Curators and Collectors at AIPAD 2012 Panels

This year AIPAD held five panels, here are my notes from two that I was able to attend. 


Panel #1 

Curator's Choice: Emerging Artists in Photography 

The three curators on this panel presented their picks of emerging artists/photographers:

Joshua Chuang - Associate Curator, Photography at Yale University Art Gallery 
  • Owen Kydd -
  • I came late to this panel so I didn't get Chuang's other picks.

Sarah Meister - Curator, Photography at The Museum of Modern Art, New York
  • Michele Abeles - Featured in MOMA's 2012 New Photography show this Fall.
  • Birdhead - Two young Shanghai photographers who arrange personal snapshots of their life in China in horizontal and vertical grids.
  • Moyra Davey - Featured in 2011 New Photography show. Davey is one of my professors at ICP-Bard this semester.
  • Elad Lassry - Isreali
  • Hank Willis Thomas - African American  



Christopher Phillips - Curator, International Center of Photography, New York
  • Zhipeng Lin - Chinese
     
  • Michelle Charles - a painter now working in photography by drawing with liquid emulsion on negatives with her eyes closed
  • Sam Falls - a 2010 ICP-Bard MFA graduate, Falls has self-published over 200 books of his own work.
  • Taewon Jang - Korean, a 2006 Columbia MFA graduate
Chinese photographers came up several times during this panel. Considering how hot China's photography market is, the moderator then asked the curators, "What's the next China"? Other countries to watch that were mentioned by the curators include Korea, Brazil, South Africa and although not a country, Los Angeles, CA was touted for it's scene.

All three curators agreed hands down that they don't host portfolio interviews, specifically because over the years that they did host them they never acquired photography for their collections this way. Perhaps this supports the argument that portfolio reviews are a waste of money. The curators said that they pay attention to recommendations of artists/photographers from other artists/photographers. So start networking and building relationships with your colleagues and mentors!

A hot topic was also the extinction of "analog" photography with Christopher Phillips sharing how his undergraduate students at New York University refuse to take any darkroom and printing classes because for them contemporary photography is strictly digital and exists only online. 

Panel #2 
How to Collect Photographs: What Collectors Need to Know

Honestly, I wanted to attend this panel to get insights as to how it could inform the marketing and sale of my own work. Yet I left the panel eager to start my own photography collection - as soon as I have more space to hang and store works in my home! 

Panelists:

Joseph Baio - Collector, New York
Kenneth Montague - Director at Wedge Curatorial Projects (Toronto, Canada)

Private collector Joseph Baio shared selections from his 2,000+ images in his collection which is mostly focused on photographs of children that span photography history from Julia Margaret Cameron to Elinor Carucci.

Some tips he offered for collectors:
  1. Most collectors don't start with a theme but they do develop one over time.
  2. Charity auctions are a good place to start your collection because of "affordable" prices.
  3. Dan Cooney Fine Art has several online auctions.
  4. Phillips de Pury auction prices have a wide range; something for everyone.
  5. If you don't manage to win the bid at an auction, check with the gallery afterwards - they usually have the same or other prints for sale at cheaper prices.
Kenneth Montague (who is a practicing dentist in Toronto) of Wedge Curatorial Projects started his collection with the works of African photography greats like Seydou Keita and Malick SidibĂ©. As a Black Canadian of Jamaican heritage, Montague came to photography with an interest in works that focus on identity but after advice from Thelma Golden (Director of The Studio Museum in Harlem) who told him that he he should "bring the local and make it global," Montague developed an interest in Canadian photographers. In 2010 Montague curated "Position as Desired/Exploring African-Canadian Identity" at the Royal Ontario Museum.

Montague's mission is to "wedge" artists into the maintstream of contemporary art and one piece of (contestable) advice he gave to new collectors was that sometimes a well-printed image by a new photographer is worth more than a beat up vintage print.

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