This is not a memorial, this is not a re-iteration or duplication, this is an exhibition that brings artists from different countries, backgrounds and aesthetics to a single space to show how the work and life of David Wojnarowicz continues to inform artists today.

“My paintings are my own written versions of history, which I don’t look at as being linear. I don’t obey the time elements of history or space and distance or whatever; I fuse them all together. For me, it gives me strength to make things, it gives me strength to offer proof of my existence in this form. I think anybody who is impoverished in any way, whether psychically or physically, tends to want to build rather than destroy.”
- David Wojnarowicz 1989 in an interview with Barry Blinderman

David Wojnarowicz was born in 1954 in New Jersey and died of AIDS in 1992. He was a leading artist in New York’s Lower East Side art movement during the 1980s and was a vocal activist against homophobia and AIDS discrimination. After his diagnosis in 1988 David became more involved in activism, especially with ACT UP. He brought his fight for freedom of expression all the way to the Supreme Court in Wojnarowicz v. American Family Association in which Donald E. Wildmon misused David’s work in an attempt to show that it was pornographic and against family values. David won this case and was awarded a symbolic $1.00. David was a multi-disciplinary artist who used photography, painting, collage, sculpture and film to visually present social and political issues. Many of these issues overlapped with his writings, which were numerous. Titles of his writings include, Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration; Memories That Smell Like Gasoline and The Waterfront Journals. From the beginning his art making was deeply collaborative with fellow artists; whether it be at the piers, in galleries, or in films and music, these collaborations were constant and essential in developing his artistic skill, vocabulary and impact.
Don't miss this one!

Happy Gay Pride NYC!!!!!

ARTmostfierce wishes everybody a Great Happy Gay Pride Weekend Celebration!

The Glamorous Candi's Cayne is going to be one of the Grand Marshall's of the parade!

We love her since way back from the club and party days!

Friday night catch her in The Pines. Sunday she belongs to NYC!

Party up everybody and keep it safe!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Christie's is at it again!

ARTmostfierce is still pretty busy but, still keeping up with the art news.

Christie's is the hot topic this week !
Here is an article by Carol Vogel of The New York Times highlighting Christie's latest record breaking artwork auction .

Enjoy and don't forget to use sunscreen!
Andy Rain/European Pressphoto Agency
“Le Bassin aux Nymphéas,” the record-breaking Monet.

Published: June 25, 2008

LONDON — The summer auction season here began at Christie’s on Tuesday night when a standing-room-only crowd of dealers, collectors and art lovers came from all over the world to watch and bid on one of the largest London sales the auction house has held. Early in the evening a record price for a Monet, $80.4 million, was set for one of the rarest of his waterlilies.

A sea of hands shot in the air when that painting, “Le Bassin aux Nymphéas,” which had been expected to sell for $36 million to $47 million, came up on the block. Among at least six would-be buyers, a blond woman in the front row bid tenaciously against several Christie’s representatives on the telephone with clients. When the price hit nearly $70 million, Christopher Burge, Christie’s honorary chairman in the United States and one of the evening’s two auctioneers, leaned over and said to the woman, “Take as long as you like.” The woman, identified as Tania Buckrell Pos of Arts & Management International, a London company, ended up winning the painting on behalf of an unknown client, and the salesroom burst into applause. The previous record for a Monet, $41.4 million for “The Railroad Bridge at Argenteuil,” was set last month at Sotheby’s in New York.

“Le Bassin aux Nymphéas,” from 1919, a large horizontal work measuring more than 3 feet by 6 feet, is from a series of four that Monet signed and dated and that experts consider to be among the most important paintings from his late period. Unlike most of his late works, which remained unfinished at the time of his death in 1926, this series was sold by him. One is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; another was cut in two; and a third is in a private collection, having been sold at Christie’s in New York in 1992 for $12.1 million, a stellar price at the time.

The Monet up for auction Tuesday belonged to J. Irwin and Xenia S. Miller, collectors from Columbus, Ind. Mr. Miller, the chairman of the Cummins Engine Company who died in 2004, and Mrs. Miller, who died in February, helped transform Columbus into a showcase for modern architecture by supporting historic buildings and projects.

