AIPAD Photo Show
ALL THE ACTION AT AIPAD
The first thing you see when you walk through the doors of the Park Avenue Armory for the annual Association of International Photography Art Dealers photo show (AIPAD), Mar. 29-Apr. 1, 2012, is a cluster of bare, muscular male chests on the wall at the Yossi Milo Gallery booth. The intimate photographs of young American soldiers in Liberia and Afghanistan, taken by the late war correspondent Tim Hetherington three years before his death in 2011 while working in Libya, make for a forceful point of entry, but set a martial tone that does not carry through the rest of the fair.
Many of the 75 dealers kept their stock instead to the old attic favorites: Irving Penn fashion photographs, Slim Aarons society women, Weegee portraits of New York street life and Edward Steichen early 20th-century masterpieces.
Beautiful women have always been a selling point at art fairs (and every other commercial endeavor), and AIPAD this year has no shortage of Marilyns, Jackies and Betties. The most glamorous glimpses of the high life can be found at Staley-Wise Gallery -- a 1970 Slim Aarons shot of bathing beauties lounging poolside in Italy, a large-scale version of Ron Galella’s windblown Jackie Kennedy strutting in skintight jeans ($8,500), and a David LaChapelle fashion shoot with supermodel Alek Wek ($19,000).
Then there is the less common instance of the celebrity photographer, as seen at Culver City’s Kopeikin Gallery, which has a 2011 stage-view photomural of screaming fans by Moby. “He’s been photographing longer than he’s been making music,” said Paul Kopeikin. “At least that’s what he likes to say.”
Plenty of serious-minded photojournalism, often more traditional than Hetherington’s colorful studies of male soldiers, can be found as well. (For those who want more of Hetherington’s work, Yossi Milo is opening the first U.S. exhibition of his photographs, Apr. 12-May 19, 2012.)
Michael Shapiro Photographs of Westport, Conn., scored the newly discovered cache of the photos Robert Frank took while in the employ of the New York Times. Each of the black-and-white street-level photographs on view at AIPAD, designed to promote the newspaper as a sophisticated urban read, were taken between 1958 and 1964, and are accompanied by a newsprint column of wall text. One picture of a London taxicab is expected to fetch $175,000.
Journalism also weighed heavily at Santa Monica’s Peter Fetterman Gallery, with Elisabeth Sunday’s African field portraiture going for around $6,000, and a print of Steve McCurry’s famous picture of the Pakistani woman with radioactive green eyes priced at $8,500.
Technically, the fair has been accepting works of new media since 2009, but experimental art went almost entirely undetected. One exception was Korean artist Airan Kang’s series of LED-lit sculptural replicas of art books, featuring tomes on Andy Warhol, Gustav Klimt, Damien Hirst, et al., at Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery. Smaller-sized books go for $4,500, bigger ones for $5,000.
Photographers whose works have crossed over into the avant-garde gallery scene had works on hand -- Philip-Lorca diCorcia with a solo booth at David Zwirner, for instance -- but overall, pictures by photo-artists like Cindy Sherman and Richard Prince were in short supply.
That’s more than ok, though, because a few galleries let viewers take a peek at some new work by the genre’s rising stars. Weinstein Gallery from Minneapolis is showing Minnesota native Alec Soth, who was part of Sean Kelly Gallery’s recent signing streak. The grouping of five photographs taken from the desolate cliffs outside of Bogota epitomize the scenic nowhereness that has made Soth a critic favorite of late.
Another outsider to the New York scene (although already well-known enough to photography collectors) is Missouri resident Julie Blackmon, whose eerily staged tableaux of children at play are on view at Robert Mann Gallery, priced in the $4,200-$8,000 range.
AIPAD’s weekend activities include a series of panel discussions at Hunter College, including a talk with upcoming Guggenheim star Rineke Dijkstra, a discussion on photography collecting moderated by Steven Kasher, a “celebration” of Francesca Woodman and a special feature on Italian photography.