André Kertész: The Nebulous Visions of a Solitary Man

Melancholic Tulip, 1939

Satiric Dancer, 1926

Place de la Concorde, Paris, 1928

Distortion No. 41 (With Self-Portrait), 1933

André Kertész: The Nebulous Visions of a Solitary Man

Twenty-five years after his death, André Kertész (1894–1985) is today a world-famous photographer who produced images that will be familiar to everyone. However, he has yet to receive full recognition for his personal contribution to the language of photography in the 20th century. His career spanning more than seventy years was chaotic, and his longevity was matched by an unwavering creative acuity that made an immediate or retrospective understanding of his work difficult.

For the first time, an exhibition at Jeu de Paume in Paris has assembled a sizable collection of prints and original documents covering the different periods of Kertész’s life and artistic career. It brings together a large number of prints and original documents that highlight the exceptional creative acuity of this photographer, from his beginnings in Hungary, his homeland, to Paris, where between 1925 and 1936 he was one of the leading figures in avant-garde photography, to New York, where he lived for nearly fifty years without encountering the success that he expected and so rightly deserved.

It pays tribute to a photographer whom Cartier-Bresson regarded as one of his masters, and reveals, despite an apparent diversity of periods, situations, themes and styles, the coherence of Kertész’s approach. The exhibition reveals how Kertész developed a genuine poetics of photography, what he called “a real photographic language.” The display highlights the autonomy of each photograph, while at the same time indicating the presence of series or recurring themes (for example, the distortions, the buildings of New York, the chimneys, and solitude).

Kertész remained true to his intuitive, allusive personal style, and used his work to give voice to the sadness that undoubtedly permeated his entire life in New York, rendered most explicitly in The Lost Cloud (1937). Right up until the end of his life, he sought images of solitude, and on January 1, 1972, during a trip to Martinique, he caught the fleeting, pensive profile of a man behind a pane of frosted glass: this nebulous vision of a solitary man before the immensity of the sea was the last image in his retrospective collection, Sixty Years of Photography, 1912–1972.

André Kertész at Jeu de Paume, Paris

Slide Show: André Kertész/The Nebulous Visions of a Solitary Man

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A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement

A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement

One of the most visible advocates of nonviolence and direct action as methods of social change, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born in Atlanta on January 15, 1929.  As the grandson of the Rev. A.D. Williams, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist church and a founder of Atlanta’s NAACP chapter, and the son of Martin Luther King, Sr., who succeeded Williams as Ebenezer’s pastor, King’s roots were in the African-American Baptist church.  After attending Morehouse College in Atlanta, King went on to study at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania and Boston University, where he deepened his understanding of theological scholarship and explored Mahatma Gandhi’s nonviolent strategy for social change.

King married Coretta Scott in 1953, and the following year he accepted the pastorate at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama.  King received his Ph.D. in systematic theology from Boston University in 1955.  On December 5, 1955, after civil rights activist Rosa Parks refused to comply with Montgomery’s segregation policy on buses, black residents launched a bus boycott and elected King president of the newly-formed Montgomery Improvement Association.  The boycott continued throughout 1956 and King gained national prominence for his role in the campaign.  In December 1956 the United States Supreme Court declared Alabama’s segregation laws unconstitutional, and Montgomery’s buses were desegregated.

Seeking to build upon the success in Montgomery, Dr. King and other southern black ministers founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in 1957.  In 1959, King toured India in order to further develop his understanding of Gandhian nonviolent strategies.  In the spring of 1963, King and the SCLC led mass demonstrations in Birmingham, Alabama, where local white police officials were known for their violent opposition to integration.  Clashes between unarmed black demonstrators and police armed with dogs and fire hoses generated newspaper headlines throughout the world.  President Kennedy responded to the Birmingham protests by submitting broad civil rights legislation to Congress, which led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  Subsequent mass demonstrations culminated in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963, in which more than 250,000 protesters gathered in Washington, D. C.  It was on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial that King delivered his famous I Have a Dream speech.

King’s renown continued to grow and he was the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.  The Presidential Medal of Freedom was awarded to Dr. King by President Jimmy Carter in 1964.  In late 1967, King initiated the Poor People’s Campaign, which was designed to confront economic problems that had not been addressed by earlier civil rights reforms.  The following year, while supporting striking sanitation workers in Memphis, he delivered his final address, I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.  The following day, April 4, 1968, Dr. King was assassinated.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: I Have a Dream

A Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King and His Time

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Patti Smith’s Objects of Life: Melancholy Meditations

Patti Smith’s Objects of Life: Melancholy Meditations

In 2008, Patti Smith was the subject of Patti Smith: Land 250 at the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporaine, Paris.  This short film was Patti Smith’s introduction to her rich multi-layered installation at Fondation Cartier in Paris, which reflected 40 years of her more personal visual art-making and creative expression.  Her most recent photographic exhibition, Objects of Life, opened in New York City in January, 2010.  Inspired by the process of discovery during 11 years of filming, this installation features a selection of photographs, video, and a rare unseen painting by Smith, as well as some of her  personal belongings.

The short film from Patti Smith’s 2008 appearance at the Fondation Cartier, photographs from that installation, photographs from her new exhibition, Objects of Life, and an extensive slide show that includes photographs from both exhibitions are presented below.

Patti’s Smith Polaroids: Melancholy Meditations

Slide Show: Patti Smith’s Objects of Life/Melancholy Meditations

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That Sticky Candy: Subverting Conventional Stereotypes of Gay Identity

Shadow Play

O Pioneers

Nature versus Industry

That Sticky Candy: Subverting Conventional Stereotypes of Gay Identity

Figurative Art by:  Scott Hunt, NYC

That Sticky Candy is a series of figurative art pieces by Scott Hunt, an artist whose work has been exhibited internationally and whose art is part of the permanent collection of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem.  These charcoal and pastel drawings take their inspiration from 1940s and 50s photography; they present and subvert conventional perceptions of gay identity.  Hunt tackles the theme of homosexuality without the demure or closeted strategies often associated with gay subject matter in art.  In doing so, one discovers that his direct approach to homosexuality and gay male sexuality in visual art is, in a way, surreal as well.

For Hunt, the title of this series refers to a metaphor that speaks about how something that one might crave and be pleasured by can become messy and constricting.  In particular, gay men have been yoked to the  idea that they are hypersexual beings, and in this work Hunt attempts to point out how limiting that is, that a gay identity is infinitely more complex and broad than that.

A Slide Show: That Sticky Candy/Subverting Conventional Stereotypes of Gay Identity

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Vintage Photographs: Around the Capital

Vintage Photographs: Around the Capital

Vintage Photographs: Around the Capital

Washington: An Animation Video

Animation by: Jeff Scher

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My Faves for Sunday, December 09, 2007

“Photo of the Day: Alluring Sexy Fox.” This is an extremely engaging, sexy photograph. It is presented in high-resolution, and accompanied by a very attractive photo-gallery.

[tags: Photo of the Day, Sexy Alluring Fox, photograph, sexy, gay, stud, sexy stud]

“Photos of the Day: Vintage Christmas “Found Photos.” This is a set of vintage Christmas “found photos.” They range from the humorous, to the downright strange. My personal favorite is “The Most Unfortunate Midnight Mass Ever.”

For a good chuckle, take a look at these. Best wishes and Happy Holidays to all!!

[tags: Photos of the Day, vintage Christmas photos, photographs, Christmas, Xmas, Santa Claus, Santa, hoiidays]

See the rest of my Faves at Faves

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