In addition to the Monet the Millers also owned a Cubist Picasso, another popular work in the auction. “La Carafe (Bouteille et Verre),” painted in the winter of 1911-12, went to a telephone bidder for $7.3 million, above its high $5.9 million estimate.

The Miller collection was the highlight of an otherwise bumpy auction. The evening sale totaled $284 million. Of the 81 works offered, 15 failed to sell. After the collection went on the block, the energy in the salesroom dissipated, with some of the lower-priced works selling below their estimates or not at all. (Final prices include the commission paid to Christie’s: 25 percent on the first $50,000, 20 percent of the next $50,001 to $1 million and 12 percent of the rest. Estimates do not reflect commissions.)

That the Miller collection was sold here rather than in New York is a sign that London is considered a crucial marketplace for the top end of the art market, as more rich Russian collectors put down roots here. (Timing also helped, Christie’s experts said. The Miller children had estate taxes to worry about.)

Playing to Russian collectors, Christie’s sale included a group of works by Russian artists. One, called “The Flowers,” from 1912, by Nathalia Goncharova, was estimated to bring $6.9 million to 8.9 million. It sold for $10.8 million, a price that set two records: for the artist at auction, and for a female artist at auction.

Another big seller on Tuesday was “Dancers at the Bar,” a Degas pastel being sold by an unidentified private collector. The work, from around 1880, is considered important not only for its composition — two young dancers, their white skirts and pink ballet slippers perfectly rendered — but also because of its provenance. It had been owned by Louisine Elder, the wife of H. O. Havemeyer, the American sugar magnate whose bequest forms the bulk of the Met’s Degas collection. The pastel remained in the Havemeyer family for three generations before being sold at Christie’s in New York in 1982 for $1 million.

That price, while seemingly high at the time, looked like a bargain compared with the bidding on Tuesday. Five bidders wanted the work, which ended up selling for $26.5 million, well above its estimate of $7.9 million to $12 million. The winner was Brett Gorvy, a co-head of Christie’s postwar and Impressionist art department, bidding on behalf of a client on the telephone. The speculation in the sales room was that the Christie’s representatives had on the telephone some of Russia’s newly rich collectors.

Several works that had belonged to Simon Sainsbury, the British philanthropist and grocery store magnate who died in 2006, were also for sale Tuesday. Among the best was an early pointillist painting by Signac, “Collioure, Les Balancelles,” a composition of sailboats in the water created in September and October 1887 while he was in the seaside Mediterranean town of Collioure. The painting sold for $5.8 million, higher than its expected estimate of $3.6 million to $4.9 million.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Christie's Invading The Gallery Scene!

Looks like the auction houses like Christie's are now invading the Art Gallery Business turf!

Not only they increased their premiums but, they want to compete with the galleries as well.
Will the other auction houses follow this new trend? Get meow mix ready!

ARTmostfierce is currently extremely busy with a personal project.
In the meantime enjoy this article from NY Magazine written by Alexandra Peers Published Jun 22, 2008

This fall, François Pinault, the owner of Christie’s auction house, is opening an art gallery in New York. Tradition in the art world holds that auction houses stick to the resale market, while galleries nurture artists until they become big enough names to trade at auction. But what happens when the auction house cuts out the middleman?

Last year, Pinault’s Christie’s International bought the London gallery Haunch of Venison, which represents Bill Viola, Richard Long, and Keith Tyson. It could be a savvy move for Christie’s if the market slows: Collectors traditionally turn to selling through dealers, not at auction, when prices weaken or when they need cash quietly.

The New York gallery, which opens September 12, will be located in a 17,000-square-foot duplex penthouse atop the same building as Christie’s headquarters in Rockefeller Center. (A Chelsea space could happen later.) Collectors have already toured the gallery, including, a source says, Roman Abramovich, the Russian billionaire who reportedly paid a record $86.3 million for a Francis Bacon.

Gallerists are up in arms. Art Dealers Association of America head Roland Augustine has said that the purchase of Haunch was to “get product for auctions” and wondered, to Artnet, if the deal would “raise some eyebrows” given America’s antitrust laws. Meanwhile, Haunch was frozen out of the Frieze and Art Basel art fairs.

