Tuesday, May 26, 2009

ACRIA-UNFRAMED 2009-6/3/09



ARTmostfierce will attend and you should as well. Great art at extremely affordable prices. Keep an eye on the Terence Koh print...  is a great investment and highly collectable artist.

Please read ACRIA's press release and contact Scott Drevnig for any questions.

Dear Friend of ACRIA:

As you may know, our once-a-year UNFRAMED event is coming up on next WEDNESDAY, June 3rd, at 15 Union Square West (at 15th Street), from 6 to 9pm. UNFRAMED is our famed artists event, also known as Artists Respond to AIDS, that began in 1993. This year’s event will be our largest ever, with a record THIRTY artists participating. As always we will give you the opportunity to purchase hard-to-acquire artists’ work for a fraction of the retail value – works this year will start at $100. Each of our extremely talented artists is donating a small group of works to ACRIA so that we may continue our lifesaving efforts on behalf of those with HIV/AIDS.

Ross Bleckner, Anna Sui, Margaret Russell & Guest Curators Jane Holzer and Stephen Heighton urge you to BUY ART, FIGHT AIDS & SUPPORT ACRIA. Enjoy fabulous cocktails, and the mind-blowingly inexpensive original signed works that ACRIA is famous for. This year we will be featuring a record thirty artists: Joseph Ayers * Iona Brown * Will Cotton * Crash (John Matos) * Andy Cross * Jon Elliott * Skylar Fein * Jon Flack * Sarah Hardesty * Todd Hebert * Evan Hecox * Terence Koh * Kelly Klein * Andrew Levitas * Robert Loughlin * Burton Machen * Adam McEwen * Christopher Milne * Santi Moix * Randy Polumbo * Jeff Perrott * Hunter Reynolds * Charlie Roberts * Kenny Scharf * Andrew Schoultz * Jim Shack * Alix Smith * Paul Villinski * Michael Waugh and Aaron Young.

We will also have a large silent auction featuring incredible works from some of the biggest names in the art world today! This evening is presented by Elle Decor and 15 Union Square West, with cocktails provided by Campari. Additional support is being provided by Chelsea Frames and artnet. Tickets are $20 at the DOOR ONLY, and the invitation is attached and below.

I hope you will be able to join us for this very special evening and thank you for your support.

All best wishes,


Scott Drevnig
Manager, Events & Art Marketing
AIDS Community Research Initiative of America
230 West 38th St. 17th Fl. NY, NY 10018
212-924-3934 x 101
212-924-3936 (fax)

Monday, May 25, 2009

An Interview with Brian Ulrich

Brian Ulrich
11x14" edition of 15, 40x50" edition of 5

Brian Ulrich is one of the most talented and prolific photographers in the current world of Contemporary Photography. Just a few weeks ago, Brian was also selected as  the recipient of a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship award

I sent Brian's these interview questions a few months ago before all this happened and they were part of The State of the ART Market interview Series. I gave more time to Brian because, I know how busy he always is. 

With a solo show opening this Thursday May 28, 2009 at the Julie Saul Gallery and with a selection of works from the photography series Thrift (2005 - 2008) and the currently in progress Dark Stores, Ghostboxes and Dead Malls, the timimg is just perfect due the thematic content of the photographs and our current economic climate.

If you are not familiar with Brian Ulrich's work , I suggest you start knowing  now. If you aspire to collect American Contemporary Photography, I suggest you start collecting Brian's work. Not only he is one of the best talents and educators out there now, he is one of the nicest people you will ever meet.

Lets see what Brian has to say!

Ruben Natal-San Miguel- As most of us know, you are a Photographer based out of Chicago Illinois, Can you tell us in your opinion how is the Current State Of the Art Market in the Mid-West Area?

