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Posts Tagged ‘Photography’

Lee Friedlander, Montana, 2008, from the series America by Car, 1995-2009. Collection of the artist; courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco © Lee Friedlander, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

In the 1960s and 70s, the photographer Lee Friedlander took his family on summer road trips.  Along the way, he took pictures that established him as one of the most acute, celebrated, modern chroniclers of America.  He captured vast swaths of the American landscape, lonely billboards, drive-thru kitch in stark black and white.

Forty+ years later, he’s still at it — and these new images feel just as remote and nostalgic, maybe more so.  “Lee Friedlander: America By Car” (featuring work from 1995-2009) is on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, through Sunday November 28.

For those initial expeditions, Friedlander’s young son Erik was sitting in the back seat.  He grew up to be an innovative cellist – and he made an entire album of music inspired by those trips, all performed on solo cello: Block Ice and Propane.  The tracks recall Erik’s summers on the road: picking up big blocks of ice to keep the food fresh; sitting above the cab with his sister, watching the stars as his father drove through the night.  It’s a quiet, varied album ranging from rootsy Americana to tracks that sound dissonant and modern.  Much of the music was generated while improvising in the studio.

Back in 2007, Kurt asked him to improvise in our studio.  We were working on episode around the theme of “On the Road” (it was the 50th anniversary of Jack Kerouac’s novel).  When Erik came by to talk about his album, Kurt asked him to riff on a passage from Kerouac’s travelogue.  The result was pretty terrific:

(Kurt reads the passage at 8:30, followed by Erik’s response at 9:25)

– Jenny Lawton

In the 1960s and 70s, the photographer Lee Friedlander took his family on summer road trips.  Along the way, he took pictures that established him as one of the most acute, celebrated, modern chroniclers of America.  He captured vast swaths of the American landscape, lonely billboards, drive-thru kitch in stark black and white.  You can see some of those photos in “Lee Friedlander: America By Car,” an exhibition now on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, through November 28.

Friedlander’s young son Erik was sitting in the back seat.  He grew up to be an innovative cellist – and he made an entire album of music inspired by those trips, all performed on solo cello: Block Ice and Propane.  The tracks recall Erik’s summers on the road: picking up big blocks of ice to keep the food fresh; sitting up in the cab with his sister, watching the stars as his father drove through the night.  It’s a quiet, varied album ranging from rootsy Americana to tracks that sound dissonant and modern.  Much of the music was generated while improvising in the studio.

Back in 2007, Kurt asked him to improvise in our studio.  We were working on episode around the theme of “On the Road” (it was the 50th anniversary of Jack Kerouac’s novel).  When Erik came by to talk about his album, Kurt asked him to riff off of a passage from Kerouac’s travelogue.  The result was pretty terrific.  (Kurt reads the passage at 8:30, followed by Erik’s response at 9:25)

– Jenny Lawton

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The vinyl grooves of the Beatles's "Eleanor Rigby" (Photographed by Felice C. Frankel)

Ready for an extreme close-up?

Felice C. Frankel has spent 20 years photographing objects outside the range of conventional microscopes — bits of matter 1/100,000th the size of a baby’s eyelashes.  Nanoscience is one of the frontiers of technology, and with her book No Small Matter (co-written by Harvard chemist George Whitesides), Frankel hopes to inspire exploration and understanding of the nanoscale.

Studio 360’s Sarah Lilley produced a short piece about Frankel and her work for last weekend’s show — but she realized that some of this stuff had to be seen to be believed:

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Don't Forget Us. Grand Isle, LA

The biggest piece of bad news of the last 4 months seems to be getting less bad: the Deepwater Horizon oil well is plugged, and the spill is disappearing from the surface of the Gulf fast.  As the catastrophe fades the photographer Zoe Strauss is doing her part to keep our focus on the disaster – and how it continues to affect people who live on the Gulf.

Strauss grew up – and still lives – in working class South Philadelphia and was a late-comer to photography. She was given a camera for her 30th birthday and found she had a natural talent for portraits and cityscapes that capture the overlooked minutiae of urban life.

Since then she’s documented (in her disarmingly intimate style) the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, completed a decade long project bringing art to Philadelphia’s stretch of the I-95 freeway, published a book of her work, AND shown her images at the 2006 Whitney Biennial.

Strauss says her work is “a narrative about the beauty and difficulty of everyday life” so it makes sense that she felt drawn to document the effects of the recent oil spill on residents of the Gulf Coast.

Oiled Poms, Elmer's Island, LA

Kids on Oiled Beach. Waveland, MS

Strauss named the project On The Beach (after the haunting Nevil Shute novel) and she’s been posting her most striking images on her blog. Recently, Kurt spoke to her about the new project and heard about her suggestion for a fitting punishment for BP executives.

– Britta Conroy-Randall

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mapplethorpeAs the Belvedere Torso inspired Michelangelo, Michelangelo inspired Robert Mapplethorpe.

The Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence, Italy, has never exhibited a contemporary artist in the revered museum that houses Michelangelo’s “David.” Until now.

Nearly 100 Mapplethorpe photographs — with an emphasis on nudes — join Michelangelo’s “David” and his other works permanently housed in the church-like Galleria. “Robert Mapplethorpe: Perfection In Form” is on view until January 2010.

I have a soft spot for Mapplethorpe and adore his work. I’ve been a fan since seeing the infamous 1988 exhibition “Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment” in Boston. This was just before it went to Philadelphia where the “X Portfolio” caused all of the hoo-ha with the NEA. The photos in question were small, and displayed in a wooden, glass covered case about waist high so that you had to lean over to see into it, the case unmarked. It felt like an accident to see them — or more accurately, like an act of accidental voyeurism. Still, the NEA reaction shocked me, particularly because the obvious focus of the show were his breathtaking flowers, the monumental prints displayed on the walls.

It’s not hard to draw parallels between the Michelangelo and Mapplethorpe nudes. Both artists were striving for poetry in form, executing their work with heartbreaking tenderness and precision. “Perfection In Form” is an overdue tribute to Mapplethorpe’s genius.

Watch a video tour here:

– Susie Karlowski

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Covered heads in the mosh pit

Covered heads in the mosh pit -- Photo by: Kim Badawi

This week on Studio 360, Nick Heling talks to Muslim punk rockers The Kominas about taqwacore, the movement inspired by novelist Michael Muhammad Knight’s 2002 novel The Taqwacores. Photographer Kim Badawi met Knight shortly after Taqwacores was published, and in 2006 began tagging along on tours with taqwa bands The Kominas and Secret Trial Five, snapping pics of the scene in its infancy. Now that taqwacore is a raging adolescent, Brooklyn publisher powerHouse (which specializes in not-your-mamma’s coffee table books) has come out with a beautiful new book of Badawi’s photos: The Taqwacores: Muslim Punk in the U.S.A.. What I love about Badawi’s photos are the juxtapositions: there’s the obligatory sex, drugs, and thrashing guitars, but also veiled heads, prayer rugs, and band members bowed towards Mecca.

Bassist Basim Usmani getting married shortly before The Kominas kick-off their 2007 TaqwaTour...

Bassist Basim Usmani getting married shortly before The Kominas' 2007 TaqwaTour...

...and playing a basement show in Chicago with Shahjehan Khan

...and playing a basement show in Chicago with Shahjehan Khan

Taqwacores crash on the floor of a mosque

Taqwacores crash on the floor of a mosque

Listen to Nick’s interview with Michael Muhammad Knight and The Kominas:

-Annie Minoff

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