Haunch honcho Robert Fitzpatrick chalks up the ban from art fairs to misunderstanding and, perhaps, jealousy. “With the acquisition by Christie’s, there were very substantial resources at the gallery’s disposition, and you could do things with and for artists that would not have been possible before,” he says. Besides, “It’s a separate operation,” says Christie’s deputy chairman Brett Gorvy, even if the top people at both report to Christie’s CEO Ed Dolman.

So far, Haunch’s efforts to appear independent have met with mixed success. Potential buyers who arrived at the Christie’s contemporary sale last month found a request in the auction materials that a Clyfford Still for sale be loaned to Haunch’s first New York show. Then, while Christie’s originally announced that Haunch employees could not bid at auction because of conflicts of interest or issues of market manipulation, its co-founder was spotted bidding on a Jeff Koons. Explains Fitzpatrick, “At Christie’s, we bid only and exclusively on behalf of clients, not for ourselves. We don’t share bidding information. There’s a Chinese wall.” But the dealers see it crumbling.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Affordable Art Fair NYC

Patricia Steur
Courtesy of Aan de Amstel

So many people at the pool
Duarte Amaral Netto
Courtesy of Atelier EA+ l Gallery

Untitled (New Home)
Carrie Yury
Courtesy of Sam Lee Gallery

Map- In case you are from out of town or totally clueless

Artmostfierce went to the Opening Preview of the Affordable Art Fair last evening.
Surprisingly , there is some pretty good talent , a lot of painting (about 65% of the inventory) , prints (10%) , photography (15%) and sculpture (5%)There is quite a good range of all and the pricing is very, very affordable !
The opening night was quite a scene and a bit disorganized (the line was endless) but, fun , full of energy and eager buyers. Most of the booths were quite busy so, I intent to go back and use my press pass (yeah one of those ) to do another round and let the credit cards do the walk and maybe the
I already liked one photo ( if you have a dream about it you want it!) but, I let you know after is in my possession...way too affordable and fabulous to mention and don't want the copycats to tail me. Anyway more details later.
They will be also panel discussions with some cool people in the Art business among them Jen Beckman, Kellie McLaughlin from Aperture Foundation, Photographer Amy Stein and fellow Art Blogger and writer Lisa Hunter.
Go see it if you are not sunning at the beach and stay cool!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Architecture of Authority by Richard Ross @ Aperture Foundation

Photo-Palacio de Lecumberri
(former prision) Mexico City. Photo by Richard Ross

ARTmostfierce highly recommends visiting The Aperture Foundation and taking a look at Richard Ross" Architecture of Authority" show currently on display at the Aperture Gallery from May 23-July 31, 2008.

The photographs on display are quite stunning despite the fact that some of the images deal with correctional facilities, prisoner's and death camps such as Guantanamo, Cuba or Abu Gharib, Iraq.

In contrast , Ross also offers us images of places that with a different context and purpose, might also have the similar intimidating effect like, for example, a photograph capturing the atmosphere of the Mary Boone Gallery in Chelsea NYC. There are also photographs of schools, auditoriums etc, etc that also have the same effect as well.

Ross captures the essence of Architecture and spaces designed mostly to educate, display, contain, reform , segregate , punish, congregate, isolate and even in some cases induce death.
Through the use of a rather innovative and voyeuristic manner, Ross introduce us to some of these type of spaces that I hope most of us will never have to visit or be contained in.

Overall, there is a sense of order, composition, symmetry, desolation, intimidation, isolation and power of authority that these photographs command that it is quite hard to ignore. People are missing from the photos and that makes you reflect about the space and the interaction of human beings in it. I rather let the imagination flow than being a witness or present at some of these places. Ross manages to provide an insight view of these spaces but in so doing it also brings out raw order and a rather sinister and haunting beauty.

There is also a book by Richard Ross titled, ''Architecture of Authority'' published by Aperture Foundation Photographs and Afterword by Richard Ross and an Essay by John R. MacArthur in coordination with this show that ARTmostfierce highly recommends. In contrast with the show in which the photographs sizes are quite large, the book is fairly small in size (only 9'' x 9'') but, when opened , the images are just as strong and powerful as the show itself.

Photo-Holding Cells, Guantanamo, Cuba By Richard Ross

Photo-Communication with Others Room Immigration and Customs Homeland Security, San Francisco by Richard Ross

Photo- Segregation Cells, Camp Remembrance, new Abu Gharib prision , Abu Gharib, Iraq by Richard Ross.

