Photographers James and Karla Murray spent ten years documenting New York City’s ever-evolving storefronts, and recently published their decade-long project into the popular book, Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York. Of the project, the photographers say, “STORE FRONT provides an irreplaceable window to the rich cultural experience of New York City as seen through its neighborhood shops.”
The strength of the series is found in it’s wide-lens, capturing a time when opening a small business in New York was actually a viable option, and comparing that to the gentrified and corporatized Manhattan of today. This can be seen in vivid and stark contrast in photos like the Delightful Coffee Shop in Harlem being replaced by a ubiquitous Dunkin’ Donuts (above). Many of storefronts shows lost clients due to the ever-increasing rent, business which remain empty today, which has a depressing, darkening effect on the people who still remain in the community. James Murray says of the idea behind the series, “until you place them side-by-side and really look at the two photos, you cannot get the true sense of loss experienced by the neighborhood.”
Like many directors, Stanley Kubrick (known for such iconic films as The Shining, Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Full Metal Jacket) began his love of film for the medium’s capacity to immediately capture scenes developing around him. The award-winning director’s photographs show early promise, mastering stylistic elements such as composition, lighting, balance and subject, which might not be surprising. However, the young Kubrick’s subject matter, mostly street-scenes with everyday New York and Greenwich Village people, life and struggles, might surprise some coming from the famed science fiction director. The photos, which have a nostalgic tone not necessarily associated with the forward-thinking director, certainly bring a romantic mood to the seemingly simpler time.
Many of these photos were taken during the 1940′s, while Kubrick was employed as a photographer for Look Magazine (a gig he landed while still a student at City College New York). It was while working for Look that Kubrick began associating with the film programs at the Museum of Modern Art, a connection which eventually launched Kubrick into a career in his life-long interest of film. (via everyday-i-show)
With her recent series Displaced, the photographer Linda Kuo examines the illegal importation of exotic animals into the United States; her subjects, some torn from their habitats and others unable to adapt to their environments in captivity, give voice to the 300 million animals similarly brought to the states as pets.
Each photograph captures the life of a creature being treated for illnesses or wounds at New York City Center for Avian and Exotic Medicine; placed within the sterile context of the hospital, the displaced beasts oscillate between confusion, curiosity, and lonesomeness. The emotional core of the work is rooted in each creature’s supreme isolation; a bird sits alone on a scale, searching for some sort of recognition. Simultaneously, a guinea pig resigns himself to the clean, white basin, and a bird turns his puffy green back.
Amidst this sorrowful sense of displacement emerges an unexpected warmth, fueled by the desperate yearning of both animal and man to feel safe. After a failed resuscitation, a yellow bearded dragon falls into a gentle set of female hands that tenderly enfold his delicate flesh in a bright blue towel. Similarly, a turtle is offered carefully diced vegetables, which he cautiously accepts from giant human fingers; a bird’s heartbeat is measured anonymously but tenderly. Amidst a chaotic world, the hospital is shown to be a respite for the animals, fighting for their wellbeing against the odds.
For Kuo, the series is personal; bullied as a child, she empathizes with those oppressed, alone, and out of their proper place. The work’s resounding message is one of compassion—for ourselves, for the earth, and for those we share it with. Take a look. (via Feature Shoot and Slate)
From setting hipster traps to designing tourist lanes on sidewalks, Jeff Greenspan’s work consistently employs a certain playful cleverness that questions our social norms in relation to spaces, New York City in particular. The Statue Experiment (pictured above) is no exception. Examining our own reality as far as engaging with art and its contextual expectations is concerned, Greenspan adds a little bowl of change in front of Frank Benson’s statue for a whole new effect. In fact, it just might be the best street performance art performed by an actual object . . . or maybe it’s the audience members who are the real performers? Click on the video after the jump to see what we mean.
DIAcussion, a group show that engages in dialogue and discussion through form and subject, opens tonight at envoy enterprises, 87 Rivington St. (6-8 PM). The exhibition seems to approach its concept very directly; a lot of the interplay between the work is very pronounced, sort of in your face. This is far from a problem, as the overall quality of the show looks to be pretty high. The focus on figurative elements opens up a direct, personal vein through which we are able to consider the implications of the vastly different ways in which we approach the same goals. You can keep your questions at face value (medium vs. medium, subject vs. subject). And you can take in the decaying face of Gerald Collings’ The Hollow (above) and go all out dust-to-dust; considering the myriad ways you might choose to live your life in the face of the possibility that we all end up in the same lame, dead position eventually, that we all think we know the best way out of the maze but none of us actually find the exit in time.
All images courtesy of the artist and envoy enterprises, New York.
Mark Mulroney is currently showing new work at Mixed Greens in Chelsea. The exhibition, entitled We’re Never Getting Rescued With That Attitude, features paradisiacal scenery created with graphite and acrylic applied to both found book paper and carved wood panel, respectively. In addition to reading Gauguin’s letters from Tahiti, studying Tarzan imagery, and internalizing clichéd tropical sunsets, Mulroney investigated 30-years-worth of Playboy and Penthouse magazines in preparation for the show. Click past the jump for some installation views, and check it out in person before April 20th. Read More >
Japanese artist Mr. built an installation in the Lehmann MaupinGallery that is a gorgeous messy heap of cultural garbage/treasure. Using old anime posters, tarps, wood veneer cabinets, bouncy balls and the like, Mr’s installation overwhelms us with the incredible amounts of Stuff we as a society create; a physical version of contemporary internet culture’s constant sensory overload. His show is up for another three days, so if you’re in the NY area, catch it while you can! Press release:
“Mr. has envisioned a complex, chaotic installation that serves as immersive sculpture by forcing viewers to interact with the work and places them in a scenario that is psychologically unsettling. His new body of work aspires to blur the distinction between the interior and exterior through the construction of structures and atmospheres inhabited by familiar objects that are conversely used to communicate the unfamiliar: in this instance, an experience most people have not lived. Viewers are given insight to the psychological state of Japan all the while remaining alien to the experience. Composed of garbage and everyday objects from Japanese life, this installation stands as a reminder of the debris that blanketed Tohoku in the aftermath of March 11.” Read More >
Diana Al-Hadid is a Syrian-born artist who grew up in the US, and coming from such rich backgrounds, it is easy to see why her work deals with the disintegration of power and history. Melting statues and monuments, paintings that look like they were left out in the rain for centuries, the work in her show at the Marianne Boesky Gallery looks more like anthropological pompei-like discoveries than they do precious art objects, which is kind of the point. It encourages you to wonder what kinds of remnants our empires will leave behind for the future to dig up, or for others, maybe it is a call to arms to incite some cultural anarchy. Her show also closes on the 20th of this month, so stop by if you’re in the neighborhood!