Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ephemera Available for Sale or Trade

I've just acquired a collection of art ephemera numbering in the tens of thousands of items--100 file boxes, each full. Amongst the items are posters, exhibition announcements, gallery invites, press releases, catalogues, art buttons, stickers, brochures, etc. They come in virtually every size and shape, representing most any artist you can think of. The designs range from pedestrian to incredibly inventive including pop-ups, metallic and day-glo inks, embossed paper, letterpress printing,  coins, origami folded pieces, spinning wheels, printed post-it notes, faux-leather, magnets, lenticular 3-D, die-cuts, and much more.

Over the next year or so, I'll be putting them up for sale on Amazon, Biblio, and Ebay. If you're interested in a specific item or artist, send me an email and I'll let you know what I have. Most, though not all, are from the New York City area, so if you have items from elsewhere in the country, I might be willing to trade for items from this collection.

Just give me a holler and we'll try to work something out.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

On the Town with Photographers

It seemed that in the 2000s, photographers became fashionable. One example of this was that they began to appear more frequently in the Sunday New York Times "Evening Hours" page--photos of "bold-faced-named-people" out on the town. The photos were shot by Bill Cunningham, the Times street-fashion photographer, and you'd assume that he'd be acquainted with other photographers and would therefore photograph them at social events. But since he undoubtedly shoots many of these events a week, who appears on the page each week would be a function of the editors' choices. So the fact that more photographers would appear as "bold-faced names" would indicate a perception that they had become a more prominent part of the New York social scene.

Josef Astor January 6, 2008

Tina Barney  February 22, 2009

Cornell Capa October 29, 2000

Chuck Close October 21, 2007

Chuck Close  January 8, 2011

Chuck Close January 16, 2011
Elliott Erwitt  December 5, 2010

Martine Franck  April 11, 2010

Ed Grazda & John T. Hill  September 3, 2006
Gordon Parks September 3, 2000

Cindy Sherman November 6, 2011

Cindy Sherman  November 20, 2011

Lorna Simpson  November 2, 2003

Jeff Wall February 25, 2007

Bruce Weber  June 7, 2009

Andreas Gursky, Ron Galella & Mary Ellen Mark May 20, 2001

Lorna Simpson & James Casebere May 17, 2009

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Robert Frank, Les Americains and Saul Steinberg...and Emmet Gowin

I was recently paging through the September, 1950, issue of Flair and came across something that will be of interest to fans of photography--or at least to fans of Robert Frank.

Flair was a short-lived magazine founded and edited by Fleur Cowles. Cowles was an editor at Look, married to the publisher, Gardner Cowles of the Cowles media empire, and Flair was of course published by Cowles Media. It was an extravagant affair, and from a design point of view, quite gorgeous. It featured die-cut covers, multiple paper stocks, the occasional gravure-printed page and half-pages trimmed vertically, horizontally and even into quarters. All this sort of stuff is expensive and so precluded it surviving very long and in fact it only lasted 13 issues--January, 1950, to January, 1951. It was art directed by Federico Pallavicini and among contemporary designers, copies of the magazine have become highly-prized and sought-after.

It also featured writers and artists who were well known or later become better known. The September issue for example, featured nine pages of photos by Louis Faurer, including five of street photography in NYC, and a gravure plate of a cityscape by Munckasi.

This particular issue also featured a bound-in booklet by Saul Steinberg, in which he took photos by Faurer and others and drew over them. It was called "The City" and here are some pages from it:

And here's the kicker:

What that reminds me of was the cover of Les Americains, the first edition of Robert Frank's The Americans, which was published in 1958, with a cover by Saul Steinberg.

I don't know how the Steinberg illustration came to be the cover but it appears that it was either an alternate version done at the time he was doing "The City" for Flair or the idea was recycled eight years later. The latter is the more likely and of course the recycling of ideas isn't even remotely an unusual thing in the world of art. As a matter of fact, to quote Jasper Johns on the making of art: "Take an object. Do something to it. Do something else to it." And I'll add, repeat again and again. Until you've exhausted the idea. Regardless, it's nice to see an idea used in a one-off issue of a magazine--and in the trash by the next month--reappear years later on the cover of a seminal book.

And while we're on the subject of influences and the flow of ideas, here is the cover of Emmet Gowin's first photobook--his 1965 dissertation thesis from Richmond Professional Institute--called Concerning America and Alfred Stieglitz, and Myself.

The cover is in fact a direct reference to Frank's Les Americains, as is the layout and design and overall conception. I've never seen a copy of the Gowin book, and probably won't until Errata Editions does a book-on-books of it, so I'll rely on Sandra Ludig Brooke of the Marquand Library of Art and Archeology at Princeton to tell the tale:

"With the civil rights movement unfolding around him, Gowin found inspiration in the street photography of Robert Frank. In 1963, he traveled to New York to seek Frank's professional advice, so it is no accident that Concerning America echoes--in conception, layout, and imagery--Les Americains, the original, French edition of Frank’s landmark photo book. Gowin's prints, in their subjects, saturated tones, and artful contrasts of light and dark, show a strong debt to Frank.

"The wrapper of Gowin's book mimics the distinctive Saul Steinberg cover for Les Americains. Frank's controversial publication, which like Gowin's featured an amalgam of excerpted texts, was not issued in a U.S. edition until 1959 when it appeared as The Americans with an introduction by Jack Kerouac...

"The title of Gowin's thesis is a witty reference to an iconic 1934 book, America & Alfred Stieglitz: A Collective Portrait…, which was a collection of essays published as a tribute to Stieglitz on his seventieth birthday. All the texts in Gowin's book were selected from the Stieglitz volume."

Concerning America and Alfred Stieglitz, and Myself is another one of those feverishly-sought collector's items. Gowin's dissertation requirements included making 100 copies of his thesis and in this case, each copy is made up of 14 original gelatin-silver prints. The last copy sold at auction for just under $60,000.

A copy of Flair would be cheaper, though a full-set of 13 runs about $2,000.

By the way, the cover illustrations are by Gowin and seem to bear the influence of Marc Chagall rather than Saul Steinberg. But that might be one digression too many.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Photographers Have to Make a Living Too, Part 8

Subtitled: Selling Camera Equipment

And why not? If you use the equipment already...

Ed Kashi for Sigma lenses
All three in the October 2005 issue of Popular Photography

David Alan Harvey for Nikon
ASMP Spring 2006

David Hume Kennerly for Mamiya
Shutterbug May 2003

The whole VII crew for Canon
(John Stanmeyer, Lauren Greenfield, Alexandra Boulat, James Nachtwey,
Gary Knight, Antonin Kratochvil, Ron Haviv, Christopher Morris, and Joachim Ladefoged)
Popular Photography, date unknown

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Photographic History

From the dead letter box, a bunch of silly little nothings:

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Posograph vs. The Zone System

I've heard tell how difficult Ansel Adams' Zone System can be to understand and absorb. Here's another method for determining the proper exposure of a particular scene: The Posograph. While as it is perfect for amateur and professional photographers alike, it is very clearly intended only for those with exceptional eyesight. Which makes it elitist and therefore, cool--just like the Zone System!, only for the young.

Curiously, it hasn't caught on. I reckon it most likely because it doesn't yet have a celebrity photographer touting it.

Now that we've absorbed that and we're all out making images: Who hasn't had the following problem? And all for the lack of the proper face cream...

A tip of the hat to David for these wonderful photographic artifacts.