Don't miss this show or the opportunity of buying this book!

Olafur Elliasson NYC Waterfalls

ARTmostfierce can't wait for this event. It is going to be as big as The Gates. Also currently he has a solo show at the MoMA and PS 1 tilted Take your Time .

Please read NY Magazine article by Michael Joseph Gross. Get the whole scoop and don't miss it!

Olafur Eliasson has seduced Mike Bloomberg with a spectacle to rival The Gates.
Add a Comment
By Michael Joseph Gross Published Jun 8, 2008

(Photo: David Harry Stewart)

'Oh, wow!” roars Olafur Eliasson, getting slapped in the face with long, ropy splashes of water, as he clings to the railing of a tiny Grady-White fishing boat. Rain clouds hover over Manhattan’s southern tip, and as the boat pitches on four-foot swells, Eliasson makes his first visit from the water to four scaffolding structures rising at the Brooklyn Bridge and Pier 35 (near the Manhattan Bridge), between Piers 4 and 5 (near the Brooklyn Heights Promenade), and near the Governors Island ferry station. The scale of each structure melds so well with the surrounding buildings that, when the first one was completed, Eliasson didn’t even recognize his own work. Today, though, he looks at them and sees waterfalls: the largest installation of his career as an artist, and one of New York’s most surreal dalliances with large-scale public spectacle.

The New York City Waterfalls, whose spigots open at the end of the month and run until October, will remind many New Yorkers of the winter of 2005, when Christo and Jeanne-Claude decorated Central Park. Like The Gates, the waterfalls are a pet project of Michael Bloomberg, who is rumored to have personally paid much of the tab and whose office steered the project through a byzantine permit process. But Eliasson’s spectacle is much more complicated than The Gates, which consisted of thousands of saffron flags planted along 23 miles of paths. Robert Benazzi, the hydraulics designer working with Eliasson, created a system that will suck up the East River, lift it ten stories into the air, and drop it back down, thousands of gallons a minute. He says the only comparably complex job in his 40-year career was designing the sprinkler system for the Sears Tower.

Eliasson, a 41-year-old Danish-Icelandic artist who lives in Copenhagen, works in Berlin, and currently has a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art and P.S. 1, speaks four languages fluently but not flawlessly. For an artist whose work has required astonishing perseverance in the face of mind-numbing bureaucracy, he is a surprisingly gentle guy, with odd edges and catholic tastes. (He loves electronica and bluegrass, and brags he can play three versions of Kris Kristofferson’s “Me and Bobby McGee.”) Many of his best-known works explore architecture and the mechanics of perception, almost as if the fantastical imaginings of Buckminster Fuller were reinterpreted by a cognitive scientist. Eliasson’s work is most compelling, however, in its visceral embrace of beauty and wonder, prompting the kinds of basic questions that most of us stopped asking when we were 7 years old. “It’s so weird how the helicopters actually can take off,” he says as we hit the confluence of the Hudson and East Rivers, Wall Street choppers buzzing overhead. “It always puzzles me. It’s like an insect.”

The waterfalls, he hopes, will provoke New Yorkers to raise similar questions about something we habitually ignore. “You take the water around Manhattan for granted,” Eliasson says as our boat traces the landscape of the harbor. To help restore our sense of engagement with that landscape, he wants “to make water explicit.” It’s a phrase he often employs. “Falling water, it makes a sound, it engages a whole different range of senses. You see gravity. To make it explicit is to take it, hold it up, and let it fall.”

One day in 1999, while riding in a car in Manhattan, Eliasson looked across Eighth Avenue toward the Hudson and saw a sailboat drifting down the street. The boat (which, after a double-take, he realized was on the river, not the pavement) made an impression. It was one of those odd spectacles that occur in New York, if you are willing to look. It also got him thinking about Manhattan’s relationship to the rivers at its borders.

Around that time, he decided he wanted to turn a skyscraper into a lighthouse. He would erect a massive, circular searchlight whose beam would be seen throughout the city. “Of course we didn’t have the means to do it,” remembers Tanya Bonakdar, whose New York gallery has represented him since those days. “But we did know a very nice collector who had a very tall building, so we put a beacon on there, and if you knew what to look for you would see it.”

