Last Friday I spent the day in New York. The afternoon was spent in sensory overload at the Association of International Photography Art Dealers show at the Park Avenue Armory. Our group of Philly-area photo conservators played a game while at the show: you have $5,000 - what piece or pieces do you buy for your institution? I had too many selected and exceeded my budget. Not my fault my favorite all cost $3,500-ish.
We also spent the morning at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, lunching with the Met photo conservation peeps and checking out the current photo exhibits, Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage and Surface Tension: Contemporary Photographs from the Collection.
There were some interesting things in the contemporary show, but I feel like I've seen several of the works already in the not-too-distant past. This was my favorite piece from the contemporary show, a really massive cyanotype (51 1/2 x 99 inches) by Christian Marclay. Which I think I've seen exhibited in this gallery once before in the last two or three years.
We all really enjoyed the photocollage show: it was all very Hieronymous Bosch, Alice in Wonderland-esque. It also had the best use of computers in a exhibit that I have ever seen. All of these pieces were originally in bound manuscripts. You can remove pages for exhibit, but it is not something that is done without serious consideration because you are fundamentally altering the nature and context of the object. But the problem of leaving the pages bound is that you cannot make all the pages available at once. There were pages framed on the walls, and several vitrines with albums scattered throughout. Each page of each album had been photographed, and visitors could sit at one of the four computers and digitally flip through the album, zooming in on details, reading the accompanying explanations. I thought it was very well done: the computers were busy the entire time we were there.
From the Westmorland Album, 1864/70, assembled by Victoria Alexandra Anderson-Pelham, Countess of Yarborough, and Eva Macdonald (belonging to the J. Paul Getty Museum).
From the Bouverie Album, 1872/77, assembled by some combination of Elizabeth, Ellen, Jane, and/or Janet Pleydell-Bouverie (belonging to the George Eastman House)