photography

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Art: Richard Kern’s New York Girls Revisited

Linda Wet on Floor, 1992, photo by Richard Kern (Courtesy of the Artist and Marlborough Broome Street, NY)

Linda Wet on Floor, 1992, photo by Richard Kern (Courtesy of the Artist and Marlborough Broome Street, NY)

Legendary downtown photographer Richard Kern takes us back to 1995, the year he released his first, New York Girls. Back then, the East Village was still a place where getting mugged wasn’t unusual (it happened to Kern five times over the years) and Williamsburg, he recalled was still “rough.” Both neighborhoods provided the backdrop for his nude portraits of gun-toting, cigarette-smoking tattooed babes– the quintessential fantasy of New York York tough girls. “At the time, someone said in a review, ‘New York girls are tattooed and rough-looking and LA girls are blonde and enhanced,'” Kern recalled. The show features unreleased photographs spanning the ’80s through the mid-’90s, with the added bonus of never-before-screened Super 8 footage from the photo shoots.

We had the pleasure of speaking with Kern about what happened to the women in his photographs, how Instagram has changed his career, and the why he went from making edgy, “drug-infused” films to shooting mostly nude still portraits. Read more here.

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Ryan McGinley’s New Photos: Walking Buck-Naked in a Winter Wonderland

(Photos: Daniel Maurer)

(Photos: Daniel Maurer)

Ryan McGinley’s seventh opening at Team Gallery was just like all the others: at any given moment, there were just as many people on Grand Street as in the gallery – a fact that did not go unnoticed by the uniformed and undercover cops who rolled by to tell the mob of downtown scenesters to clear the sidewalk and bike lane.

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Inside the Vale of Cashmere, a Bucolic Cruising Spot Threatened By ‘Restoration’

"Untitled" (from the series In The Vale of Cashmere), Thomas Roma 2011

“Untitled” (from the series In The Vale of Cashmere), Thomas Roma 2011

Like many Brooklynites, Prospect Park is my go-to, but the awesomely named Vale of Cashmere– a relatively isolated area on the east side of the park and the subject of photographer Thomas Roma’s new book– didn’t sound familiar at all. To outsider eyes like mine, the Vale (depending on your taste) is either a beautifully wild or pitifully neglected patch of land, overgrown with disobedient trees and untamed plants, at the center of which there’s a once-elegant fountain clogged with weeds and fetid puddles from years of neglect. Park staff have planted shrubs and flowers there too, lending the area a rotting romanticism.

But the Vale has another history: it’s long been a cruising spot for gay men, but especially gay men of color. Until recently it was considered an open secret, and one that many park powerfuls have decided not to engage, despite demands from elsewhere that they do so (in various ways). While Roma’s series is ultimately a personal exploration of friendship and loss, it’s nearly impossible to unravel his images from questions about what kind of impact a looming project will have on the community that has made this space its own.

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Books Signings: Elias Weiss Friedman’s ‘The Dogist’

1439846887-cover-the-dogist-hi-resThe Dogist himself, Elias Weiss Friedman, will be talking with Stacie Grissom of the BarkPost newsletter about the release of The Dogist: Photographic Encounters with 1,000 Dogs. The event is being held in celebration of the book’s release and in recognition of October being Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, so the ASPCA will be there, too, with a few furry friends in need of a home. Strand asks that you please keep your own pooch at home, but BarkBox will be on hand with all the materials you need to make a pup-friendly doggie bag to take home, so you don’t have to feel too bad about Fido missing out. Brews will be on hand from Radiant Pig Craft Beers, so buy a copy of The Dogist or a $15 gift card for admission and stop by Strand for a doggone good time.
See our column Word Up for more of this week’s book signings. 

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Abdul Abdullah Spent Two Hours With Airport Security to Bring You This Show

Abdul Abdullah at CHASM in Bushwick (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Abdul Abdullah at CHASM in Bushwick (Photo: Nicole Disser)

Looking at Abdul Abdullah‘s work alone might not give you every hint necessary to guess immediately where the 29-year-old artist is from. And seeing him in the flesh, t-shirt and jeans, ordering a beer at bar in Greenpoint, gives you even fewer clues to go on. That’s because in the post-9/11 world, Muslims in countries across the world have had to deal with widespread prejudice, demonization, and deeply confused depictions of their religion and culture, experiences that Abdullah confronts head-on in his paintings and photographs. Turns out Abdullah’s from Australia, but his new solo show, Coming to Terms, is a reminder that the problem of Islamophobia is unfortunately still as potent as ever almost everywhere.

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Art: Abdul Abdullah’s Coming to Terms

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Looking at Abdul Abdullah‘s work alone might not give you every hint necessary to guess immediately where the 29-year-old artist is from. And seeing him in the flesh, t-shirt and jeans, ordering a beer at bar in Greenpoint, gives you even fewer clues to go on. That’s because in the post-9/11 world, Muslims in countries across the world have had to deal with widespread prejudice, demonization, and deeply confused depictions of their religion and culture, experiences that Abdullah confronts head-on in his paintings and photographs. Turns out Abdullah’s from Australia, but his new solo show, Coming to Terms, is a reminder that the problem of Islamophobia is unfortunately still as potent as ever almost everywhere. By appointment only, contact Jessica Holburn: jess@chasmgallery.com

Read more here.

