Thursday, June 25, 2015


Gillian Laub : Southern Rites

May 14 - June 27 2015

Benrubi Gallery
521 West 26th Street
2nd floor
New York, NY 10001

About three years ago on a visit Gillian Laub's studio I  got a chance to view this work.The first image has remain inside my head all this time,the vastness,the struggle between life and death in that Georgia red dirt.The feeling of heat and hope played against a sign that is a proclamation as well as a shout of desperation.Even as a southern who loves his land and place, I still find a struggle within no more than now .

This is a must see exhibition in New York now,so timely.There are three days left,yes the images and other aspects of this combination of projects will be on view in accessible forms to add to the discussion what is the south
The rest of this blog post is an edit of the gallery's press release, please go and see 

Southern Rites is a provocative twelve-year visual study of one community’s struggle to confront
longstanding issues of race and equality. In 2002, Laub was invited to Mt. Vernon, Georgia, to
photograph its segregated homecoming celebrations. She kept returning to the community and in
2009, The New York Times Magazine published a photo-essay by Laub titled, “A Prom Divided,”
which documented Georgia’s Montgomery County High School’s racially segregated prom rituals.
Laub’s photographs ignited a firestorm of national outrage that, remarkably, led the community to
finally integrate the proms.

Laub continued to travel to Mt. Vernon to document the aftermath, which was welcomed in some
circles and decried in others. In 2011, amid newfound hope, the murder of a young black man
(portrayed in Laub’s earlier prom series) by an older white town resident reopened old wounds.
Through her intimate portraits, first-hand testimony, and video installation, Laub reveals in vivid
color the horror and humanity of these complex, intertwined narratives.
The photographer’s inimitable sensibility ensures that, however elevated the ideas and themes
may be, her pictures remain studies of individuals; a chronicle of their courage in the face of
injustice, of their suffering and redemption, possessing an unsettling power. Laub’s photographs
capture a world caught between eras and values with extraordinary candor and immediacy—
and ultimately ask whether a new generation can finally unshackle themselves from an
uncomfortable past and make a different future.

The Benrubi exhibition coincides with the world broadcast premiere of Southern Rites on HBO, a
documentary directed by Laub herself, and executive produced by acclaimed musician John
Legend. Film, book, and exhibition constitute a major cultural and artistic achievement

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


An Exhibition of Ceramics by Ken Akaji
June 18 - July  3
212 967 4899
12 East 86th Street No. 507


I  am always aware of the serendipitous moment ,that is what brought me to Ippodo Gallery New York when its exhibition space was in Chelsea.Ippodo was
a different experience for me and has evolved in New York to an appointment only space.Quiet,private elegant and more reflective.You can see and touch the wares in a more serene setting maybe with a bowl of tea and discussion about the life of the art object.

I saw Ken Akaji vessels a few weeks ago and they have been dancing in my mind ever since then .The restraint need to create a line is balance by the lushness of each brushstroke of red. So refine, yet I break into smiles because I am reminded of circuses christmas carousels clowns and candy canes.That feeling of vertigo after one has twirl to much and the spinning won't stop.Strange all of these things fitting in the palm of your hand.

Maybe the spiral is a glyph for serendipity and that is why I like it

Akaji is a part of the Kutani ceramics world, but it would appear that his philosophical designs have always been driven by his rebellious spirit. He has struggled against taking the easy way presented by tradition, banal Kutani-ware, the arguably shallow aspects of contemporary art, and outdated ideas or concepts. 

                                                                     - Spiral -

The shape of the Milky Way, of whirlwinds and whirlpools, snails and ivy tendrils-it is the form of the fundamental and mathematical energy of nature, and the pattern we, mankind, have used as a symbol of death and rebirth.  

Saturday, June 13, 2015

KEN ABBOTT : USEFUL WORK . Photographs of the Hickory Nut Gap Farm

some books/some books/some books



There is no one definitive South, each state and each region within a state has details that give meaning to its citizens ,these details bring feeling which we  call place.Even the idea of what is place changes depending on the emotional relationship shared .

In 2012 I was working on a project about the Appalachians , I want to show  more than a single perceived version .I turned to classic images of the miners lives by  Builder Levy to speak of the hardship in the mountains and hollows but Sarah Hoskins and Ken Abbott provided clearly different views.

People from outside usually concentrate on the extremes of this beautiful area but Ken took on a small portion, a working and teaching far ,which he has documented over 10 years.There is no shock of hardship,just a gentle reminder of the land being used and giving back.This book reminds us of a place we would all love to come home to. 


A review of the soon to be publish book by Alex Harris and link to a fund raiser and website

Ken Abbott’s photography and Hickory Nut Gap Farm is a marriage made in heaven, or about as close as we get to heaven here in the Blue Ridge Mountains in western North Carolina. For almost a hundred years, one extended family has lived on and created a uniquely beautiful farm and community in this place. In Useful Work, Ken Abbott so thoroughly and beautifully depicts the surface and soul of this home and farm, that he reminds us how the best photographers can focus on something seemingly small, yet evoke our common humanity. This book represents an extraordinary achievement in life and in art.  
– Alex Harris, Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University 

Ken Abbott


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

JANE ROBBINS KERR : Yesterday and Today


Jane Robbins Kerr : Yesterday and Today

Painting and Photographs
May 28 - June 18
Tula Arts Complex
75 Bennet Street
Atlanta Ga
404 605 0605

Saturday June 13 a talk with the artist at 02:00 pm

Jane Robbins Kerr Yesterday photograph  by Ellen Kerr and Today by Donna Rosser    

I have spoken about Ms Jane Robbins Kerr photographs of the south and her home Mississippi often.I have known of these painting since 2005,it gives me great pleasure to know that at last they are being shared with you in an exhibition of both her paintings and photography. Both of these media requires observation but her painting explode with mystery and joy.Look close and you will see similar ideas in both places but the painting rise above just being a tourist with a camera.The painting sing in the eye and echo in the heart.