The year after the Crédit Lyonnais building temporarily became a makeshift lighthouse, Eliasson began discussions with Tom Eccles at the Public Art Fund, a nonprofit that for the last 30 years has used mostly private money to place works of art in public spaces across New York City. Eliasson had been experimenting with large-scale works involving water in other cities: He dyed rivers in Bremen, Germany; Los Angeles; and Tokyo bright green, and he created a small flood in Johannesburg. He had also started making small waterfall sculptures, such as his Reversed Waterfall, now on view at P.S. 1. Those interests converged in 2002, when Eliasson offered Eccles an idea for New York: Take some of the water surrounding Manhattan and raise it up as a waterfall, at the western end of 14th Street, where for a split second his sailboat had floated.

Please continue reading by clicking link below!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Holly Andres special edition print - $50 - proceeds benefit Amber Genrty

ARTmostfierce just made a great purchase!
It is for a great cause and in return you will have a great photo from a true emerging artist...Holly Andres!
Go and get yours now!
Not many left!

Signed and numbered benefit edition of "The Missing Bird" available for $50

Holly Andres and Quality Pictures have made available an 8 x 10" signed and numbered version of this print in a limited edition of 50 to benefit Amber Gentry.

Amber is the model in the print and has been diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare form of juvenile cancer. This particular image is the last in which Holly and Amber collaborated.

All proceeds from the sale of this print will go to help Amber treat and cope with her disease.

Further, $50 from the sale of a 20 x 24" print and $200 from the sale of a 40 x 50". print will also go to Amber's benefit.

Please contact Erik@ Quality Pictures at 503.227.5060 or email us at

ARTmostfierce recommends that if you are not going to the at the beach this weekend, put on a pair of cool shades or a straw hat and cross (you can swim if you want) the river over to Brooklyn for the Atlantic Avenue ART walk. Click on link below for more info.

Robert Mapplethorpe's Instant Precious Relics

ARTmostfierce always liked the edgy, beautiful and sometimes crude photographs of the great Photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. Please read article reviewed by Leslie Camhi of the Village Voice.

More to come later. I am going to see the show tonight. Have a great weekend!

Made in his early, druggy years, Mapplethorpe's Polaroids reveal an artist in curious transition
by Leslie Camhi
June 3rd, 2008 12:00 AM
St. Sebastian meets foreplay.Whitney Museum of American Art
Polaroids: MapplethorpeThe Whitney Museum of American Art945 Madison AvenueThrough September 7

