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William John Kennedy: WARHOL LOVE INDIANA/Max Kozloff: New York Over the Top/The Billboard Papers: Photographs by Joel Grey    Sep 12 - Oct 19, 2013

 
  
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Steven Kasher Gallery is honored to present William John Kennedy: WARHOL LOVE INDIANA. The exhibition features over 20 black & white and color photographs from 1963-64 of Andy Warhol and Robert Indiana by William John Kennedy. Also exhibited will be original early 60s work by Warhol and Indiana, including a 6-foot felt LOVE banner, one of the first versions of Indiana’s most iconic image. The show coincides with Robert Indiana’s first major retrospective, Robert Indiana: Beyond LOVE, at the Whitney Museum September, 26th through January 5th , and with the broadcast debut of a one-hour documentary about Kennedy’s photographs, Full Circle: Before They Were Famous. Kennedy’s images capture the two artists and their soon-to-be iconic works at the birth of their careers and the birth of the Pop Art movement. The young artists are portrayed as both playful and serious, and even prescient of their future fame. Kennedy produced one of the few images of Warhol and Indiana together. He captured Indiana in his studio with his first LOVE painting. Kennedy’s photographs of Warhol are unique in their portrayal of the artist interacting with his paintings in a year that he produced more masterpieces than any other year: Marilyn, Liz, Jackie, Most Wanted, Elvis, Race Riot, Early Self, and Flowers, to name a few. It was Warhol’s second year making films, the year of Blow Job, Empire, Eat (starring Indiana) and the first Screen Tests. Kennedy’s insight was to reveal Warhol and Indiana in performance with their signature artworks. In conjunction with Robert Indiana: Beyond LOVE, the Whitney and Yale University Press are publishing a fully-illustrated catalog featuring several photographs by Kennedy. The catalog includes texts by Barbara Haskell, and Robert Indiana, as well as the transcript of a discussion on Indiana’s art by Thomas Crow, and others.

The Andy Warhol Museum recently recognized the importance of Kennedy's historic work and produced a limited edition portfolio that will be featured at the gallery. The specially designed aluminum box includes five photographs, and represents collaborative works created in the early 60's by Kennedy and Warhol at the famed East 47th Street Factory. Eric Shiner, the museum’s director, says, “With this rare body of work, Kennedy has given us some of the most joyous and insightful images of Andy Warhol ever created."

In the 1960s Kennedy was a freelance editorial photographer in New York, with work published in LIFE, Sports Illustrated, and other magazines. He worked for many decades as an editorial, corporate and fine art photographer. In 2010, a full length documentary film, Full Circle: Before They Were Famous, chronicled Kennedy’s work with Warhol and Indiana. Kennedy’s images have been included in important publications including Andy Warhol Giant Book (Phaidon, 2007), Robert Indiana: New Perspectives (Hatje Cantz, 2012), and Love and Fame (Indiana State University, 2013).

Kennedy’s work is included in private and public collections worldwide, including The Andy Warhol Museum, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Detroit Institute of Arts, Polk Museum of Art, Boca Raton Museum of Art, Indiana State University, New York University, and the Whitney Museum.

William John Kennedy: WARHOL LOVE INDIANA will be on view September 12th through October 19th, 2013. Steven Kasher Gallery is located at 521 W. 23rd St., New York, NY 10011. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 AM to 6 PM.

Steven Kasher Gallery is thrilled to present Max Kozloff: New York Over the Top, a collection of 20 color prints drawn from over 35 years of Kozloff’s New York photography. This show launches Kozloff’s first photographic monograph, New York Over the Top, introduction by Marvin Heiferman (Contrasto, 2013), and coincides with the Art Institute of Chicago’s exhibition Max Kozloff: Critic and Photographer, running October 5th through January 5th. Max Kozloff is a street photographer, alert to the extravagance and sorrows of life in the Big Apple, which he visualizes with idiosyncratic color.

Kozloff photographs his fellow citizens with an urban eye. He does not see them as legendary creatures, but he often makes them out to be fabulous presences, glimpsed at carnivals and festivals. He is especially enchanted with that he has called “the music of faces”, a spectrum of moods at variance with the consumerism or ethnicity of circumstance. Statues, effigies, or teddy bears seem to offer internal witness to what he calls New York Over the Top. As Marvin Heiferman writes in the introduction to the book, “Repetitive forms appear and sweep across these pictures in waves: decorative patterns created by fences and barriers; the syncopated angles of the elbows and knees of those who walk by, crowd together, or stand in place; the stripes on a pair of pants. ‘Color for me,’ Kozloff has explained, ‘is a form of tenderness.’ And so, paradoxically, while high-key chromatics spark much of this work, it is an unexpected gentleness that clings to and distinguishes these sneaky complex photographs.”

Max Kozloff continues to be a prominent New York writer on photography after his tenure as Executive Editor of Artforum concluded in the 1970s. He has published three volumes of his collected essays on the medium, as well as New York: Capital of Photography and more recently, The Theatre of the Face: Portrait Photography Since 1900. Simultaneously, and with equal zeal, he has developed a career as a practitioner of color negative street photography. Opening in October, the Art Institute of Chicago is recognizing his achievement with a retrospective that acknowledges the scope of his imagery as well as the provocations of his writing.

Steven Kasher Gallery is honored to present Joel Grey: The Billboard Papers, 10 large-scale color photographs of torn and decaying billboards from the streets of New York by the award-winning actor and photographer Joel Grey. The show coincides with the release of The Billboard Papers (Pointed Leaf Press, 2013), Joel Grey’s fourth photographic monograph. The photographs resemble paper collages, revealing dramatic and unexpected layers of the billboards’ past. As Ross Bleckner writes in the preface: ”This is Grey’s signature theme: the ephemeral and overlooked evidence of urban development and decay. These photographs are tapestries of embedded memories, constantly fleeting and subject to change, or demolition, or renewal.”

Grey received critical acclaim for his mobile phone images with the release of his groundbreaking book, 1.3: Images from My Phone (powerHouse Books, 2009). His ability to create classically beautiful photographs with the most quotidian of cameras is showcased again in The Billboard Papers. Using an iPhone 5, Grey takes what was fragmented and discarded and turns it into a holistic set of formal and psychological relationships.

Bleckner writes: “Identities seem to vaporize into the geometry of the surrounding architecture. Verticals, horizontals, illustrations, portraiture, abstract painting, and advertising all circulate in and out of attention like moments playing out their usefulness as they fade into memory and become reincarnated. As beautiful and as nuanced as these images are, they never forget where they came from, the vernacular of the street. What once advertised desire has now become decoupage, the fragmented leftovers of urban life. In his everyday way of looking closely at life, Grey finds special moments that make the worn-out beautiful again, and that gives the discarded grace.”

In his genre-spanning career, Grey has spent more than 50 years keeping his eyes open and hungry, and his mind curious. Grey’s work has been the subject of solo shows in New York, Los Angeles, and Berlin. His photographs are part of the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art and the New York Public Library. The Billboard Papers, Grey’s fourth book collaboration with acclaimed designer Sam Shahid, features an introduction by Grey and a preface by American artist Ross Bleckner.

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