NEW YORK — The AIPAD Photography Show, long-known most as a yearly congregation for all the greatest hits in vintage photos, has in recent years been attracting more and more contemporary photo work, both from smaller galleries and on the walls of major dealers. While yesterday’s opening at the Park Avenue Armory revealed enough Kertesz, Callahan, Frank, and Weston to satisfy all connoisseurs of the Graflex years, some of the most interesting works were in fact the most recent, some even in their very first showings.
Lise Setter gallery is one of few to have risked a solo artist booth, with works from Damion Berger’s recent series of long-exposure and sequential abstractions of fireworks, printed from large-scale negative enlargement. “Solo booths are either brilliant or suicide,” explains Setter, who traveled to NYC from Scottsdale, Arizona. “We’re doing great, so we’re happy.” The artist was also on hand at the booth to discuss his work.
At Bonni Benrubi gallery, gallerist Rebecca Reeve noted that some of her best sales were from newly represented artists, including black-and-white abstractions from Lauren Semivan’s “The Storm,” which, the gallerist noted, “have been flying off the shelves.” Also on first view, and notable, are the colorful polyptychs of transformative urban sites by artist Stephane Couturier.
Another contemporary standout was Matthew Brandt’s new works at M+B. The young artist, who is known for incorporating material traces from his landscapes to modify the printing process, has a new series of photographic images of demolished buildings, developed with pigment mixed with dust taken from the sites.
Drawing a fairly steady stream of curious visitors were works from a nascent “World Trade Center Abstractions” series by Israeli photographer Shai Kremer, slightly dizzying panoramas made from multilayered composites of images taken overhead of the Ground Zero site over the past 10 years of construction. These striking new works are on view at both Robert Koch gallery and Julie Saul.
At her booth, New York’s Julie Saul pointed out that some of her younger artists at this year's AIPAD have also lately made their way into museum collections: including Karin Apollonia Muller, whose prints of California brush fires, here appearing in a large diptych form, have recently landed at SFMoMA; and Debbie Grossman’s inventive “Pie Town” series, a reimagining of frontier towns populated only by women, which have been permanently acquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “We’re also meeting some new people, new collectors, which is great,” Saul said, noting that she had just sold a triptych by Maria Martinez-Caras to a trustee from the Louisiana Museum. “It used to be that everybody who came to this fair was an established gallery or collector.”
Elsewhere, despite the cramped corridors, the walls were a pleasant juxtaposition of both the old and the relatively recent, with some wonderful rediscoveries such as David Wojnarowicz’s “Rimbaud in New York” prints at P.P.O.W., the light-and-shadow “Pulsar” experiments of young Japanese photographer Yuji Hemeda at Photo Gallery International, Ezra Stoller and Sze Tsung Leong at Yossi Milo, Paulette Tavormina’s painterly still-lifes at Robert Klein, and many of the aforementioned heavyweights of Serious Photography, Kertesz, Frank, Callahan, and Weston.
But one of the biggest surprises was tucked away in Munich’s Galerie 5.6: new works by award-winning landscape photographer Olaf Otto Becker, from a nascent long-term series on deforestation with the working title “Reading the Landscape.” The three prints on view were captured in Indonesia; gallerist Katrin Weber explained that they had only been shown once before. “This is more at the beginning of the project; you usually only see it when it’s been completed,” Weber said, adding that this is the gallery’s third year at AIPAD.