"We Poets in our youth begin in gladness," William Wordsworth wrote ruefully in 1807, "But thereof come in the end despondency and madness." The poet's words came back to me while viewing this collection of some 100 mostly unknown Polaroids taken by Robert Mapplethorpe between 1970 and 1975. They are transitional works in more ways than one: made while the fledgling photographer (then in his twenties) was testing his eye, finding his subject matter, and not yet fully committed to either his sexual identity or his medium.
They represent a kind of "coming out," artistically speaking. The mature themes of this intensely neoclassical photographer's art are all there: still lives and self-portraiture, pictures of the demimonde and the mondaine—downtown personages, uptown celebrities, artists, socialites, and creatures of the night, who crawled before his camera from who knows where. And, of course, the great theater of eroticism, from the baroque accoutrements of gay sadomasochism—leather masks, nipple rings, penile harnesses, etc.—to tender embraces between men, to the naked mattress ticking that waits, in one photograph, like an empty page for the story of sex to be written upon it.
Still, taken as a whole, Mapplethorpe's Polaroids are very different from the works that made him, if not the most famous, then posthumously (since his death in 1989) the most notorious photographer of his generation—works that most often combined "hot" subject matter with coolly elegant and precise presentation. Who can forget his masterpiece, Man in Polyester Suit (1980), for example, with its image of a semi-tumescent member sprouting, like desire itself, from sartorial banality? (Carnality seems to have been, for him, a perpetual affront to quotidian reality.) This was a photographer who could mine the latent sexual content of an orchid or even an eggplant, who photographed AWOL sailors as if they were bits of classical statuary, whose portraits of small children are imbued with the same naturalness, mystery, and innate grace as the trussed-up sexual encounters that seem to have sprung from some dark night of the imagination.
The Polaroids, of which he took more than 1,500, are on the whole more casual and intimate—certainly not diaristic (since there's nothing confessional about Mapplethorpe's art), but closer to life, in that one senses the push and pull, the continuous dialogue, between the image and its subject. (That dialogue was fostered by the speed of a medium that provided an "instant replay" of reality.) Lacking the later work's sometimes airless perfection, they make up for it in rawness and immediacy.
In those early, druggy years, Mapplethorpe—a former Catholic schoolboy from Floral Park, Queens, who had joined the ROTC while studying advertising design, and later graphic arts, at the Pratt Institute—was making the bohemian scene at Max's Kansas City. He was shacking up (at first as lovers) with his muse and soulmate, Patti Smith, at the Chelsea Hotel and in a loft on 23rd Street, and delving into the underworld of gay s&m. Soon he'd fall in love with the patrician curator and pioneering collector Sam Wagstaff, who became his patron and romantic partner, and with whom he explored the still emerging field of fine-art photography.
He borrowed a friend's Polaroid camera to take pictures for the collages he was then making and to document his growing sexual education. A tripartite self-portrait from 1971, included at the Whitney, shows the then 25-year-old artist naked, his body divided vertically between three Polaroids, which he's coyly placed behind the mesh veil of a paper potato sack that's been dyed a deep, almost ecclesiastical violet. Is it an altar for the worship of youth, or is he for sale like just so many tubers?
In fact, the Polaroid's status as a unique print (much like the daguerreotype a century earlier) infuses it with the aura of a precious relic—this despite its cheesy pop-cultural connotations. (AIDS, which ravaged the photographer's world, killing both Wagstaff and, two years later, Mapplethorpe himself, magnifies for some of the images the sense that we're viewing the remnants of a vanished society.) The tension between the chilly refinement of Mapplethorpe's still-untutored eye and his medium's latent nostalgia can render even the tamest subject matter unexpectedly moving. A scraggly bunch of daylilies lying across a pillow seems a requiem; a shop window filled with a display of children's shoes evokes a lost paradise of tiny feet.
He photographed his friends and lovers: Randy's gaunt, blond head, served up on a platter like John the Baptist's; Nicholas's enticing armpit; the exquisite, contrapposto martyrdom of a masked and anonymous St. Sebastian, whose wrists are fastened together high above his head. The act of photographing was both a means of channeling and an incitement to desire, a kind of foreplay, with the Polaroid's instantaneity egging the various parties on, upping the erotic ante. "When Robert took pictures," recalls the model David Croland (quoted in Patricia Morrisroe's deeply researched Mapplethorpe biography), "it was like he owned the subject. He dominated them completely." (Croland shows up at the Whitney bound, gagged, and lying face-up on some bathroom's cold tile floor.)
Other friends, more lovingly depicted, nearly elude Mapplethorpe's grasp, like the craggily handsome Wagstaff, who even in cheesecake poses retains an essential mystery and dignity. Or the formidable Ms. Smith, an androgynous nymph who appears in countless guises, from wide-eyed ingénue to Bob Dylan look-alike to disheveled poet, up all night and hiding in her turtleneck. (His later Polaroid portraits of celebrities are rarely as personal and revealing.) And he photographed himself, reclining on wrinkled sheets and cradling a telephone receiver (à la Anna Magnani in Jean Cocteau's La Voix Humaine) as if it were an erotic instrument.
Do lovers today cradle their PDAs as tenderly? Something dies in us when old technologies are laid to rest, something about the specific relation to reality they allow us. When, last February, the Polaroid corporation announced that it would stop manufacturing instant film, countless individuals—from artists like Chuck Close, Lyle Ashton Harris, and Lucas Samaras to fashion stylists and buyers—began mourning. (Some of the mourners' stories are collected at Mapplethorpe wasn't one to look back, but, one senses, he might have joined them.

Tamir Sher...Keep an eye!

ARTmostfierce would like you to keep a close eye on Tamir Sher.
Originally from Israel , Tamir is already a contender for Jen Beckman's Hey, Hot Shot .

Please see his web site listed below and also enjoy some of Tamir's photos posted here.

The last photo posted here is the one Hey, Hot shot entry.

