1964. Richard Avedon and James Baldwin publish their spare yet radical treatise shot through to the arrow’s heart of America and much-adored Americana. Their collection, perhaps even more radically, was titled Nothing Personal, and nothing at the time could have been further from the blood-slaked truth. One can only imagine how so very personal, and how lacerating, these images must have been in the high epoch of Jim Crow, where the unsilenced shot of pistol, the swift stroke of knife, the snap of rope, the strike of skin-crackling fire were the unmitigated and unmediated means of cage-keeping of the day. This fall Taschen will republish a facsimile edition of Nothing Personal, with unpublished photographs and a new introduction by Pulitzer Prize-winning critic Hilton Als. Als’ introduction is excerpted below. An exhibition of images from Nothing Personal will be on view at Pace Gallery, NYC, from 17 November through 13 January, 2018. — CvH
by Richard Avedon and James Baldwin
Introduced by Hilton Als
I am about thirteen years old and my body and mind are carried along by the energy that thinking engenders in me—the nearly phosphorescent ideas and possibilities I find in books, looking at pictures, and whenever I visit a museum. Some of the photo books I covet the most can’t be checked out from the Brooklyn Public Library, so, day after day, I duck out of my junior high school, in Crown Heights, and, walking past the Brooklyn Museum, then through the Botanic Garden, I go to look at them in the stacks. [Read more…]
Michael Ackerman [Read more…]
From Women of Allah series
Kikuji Kawada and the current mood [Read more…]
The appropriately titled Curtains, Eileen Quinlan’s spare exhibition at Miguel Abreu, unsettles in ways few shows dare. The 24 black-and-white prints, all gelatin silver, communicate a spirit that is both cryptic and choleric. They dampen, these images, as in deaden. They silence. One feels in their presence as if having stepped into the afterings of a wake, casket still open, all guests gone. Something yet lingers.
Part of what disquiets in this utterly hushed series is the spectering of Quinlan’s own aggressive hand, which haunts in ways comparable to the cramping of a limb not long ago severed. It manifests as fitful revenant in openly hostile attacks against the negatives themselves, which are scarred with slashings and steel wool scourings and experimental broodings borne of plain artistic urge. A good dozen-plus prints in the show reflect the latter. As fly to wonton boys, killed solely for the sport, the negatives for these prints were left for hours or days in chemical baths, eroding or outright obliterating any image that might have been and erasing with it any expectation as to what a photograph should even minimally convey. To that end, these prints merely allude to photography, working as they do in the same medium. They are acting, however, in an alternate other: as medium in a kind of necromancy. They conjure rather than represent.