Brian Ulrich
TARGET, 2008
11x14" edition of 15, 40x50" edition of 7

Brian Ulrich-The current state of the art market everywhere seems in flux! In general the mid west has always had to compete with the coasts. Most collectors like to make trips to NY, or LA, etc... to peruse through the many galleries. To some buying work in your hometown can be less of an 'event'. To the contrary though there are some fantastic artists making very strong work here and the community is very supportive of each other. As well there are some collectors who are super supportive of mid west artists and will always buy work, others could care less about where an artist lives and just look at the work regardless. So a barometer of this is difficult. Things are shifting and in some ways the artists here who are more likely to supplement their work by other means are already 'prepped' for a downturn.

RNSM.- Is this affecting in any way your photography assignments? Your Fine Art work?

Brian Ulrich
14x11" edition of 15

BU-For me, editorial and commission work is a challenging way of putting myself in new situations to problem solve my way out of. When the job seems like an interesting venture and I have the time I'll certainly take it. I wouldn't say I'm getting more or less. I have noticed prices for some jobs getting lower with editorial often giving me smaller budgets to work with. Not much of a problem with me as i'd rather drive than fly and stay with a friend than in a hotel.
As for my own work the economy is certainly giving me a lot more to photograph! Somehow I've managed to survive on my work enough to simply continue it. My definitions of success as an artist and person are not based on a pipe dream of monetary windfalls. It really only happens to so few artists. If I can continue and give back to my community (in the form of hiring other artists to assist me, teaching, workshops or otherwise), things couldn't be better.

Brian Ulrich
TOYS R US 1, 2009
11x14" edition of 15, 40x50" edition of 7

RNSM- Has your inspiration changed making you redefine your retail series or just created new ones? Please Explain

BU-I was pretty lucky to stumble across a subject that is continually changing and ever complex. The big box Retail series gave way to Thrift, Thrift led to Backrooms and as of late, the newest project Dark Stores, Ghostboxes and Dead Malls. Through all this I've become even more keenly aware of the history of the project and I'm often making references to older pictures, which changes or further informs them in new ways. It can sometimes appear like a bit too epic of a project from the outside but I'm confident in the end result.

Brian Ulrich
14x11" edition of 15, 50x40" edition of 7

RNSM- How about as an Educator?

BU-As a teacher, entirely. When the market turns all so many of the young people who came to school thinking there was a bevy of collectors and galleries awaiting them with open arms when they graduate are slowly coming to the realization that the practice of making art has to have a bigger and often more personal motivation. Like my work, my teaching is based on the premise of raising people's consciousness of how we live in the world and how we might empower ourselves. Understanding media, advertising and helping students to become more visually literate not only enforces those ideas but will give them better tools in their own artistic practice. Writings by John Berger and Marshall McLuhan become more relevant than ever.

RNSM- Do you think that the current economic climate has affected the students creativity in any way? How? Why?

BU-As above, if the motivations are not for some degree of art world success then the work can become more paramount. Why would anyone ever take up this practice? What impact can it have on the self, the community and outside art communities? These are all questions I'm hearing from students today and I can't tell you how invigorating that is. What if success as an artist is not based on an ad in Artforum but rather how it informs people in the community (however big or small one defines that community).

Brian Ulrich
LEVITZ, 2008
14x11" edition of 15, 50x40" edition of 7

RNSM- Is the economy and current topics such as change of government ever discussed in class as a way to motivate students creativity?

BU-Last fall during the election all my classes discussed topics about the election and the sense that for them, after coming into adulthood under the Bush administration, that there really could potentially be a paradigm shift in the culture.

Brian Ulrich
14x11" edition of 15, 50x40" edition of 7

RNSM- Some of us saw your photograph of a Circuit City gone out of business, Are you in the process of doing a photojournalist series based on disappearing businesses?

BU-I wouldn't call it photojournalistic but rather an art project that leans towards propaganda. The project Dark Stores, Ghostboxes and Dead Malls is an extension the Copia project and my earlier work. In some cases I'm photographing the same spaces I photographed in 2002 now closed and boarded up. With so much investment in a retail based economy it was bound to fall. When you set up an economic model that is only successful when there is exponential growth, you're setting up a real problematic situation. We are seeing the results of that now that many in the lower income citizens have been experiencing all along no matter what the GDP says.