Tamir, best of luck to you and I known for a while that there is more coming!

Also, please read below Tamir explanation of his Hey, Hot Shot entry.

Tamir Sher, Velazquez on45s.

“… I realize that the digital era is very primitive. For me there is no hierarchy between daguerreotype and digital contemporary photograph,” writes Hey, Hot Shot entrant Tamir Sher.

Sher goes on to explain that, “The circle work is images from new work in progress called ‘Masters on 45.’ I took my old record player and decided to use it in my work before I threw it away. I put a reproduction of an old masters painting and my son’s superheroes on it and take pictures in a variable speeds. I like how the low-tech record player connects and mix between old and contemporary. Create new representation.”

At Art Basel, Old Names and Few Showstoppers

Please read about the latest during Basel Art in Switzerland. Good article written by Carol Vogel of the NY Times.

Published: June 5, 2008
BASEL, Switzerland
— Twenty-four hours before Art Basel’s invitation-only opening on Tuesday, scores of the art elite gathered, sheeplike, on a wooden ramp at a related event in a cavernous installation space. Word had spread that there was something exciting to see: a dusty old train car whose windows flashed black-and-white images of troubled moments from China’s past.

Art Basel The work they were waiting patiently in line to view was “Staring Into Amnesia,” an installation by Qiu Anxiong, a 36-year-old artist from Shanghai. A first-timer, he had traveled here to see what Art Basel, the legendary contemporary art fair, was all about.

“It’s a piece devoted to memory — not what we remember but what we forget,” said Mr. Qiu, who was clearly floored by the growing line of eager spectators.

“Staring Into Amnesia” was an instant hit for an audience hungry to make just such discoveries. But moments like these are scarce here this year. Although several satellite fairs dotting the city are devoted to emerging artists like Mr. Qiu, Art Basel 2008 primarily features examples of new works by the already-hot. Yet there are fewer showstoppers than usual, in part because such multimillion-dollar works are getting harder to find.

For Allan Schwartzman, a Manhattan art adviser, this was not altogether a bad thing. “Although there were fewer new names to discover and fewer blockbusters at the high end, there were still good things to see and the opportunity to buy them,” he said. “Last year felt like a feeding frenzy. Within an hour after the opening, everything I tried to buy had been sold. But this year the pace is not so crazy.”

Other dealers grumbled that soaring auction prices had led to a shortage of classic top-quality work. And some complained that fairs like Art Basel are outgrowing their usefulness, as collectors cultivate relationships with dealers and art advisers who reserve the best works for them.

“There used to be a sense of urgency,” said Susan Dunne, a vice president of the PaceWildenstein Gallery in New York. “But now there are just too many art fairs, making it difficult to keep the level of quality up fair after fair.”

Timing was difficult this year too. The fair, which ends on Sunday, was scheduled a week earlier than usual to minimize the overlap with the Euro 2008 soccer matches. (Several are scheduled here this month, including an opener on Saturday.) The convergence of soccer fans and art lovers has nonetheless overwhelmed the city, with hotel rooms scarcer than ever.

Yet some American collectors stayed away out of a reluctance to make two June trips to Europe. (The big spring London auctions take place at the end of the month.) The weak dollar was not helping either, some dealers said.

Art Basel is still a place to see and be seen however. The Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich was observed perusing the booths, as were museum directors like Glenn D. Lowry of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and Alfred Pacquement of the Pompidou Center in Paris. Among the artists spotted were Takashi Murakami, Ellsworth Kelly, Tony Oursler and Lawrence Weiner

A piece by Frederick Kiesler.

There was even some Hollywood glamour, with Brad Pitt and the director Sofia Coppola in attendance. Fair officials and dealers said there was considerable buying this year from Russia and the Middle East. While there were fewer American collectors than in years past, Agnes Gund, the former president of the Museum of Modern Art, was on hand along with the newsprint magnate Peter Brant and the hedge fund manager Daniel S. Loeb.

Photo: Christian Flierl for The New York Times

Other top sellers included two new photographic self-portraits by Cindy Sherman at Metro Pictures, the Chelsea gallery. Originally made for French Vogue, each went for $150,000. Janelle Reiring, a partner in Metro Pictures, said this was the first time that Ms. Sherman had turned to digital photography.