The gallery will have a talk Saturday afternoon June 13 with the artist at 02:00 pm if you are in the Atlanta area come out to hear about discovering new adventures and embracing joy at any point in life,which is one of Ms Kerr stories.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

DEBORAH TURBEVILLE : Unseen Versailles

Deborah Turbeville : Unseen Versailles Revisited

January 23 - March 21 2015

560 Broadway
NewYork 10012

The Private Apartment of Madame du Barry at Versailles, from “Unseen Versailles”, 1980
Fireplace in the Petit Apartments of Versailles, from “Unseen Versailles”, 1980

Statues, from “Unseen Versailles”, 1980
Unseen Versailles, 1980 (Pile of Chairs)

The Parterre du Midi at Versailles, from “Unseen Versailles”, 1980
51. Deborah Turbeville
Unseen Versailles, 1980 (Painting)

This is a perfect time to spend an hour looking back at the poetic photographic essay by Deborah Turbeville that was commissioned by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in 1981.
The quiet and elegant, Unseen Versailles. All is atmosphere,mystery,silence,longing and discovery it is like wandering in a sad dream surrounded by the saddest music and succumbing to the fatigue of the romantics that would find these images,beautiful.

They are.The artist and gallery based on earlier exhibitions by Deborah Turbeville  have created a edgy look comprising gilded frames  and order compositions facing walls of 
large scale prints attached directly to walls repeating images as if to express a breathing body of work that is as timely today as it was 25 years ago.

It is reassuring that there are still galleries that preserve the history of photographic art giving new generations a chance to see what went before.Since 1839 there has been one  long conversation, a gathering of ideas about our world and our ideas about beauty and time .I saw some of these images in a New York Times Magazine essay in 1981,they still move me now .They must be classic                                
all images copyrighted Deborah Turbeville  and Staley -Wise Gallery

Sunday, February 1, 2015


Written in Stone
Edition Le Quai de la Batterie ca.2000

High Noon, Namib Desert
(Namid Desert #8)
archival silver gelatin print

Persia Stones #12
archival silver gelatin print
China Stones #2
archival silver gelatin print
American Stones
Sunrise in the Palm of Buddha
(Angkor Stones #6)
1995 to 2003 
Africa Stones  Giant 1
1995 - 1999
archival silver gelatin print

Cappadocia Stones #9
archival silver gelatin print 
China Stones #2
archival silver gelatin print

Collecting can be a form of hoarding. Two of the easiest to hoard are books and recorded music.They seem so civilized and then one day you realize you need to find something which you can not because you are distracted by the other lost and new discoveries in the search.  Today that happened to me I found an early portfolio/book by Elaine Ling ,Written in Stone. 2000  with an introduction by Marcus Schubert.

I sat down with this slim document and then I went back to Elaine's website.Now I am writing this. I have been thinking a lot about how only ten years ago photography was almost magical it showed us people and places most of us would never see and yet we and they remained remote from life, trap . 

I once had a student in a class about collecting who asked me my opinion about some  images of Cambodia that he liked.These photographs were not cheap. At that moment I had a clear vision
and said buy the one you really like but take your money and go there, amazingly he did.

I can  travel comfortably with an album or book of images with me sitting on my favorite chair lost, so I will always be grateful for photographers like Elaine Ling ,who go out into the world to see and record. all images copyright Elaine Ling

Thursday, January 29, 2015


Wyatt Gallery : Subtext

January 21 - February21

Foley Gallery
59 Orchard Street
New York NY 10002
1 212 244 9081

the reason I went to Orchard Street last week was to see these new images by Wyatt Gallery  ( the person,not a place ),at the new Foley Gallery in the Lower East Side.

A very elegant group of photographs of subway advertising wall the collages of happenstance  and serendipity from multiple pasting and repasting of bill boards .
Wyatt's point of departure is only to record those that have nearly ben totally scraped
away.There are no witty and surprising juxtapositions found in the layers of ripped paper and paste. Wyatt  shows us bared and scared walls that have scratches and scrapes

The over all feeling is a retelling of the abstract expressionism movement 

50E: 341
30X22.6” UV Pigment Ink Photograph On DiBond
50E: 353

45x56" UV Pigment Ink Photograph On DiBond Edition of 5 +2AP
(In Collaboration With Hank Willis Thomas)
Montrose L: 124-107
40x51.1" UV Pigment Ink Photograph On DiBond
50C: 383
40x53.5" UV Pigment Ink Photograph On DiBond 

50C: 5-13-3
35x83" UV Pigment Ink Photograph On DiBond
50C: 379-377
30x107" UV Pigment Ink Photograph On DiBond