RNSM- You had the eye on the consumerism aspect and the interaction and reaction of people towards retail and shopping...What got you started ? Why?

BU-The project began back in 2001 after 9/11. I wanted to see if people were in fact 'patriotic shopping' as the then president had instructed us to do. Once I really began to examine the environment of shopping culture it immediately stripped away much of the illusion of the places and revealed a society that seemingly acted outside of their own accord in response to advertising gimmicks. The idea and issue of a society so wrapped into a post-modern illusion seemed so huge and important that I had to try and make pictures of it. So the man holding the fishing pole isn't just overwhelmed with choice but he's acting exactly as the store, brand and culture prescribe.

RNSM- Were you by documenting such aspects of retail sort of forecasting its demise?

BU-My first book moquette for Copia was exhibited at my MFA show in 2004. It was set with faded out romanesque type and bright white pages. Even at that point after 3 years of working on Copia it was clear that this way of living was not based on sustainability. Other civilizations have fallen over less.

Brian Ulrich
11x14" edition of 15

RNSM-As you well know by now, I am great admirer of your work because its message and some sort of dark humor behind it...it is very sophisticated and highly intellectual ...do you think the average person gets it? Why?

BU-One of the reasons I'm interested in my work acting as a sort of propaganda is that it uses the language of photograph to communicate a concept. People understand this stuff whether it's through a giggle or through some sort of awakening. The work acts as a reflection in many ways of our own lives, there are obvious and subtle things there, just like our own lives. The pictures let us stare indefinitely which one has to do to get the idiosyncratic aspects but I also like that the work can act as simply as people shopping.

RNSM-In my opinion you are a pretty successful photographer, most ones usually move or already live in NYC...Why you remain in Chicago? (I know why...it a gorgeous city).
Your family is in NY State...Had you ever thought about moving back? Why?

BU- grew up in Long Island suburbs and spent a lot of time making trips to the city. Even in the 80's when NYC was really struggling, those trips were always filled with excitement and mystery. After my undergraduate education I did move back to New York. I felt (and still feel) for myself it can be difficult to make work. I'm one who enjoys having the freedom to investigate my ideas fully and while that's certainly possible there the cost and pace of living can makes more anxious than creative. Another part of this is I like to explore and there are so many other interesting areas in this country I want to know, NY can be so insular and even claustrophobic.
I've found Chicago a nice balance btwn. the NY and a slightly more relaxed atmosphere. It most of all allows me to be closer to my subject. An hour drive in any direction will lead me to various small industrial areas, suburbs or farmland, this is like having much more of the greater part of America smashed up on your doorstep. The community here does have many opportunities for young artists in terms of venues, in addition to a community of artists who are more likely to collaborate and be forthcoming with exchanges of ideas/opportunities. The incentive to do that is high as it only leads to more attention to the community and thusly increases the quality of work.

RNSM- Your work has such a strong Americana presence,imagery and message...How is your work conceived in another countries? Europe?

BU-Strangely, I haven't really had much attention from European audiences. I've often thought that would be the case but perhaps since the work presents an America that is quite similar to Europe it mirrors more of the degree to which our societies have been more homogenized globally. I have had encouraging reactions to much of the work through magazines and some shows. A large fashion magazine published a beautiful portfolio of the Thrift work last year. The French Le Monde magazine published a suite of photographs along with an interview with economist Jeffrey Madrick which was a poetic pairing. There have been some shows in Munich, England and the Netherlands but maybe Europe isn't yet ready. Which is fine in some respects, as the project is ongoing.

Brian Ulrich
11x14" edition of 15, 40x50" edition of 5

RNSM- Can you tell us what are you working on right now?

