Abby and Sam Corner a Cat, 1973
By David Spalding
Sometimes the subjects in Michael Jang’s photographic time capsule, “The Jangs,” perform for the camera: Uncle Monroe decked out in his golfing gear, reclines on a shag sectional like a suburban Odalisque. Elsewhere, they seem unaware of the young photographer documenting their domestic routines and occasional outings: think of his mom’s anxious smile as she stands alone at the center of a cocktail party. In the Jang’s house, nearly every surface is decoupaged with visual cues that both acculturate the viewer and timestamp the photographs. A Vietnam-era bumper sticker reads “P.O.Ws never have a nice day;” an R. Crumb cartoon, hung above a bedstead, encourages the Jangs to keep “truckin’ on down the line.” And they do. Throughout the house, images of TV beauty queens, rock bands, football stars and even the Jangs themselves—seen in a staged family portrait thumbtacked above the washing machine—all suggest
MICHAEL JANG: “The Jang’s”
Todd Hido: House Hunting
Presented in the Pier 24 Photography exhibition HERE.
May 23, 2011 – January 31, 2012
Todd Hido’s color photographs of domestic landscapes reflect the artist’s interest in the themes of home, family, and memory. Taken at night, his photographs depict anonymous dwellings, their windows glowing in the soft darkness; the resulting feeling is one of unsettling isolation and unease. Hido captures a haunting suburbia through the absence of people and the careful modulation of light and color, alluding to imagined narratives taking place inside.
Interview with Thomas Alleman, originally published in ZYZZVA, December 2012
By Lucy Schiller
From 1985 to 1988, photographer Thomas Alleman worked in a jimmy-rigged laundryroom-cum-darkroom to document the life, passion, and spirit of one of the most prominent and historic gay neighborhoods in the world—San Francisco’s Castro District—in the face of AIDS. His latest show, “Dancing in the Dragon’s Jaws: Gay San Francisco, 1985-1988,” runs at the Jewett Gallery in the San Francisco Main Library from December 1 though February 10 (2013). His photographs— stirring, necessary, and often deeply joyous—depict a brave set of San Franciscans propelled by a spirit that was unable to “be extinguished by something as dispassionate as a plague.” We spoke with the Los Angeles photographer over email about his work and his mission as a young photographer “accidentally” working in the midst of a growing crisis.
ZYZZYVA: What were you doing in San Francisco in 1985, and how and why did you begin making
INTERVIEW: Thomas Alleman – “Dancing in the Dragon’s Jaws” (2012)
Dunnel, 2011 and Ernest, 2011 Courtesy Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco
By Allie Haeusslein, Gallery Manager at Pier 24 Photography
“[A] photograph is only a fragment, and with the passage of time its moorings come unstuck. It drifts away into a soft abstract pastness, open to any kind of reading.” – Susan Sontag, On Photography, p. 71.
As a professor at CalArts in the 1970s, John Baldessari used a rubber stamp on student work reading, “Nice idea, but it’s been done by blank,” filling in the empty space with the appropriate artist’s name. “That would never happen now,” he explained in a 2009 interview with arts editor Karen Wright, who probed, “[b]ecause it would be considered cruel?” He replied, “[b]ecause everything has been done. We just recycle stuff.”
Paul Schiek is no stranger to the practice of appropriation; he studied under Larry Sultan – who collaborated with Mike Mandel to produce Evidence, a collection of found and recontextualized
PAUL SCHIEK: “Dead Men Don’t Look Like Me” (2012)
Fourth of July Block Party, 1970 from the series Suburbia
Bill Owens – American Fine Arts, New York, New York, Originally published in ArtForum, December 1994 By Neville Wakefield
Though conspicuously absent from public collections, Bill Owens’ photo-chronicles of middle America belong alongside those of the better known “social landscape” photographers of the ’60s and ’70s: Diane Arbus, Bruce Davidson, Lee Friedlander, and Gary Winogrand. Why Owens has slipped through the net is hard to tell. Admittedly Owens’ subject–the quotidian as sanctified in form and ritual–lacks the instantaneous allure or fashion quotient of Davidson’s subcultures or Arbus’ freak shows. Also perhaps the texts that often accompany his images work better in the book form of Suburbia, 1968-72, Working (I do it for the Money), 1974-75, and Our Kind of People, 1969-74 (now out of print) than they do on gallery walls. None of which adequately explains the fact that this was his first solo show after nearly
BILL OWENS: “American Fine Arts” (1994)
Photographer Richard Misrach discusses the work on view at BAM/PFA. 1991: The Oakland-Berkeley Fire Aftermath,
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Chris McCaw investigates the primal side of photography by using its most basic components—a lens, time and light—resulting in one-of-a-kind prints in which the sun itself burns its mark on the paper. See his photograph in the exhibition, Heavens: Photographs of the Sky & Cosmos on view through November 13, 2011.
Legend 1 features Melissa Weiss (bikini) Legend 2 features Nicole Strada
Edited by James Davis
Assistant Editing by Nina Pessin Whidbee and Allison Hirsch
ASX CHANNEL: KATY GRANNAN
In 1977, photographers Larry Sultan (USA) and Mike Mandel (USA) published a book of photographs entitled Evidence. Accompanied by an exhibition in the same year at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, this project was the culmination of a three-year search through the files and archives of over one hundred American government agencies, educational institutions, and corporations, such as the Bechtel Corporation, General Atomic Company, Jet Propulsion Laboratories, the San Jose Police Department and the United States Department of the Interior.
The original pictures Sultan and Mandel collected were made as documents and objective records of activities and situations: the scenes of crimes, aeronautical engineering tests, industrial experiments, among other subjects. Sifting through some two million images, Mandel and Sultan assembled a careful sequence of 59 pictures.
Evidence is, as the artists stated back in the 1970s, ‘a poetic exploration upon the restructuring of imagery.’ Pictures that once served a functional purpose in the world are, in
SULTAN & MANDEL: “Evidence – Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel” (1977)