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This Photographer Captured Ukrainian Youth in Their Final Months of ‘Carefree Fun’

(Photo: © Daniel King)

(Photo: © Daniel King)

In the past year and a half, the East Village has grown accustomed to the presence of candles, messages of remembrance and fresh flowers outside 136 Second Avenue, home to the Ukrainian American Youth Foundation. This impromptu memorial has served as a constant reminder of the many lives lost during the November 2013 “Rise up, Ukraine!” anti-government uprisings in Kiev.

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The Burbs Before Bushwick: Meryl Meisler Straddles ’70s Long Island and Downtown

Elda (Gentile) Stilletto and Guitarist at CBGB, NY, NY April 1978 (Photo: © Meryl Meisler)

Elda (Gentile) Stilletto and Guitarist at CBGB, NY, NY April 1978 (Photo: © Meryl Meisler)

Meryl Meisler turned heads last year with her photographs of Bushwick in the late ’70s and early ’80s, when the neighborhood was racked by arson, economic crisis, and crime, epitomized in the chaos of the 1977 blackout. Nevertheless, her photos were filled with as much liveliness as the dance floor at Studio 54 (which the photographer also documented). As a local school teacher, Meisler saw beyond the blight, connecting with the community in spite of the neighborhood’s troubles. But her photos are just as much a conduit for nostalgia as they are a memo for the present and seem as relevant as ever for the neighborhood as it continues to go through immense change. Now our initial obsession the photographer’s work has been rewarded with a new book, Purgatory & Paradise: Sassy ’70s Suburbia & the City.

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From the Factory to Clublandia, Two Exhibitions Will Bring You Back to the Good Ol’ Days

The Last Party exhibition at WhiteBox (Photo: Nicole Disser)

The Last Party exhibition at WhiteBox (Photo: Nicole Disser)

While wandering from gallery to gallery yesterday in the Lower East Side, soaking up a pair of museum-like nostalgia exhibitions focusing on at least one part if not all of a few-decades long span from Warhol’s Factory days through the ’90s club kid scene, I started thinking about a conversation I’d had with one JJ Brine, Satanic gallerist extraordinaire. Before JJ took off for Vanuatu (btw according to his Facebook page, he made it just fine), he explained he was departing indefinitely because he was frustrated with what he understood as New York City’s unusual fixation on the past at the expense of devoting energy to the future. I couldn’t have agreed more, but somehow The Last Party and Michael Alig’s appropriately-titled solo exhibition, Inside / Out succeed in drawing a line, however crooked, between the past and the present and making this nostalgia part of current existence. How? Well, I felt as though I could almost see myself in some of the blurry old party photos and even the creepy clown-like painted odes to various poisons of choice.

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This Photo Show Marks a High Point for the Transgender Movement

(Photo by Robyn Hasty)

(Photo by Robyn Hasty)

Robyn Renee Hasty is no stranger to outsiders, countercultures, and misfits. So it might feel a little strange for the artist to be in the midst of what’s becoming a mainstream social movement and media obsession to match, as embodied in the debut of Caitlyn Jenner. A new exhibition featuring Hasty’s most recent work, opening Thursday at Brooklyn’s Pioneer Works, couldn’t be more timely. But even with a newfound frank (but still sometimes fraught) discussion of the transgender experience going mainstream, Hasty’s nude portraits of transgender, gender non-conforming, and cisgender people are still subversive.

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Why Do These Women Have Flowers In Their Mouths?

From the Petal Series. (Photo: Tal Shpantzer.)

From the Petal Series. (Photo: Tal Shpantzer.)

Williamsburg’s Honey Gifts will be displaying more than just the usual lingerie and sex toys this Friday night. Brooklyn artist Tal Shpantzer has adorned the shop’s windows with images of women holding flowers and petals in their mouths. The photographs from Shpantzer’s Petal Series are inspired by Dadaism and, specifically, Hannah Höch’s collages. They’re striking, intense, and beautiful–some of the women look a little sad, others almost feral.

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Williamsburg’s (D)evolution Captured in #MyChangingNeighborhood

(Photo by Stéphanie de Rougé/Instagram)

(Photo by Stéphanie de Rougé/Instagram)

When photographer Stéphanie de Rougé moved to New York in 2006 she settled on the south side of Williamsburg. “From the first day, I knew I was at home here,” she wrote on her website. “Williamsburg had it all: the Brooklyn grittiness, the sexy wild parties, the shady pharmacy, the old pigeon cooper and the sweet little café around the corner. Other than the fact that yellow cabs refused to cross the bridge, life was good.” Yes, yes it was. But then Starbucks moved in, and Whole Foods and Apple made their nefarious plans.

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