BU-I just received a Guggenheim Fellowship that will hopefully allow me to take some time off from teaching to really focus on some traveling and photographing. I plan to work further on the Dark Stores, Ghostboxes and Dead Malls chapter and then the idea is to revisit many of the earlier ideas of Copia all at once. Next year, I have plans to begin the process of editing almost 10 years of photographs in one book that would be a marker of the first decade of the 21st century visited through the veneer of consumerism.

Untitled, Thrift 2006 (0635)
by Brian Ulrich

RNSM-In your opinion what is your assessment for the future of the Art Market?

BU-Woah this is a big question. Again with a shift in economy comes some changes and people often have to ask hard questions. With much of the excesses of the 20th century brought into the 21st a dilemma; the production of objects outweighs the ability to consider them. The art market fell victim to this as much as any other. I have already noticed this change and perhaps we don't need as many objects or as many shows, magazines, artists, venues, etc. Over the last few years it was so sad to see so many clearly putting up the most weak mediocre work at artfairs simply because the audience was so huge and buying. 'Sale-able' reigned supreme which doesn't necessarily merit profound and lasting works.
I was quite encouraged to see my gallery Robert Koch in San Francisco do a group show called Dystopia in February which highlighted the fact that many of their artists were responding to social/political issues through their work. It was a show that a museum would have to jump through some serious hoops to do. I don't think they would have done that show a year ago.
If we simply change our qualification of what 'success' is then we're all fine. Success does not have to be sold out shows but could really be the luxury of being abel to participate, make work you love and communicate with a community who will consider the objects you create. I'd like to see more of that spirit held high in the art market. It's tough there is a lot at stake but loving the thing you buy should outweigh investment, in my opinion.

Brian Ulrich
CHANEL, 2008
14x11" edition of 15, 50x40" edition of 7

RNSM- How do you think ART community can pull together and brace tall this current turmoil?

 BU-As above, the community has to act like one. Artists like Cara Philips and Amy Elkins and the Humble Foundation are putting together grants for artists. They barely have money themselves but are working hard to support the community. This as an artistic gesture is huge and hopefully inspires others to think more this way. It's something I've had plans for, for some time as well. Again changing our definition of success from one where 'stars' are celebrated and more into one where being able to participate in the cultural dialogue is key (I know very socialist! ;)

RNSM-Thank you Brian...you are the best!

Opening Thursday, May 28 5:30 -7pm

Julie Saul Gallery
535 West 22 Street
6th Floor
New York, NY 10011
Phone: 212 627-2410
A review of the show here:

Vintage Violence Group Show 5/29/09

Friday 5/29/09 night in Brooklyn!
Curated By John Gauld
Group Show featuring 16 artists. Exhibit runs from May 29 through June 22.

Opening reception: Friday, May 29 6-9pm

Participating artists:
Elizabeth Albert
Danny Balgley
Joe Borelli
Matthew Fisher
John Gauld
Graham Guerra
Steve Hellerstein
Paul Jacobsen
Bettina Magi
Norm Paris
Shane Ruth
Scott Sjobakken
Jennifer Viola
Robin Williams
J.G. Zimmerman
Jennifer Zackin


ARTmostfierce AFFORDABLE PRINT Pick of the week

Rory Donaldson
14" × 11"
Edition of 100, plus 10 APs.
$100.00 each (unmounted)*

*You also arrange for your artwork to be archivally mounted and wall-ready. For an additional $200, you will receive the artist's preferred presentation of the C-print mounted between two layers of Plexiglas.

Artmostfierce had to see this one in person before making a move. Well ...this limited edition print by Rory Donaldson is quite a pleasant surprise,  very striking, interesting, elegant, from a great series, excellent printing quality and extremely affordable!

I got mine ...go and get yours while they last. Edition only of 100 for $100.00!

For those not familiar with Rory Donalson work, please read press release by Compound Editions:

Compound Editions Presents...

Compound Editions is very pleased to announce the release of our third multiple, SQVENICEWATER08, by New York-based Scottish artist Rory Donaldson. Blending the languages of painting and photography, Donaldson creates stunning C-print images through a digital process that stretches out the original photograph’s four corners. The central image of each piece is identifiable only upon close inspection (see detail of SQVENICEWATER08 below). What greets the viewer from a distance looks to be large blocks of solid color, referencing perhaps color-field painting. As art critic John Haber recently put it:

"[Donaldson's photographs] put color-field painting through its paces. Each divides neatly into four rectangles, in unnervingly close or contrasting colors. For a second, I mistook them for separate acrylic panels, but the effect is more striking once one engages them as photographs. Forget Ad Reinhardt, Clement Greenberg, and pure painting, they seem to boast, with just a bit of arrogance. This is what a new century's technology can do." ---John Haber, haberarts.com, May 27, 2008
Detail of center of image:


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Pop Rally @ MoMA- Sat 5/23/09

Image: assume vivid astro focus and Black Meteoric Star at Super #3, Maison des Arts de Créteil, Paris, 2008. Photo by Yves Malenfer

For some of us that are spending the weekend here in the city and other than bike riding, gardening (my yard is a disaster!), working on your tan or running around ( I already went to 4 art show openings), here is something fun to do at the Modern Museum of Art this Saturday night. Only $12.00 and free beer + a limited edition mask by Assume Vivid Astro Focus. All in a budget and @ the MoMA!

I am tempted!~You might see me there!

SATURDAY, MAY 23, 2009
8:30–11:00 P.M.

Join PopRally for the North American premiere of a special performance by Black Meteoric Star (Gavin Russom) and assume vivid astro focus. These artists will transform MoMA's cavernous Marron Atrium into a new audio-visual landscape, bringing you along on an ecstatic journey through the night.

Gavin Russom created Black Meteoric Star in 2006, channeling his love of dance music and culture into minimal, psychedelic arrangements influenced by early techno and house music. International multimedia collective assume vivid astro focus (avaf) will produce a vibrant visual setting for this music, engaging participants in a celebration of dance, sound, and light.

The Judith Rothschild Foundation Contemporary Drawings Collection, acquired by MoMA in 2005, is an extraordinary collection of over 2,500 contemporary works on paper, including pieces by Russom and avaf. The exhibition Compass in Hand, which will be open for viewing during this event, presents more than three hundred works from the gift.

Guests will receive a limited-edition mask designed by assume vivid astro focus to wear at the event. Please be advised: the performance will feature strobe lights, a smoke machine, and lasers.

Swingtops provided by Grolsch, plus a cash bar.

Tickets ($12 in advance, $15 at door) are available via Ticketweb, or at MoMA's lobby information and film desks.

You must be twenty-one or older to attend this event.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fleet Week in NYC

With Memorial Day Weekend coming up and Fleet Week happening in NYC right now, today I just happened to ride my bicycle near The Intrepid Museum and could not resist getting some snapshots of our young men and women in uniform. After all, they are the ones that fight for our freedom and security. Seeing them so jovial, so pristine and camera ready, plus to top it all, being such a beautiful day for me... it was a true gift!

I would like to salute them and wish you all a very happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

SOME LIKE IT HOT!!! Aperture Summer Benefit & ARTmostfierce (Another) AFFORDABLE PRINT Pick of the week

THOMAS ALLEN (b. 1963)
Beachcomber, 2009
Created exclusively for Aperture’s first Some Like It Hot Summer Party
Digital C-print
Image size: 8 x 10 in.
Paper size: 8 x 10 in.
Edition: 250 and 2 artist’s proofs
Signed and numbered by the artist
Presented in an archival paper folder

OK well ...this print was going to be ARTmostfierce AFFORDABLE PRINT Pick of the week for next week but , the image just
got released and I could not resist it!!!

Besides being a great bargain, if you come to the 
Aperture Summer Benefit,
you will be on the presence of who is who in the art business in NYC .

Music, drinks, cool people , a great raffle and to topple all a Limited Edition Print by Thomas Allen
specially done for the Aperture event ...yes folks keep this on mind with the first 250 tickets purchased.

So hurry up and even if you can't attend the event you will get a 
fabulous limited edition print for a great price.

I got mine ...get yours now. If you have a partner, boyfriend, 
girlfriend or friend
( no pets included) for only $200.00, you can buy the tickets for two, 
you get one print and then you can fight over later of who gets the
In my case, I got a ticket for $150.00 for individual
... I am not sharing my print with anybody!



May 22 - June 27, 2009
Opening reception: Friday, May 22, 6-8pm

Nikki S. Lee
The Ohio Project (6), 1999
30 x 40 inches
76.2 x 101.6 cm
Edition 1/3
NL 9179

Nikki S. Lee
The Exotic Dancers Project (31), 2000
30 x 40 inches
76.2 x 101.6 cm
Edition 1/3

Ariana Page Russell
"Morning Glory"
Archival inkjet print
26" x 18"

ARTmostfierce is not missing this one!
This group show pushes, explores, raises new questions and boundaries about what Photography is today and that is why, I find it highly collectable and worth learning about. 
 Just with the work of  artists like  Nikki Lee & Ariana Page Russell alone there is plenty to go around. Congratulations to Lisa Schroeder & Sara Jo Romero  for such effort, see their press release below and see you Friday 5/22/09 at the opening!

Schroeder Romero is pleased to announce Deviate, a group exhibition featuring works by artists who are altering materials and repurposing objects that prompts viewers to investigate the act of looking and perceiving. The artists in Deviate tend to focus on the conceptual and physical properties of ordinary materials, in some cases even their own bodies, exploiting or manipulating them to achieve a certain vision.

Ivin Ballen composes maquettes of commonplace items and then casts fiberglass and aqua resin sculptures of their negative space. He then paints with acrylic and watercolor with trompe l'oeil effects that reference the original found objects.

Sebastiaan Bremer blankets his photographs with ink dots that create a screen effect over the image beneath which compels the viewer to look at, and through, the hand-drawn surface to see the complete image. Neither the dots nor the photographic images ever fully describe, demonstrating Bremer’s central philosophical observation that all apprehension is necessarily subjective and incomplete.

With the precision of a surgeon, Brian Dettmer uses tweezers, scalpels and other medical instruments to alter books by carving out and exposing selected images and text to create intricate three-dimensional works that reveal alternative interpretations of the books.

Jim Dingilian uses candle smoke to create drawings inside glass bottles that depict suburban fringe areas such as the edges of parking lots, the backs of shopping centers, and patches of woods between housing developments. The ubiquity of these locales and their ambiguity -- simultaneously everywhere and nowhere -- make them areas of great potential and they take on new meaning through the viewer's eyes.

Richard Klein's sculptures convert transparent media, such as eyeglass and sunglass lenses, bottles, and liquid into prismatic passageways refracting ambient light, casting it out in shimmering patterns on the surrounding architecture. His work transforms light into something intangible and invests his sculptures with a less-objective, abstract component.

In her Projects series, Nikki S. Lee infiltrated particular subcultures and ethnic groups and after spending several weeks participating in the group's routine activities, she photographed herself with these groups. Lee's projects propose questions regarding identity and social behavior. Lee believes that "essentially life itself is a performance. When we change our clothes to alter our appearance, the real act is the transformation of our way of expression - the outward expression of our psyche."

Using her skin as her canvas, Ariana Page Russell creates a series of "tattoos" to adorn her own body. The source of these "tattoos" is unique; the artist has a skin condition called dermatographia in which painless scratching on her skin’s surface creates red welts that remain for about 30 minutes. Russell photographs herself before the welts disappear. Rather than hiding behind her condition, Russell is empowered by it. She puts herself in front of the camera playing with ideas of fashion and concepts of beauty, what she terms “the bloom of adornment.”

At first glance, many of Devorah Sperber's installations appear to be abstract fields composed of spools of thread. However, upon a closer look through a clear acrylic viewing sphere, the thread spool "pixels" develop into recognizable images. While many contemporary artists use digital technology to add complexity to their work, Sperber aims to humble technology through the use of mundane materials such as spools of thread and chenille stems, (pipe cleaners), which are then assembled with low-tech, labor-intensive processes creating works that challenge the way we interact with the world.

In his Best of... series Richard Thatcher plays with the position of Artforum Magazine as an appealing container of slick advertisements and pronouncements of the very best of the year's art production. The magazine is screwed down and sealed away in a handsome industrial package rendering the magazine unreadable.

Sebastiaan Bremer
Jump Into the Fire, 2008.
Inks on C-Print,15.75 x 23.5 inches

Jim Dingilian
Deep Down, 2008
Smoke inside empty glass bottle
10 ½ x 2 ½ x 2 ½ inches

637 West 27th Street New York, NY 10001
tel: 212 630-0722 www.schroederromero.com
tuesday-saturday 11-6

Monday, May 18, 2009

ARTmostfierce AFFORDABLE PRINT Pick of the week

Gurnee, IL
2005; from the series Copia; archival pigment print, 11 x 14." Edition of 20.
Collector Level Membership: $350

This week  Artmostfierce Affordable Print of the week goes to a limited edition print released by SF Cameraworks by extraordinaire photographer, friend and new Guggenheim Fellowship recipient, Brian Ulrich.

From his famous Copia series this print tilted Gurnee, Il. is only a  limited edition of 20  and come on folks only $350.00 USD. This one is a must buy and have...I already got mine so...go and get yours. Remember only 20 available and I know some friends who already made a move on it! 

Stay tuned for an interview with Brian Ulrich coinciding with his next solo show at Julie Saul Gallery opening May 28, 2009.


Sunday, May 17, 2009


Shocking? You should see the rest of this show!

The Zombies series of Bruce Labruce

Photo- work by Slava Mogutin

Photos- The work of Karol Radziszweski

More Highlights from the NY Photo Festival .

 This show included work of both known and non-professional photographers, that explored the relationship between photography and SOME specific  sector of  the  Gay culture in the 20th century. Some highlights were Stefan Ruiz’s portrait work  San Francisco Berlin  and an installation by Christopher Clary of photos off of gay social networking sites. 

Curated by Chris Boot, Gay Men Play is an exhibition that makes quite a statement. Art is supposed sometimes to shock, provoke, react, scare and maybe offend but, that is why Art is considered art and liked by some and disliked by others .

Nowadays there is a lot freedom in society and the Internet has generated new outlets for people of all walks of life including gay men to branch out their network and live out their most intimate fantasies in front of a computer.

At a time of which another sector of the Gay Community is trying to tear down another barrier, this time GAY Marriage , here comes this show with a strong and in your face message far...way too away from family values. Was it my favorite show at the NY Photo Festival? ...No. Does it have documentary value,purpose and there is talent in it? Absolutely YES!

Does it worry me as gay man being perceived as part of this lifestyle that most gay men feel like they need to endure to be part of a community ( these days we are bordering mainstream lets face it, gays nowadays  we can live almost everywhere...no?) ? Hell Yeah!

Does it bother me that after so many years of donating money and volunteering tirelessly for AIDS organizations, some of those on line, are  friends of mine (still alive thanks to all my efforts) being  the firsts Pariahs behind a computer still looking for quick sex, drugs and I hope not infecting others? Hell Yeah!

All these questions and more came to mind while observing this show. The Gay Men Play show works in so many levels mostly because it highlights one of the biggest issues that prevails and stereotypes gay men in society... some GAY MEN STILL PLAY and hope it is SAFE!

The portraiture work of Stefan Ruiz is honest and it has a degree of sophistication to some extent. To me, it has documentary value and it demonstrates that we live in a free society in which people are able to express themselves with its appearance and live out its fantasies to its fullest.