June 22, 2007

a new american portrait

Benjamin_Donaldson_Lisa.jpgphoto by Benjamin Donaldson

Every blog that has anything to do with photography has mentioned the exhibition A New American Portrait opening today at the Jen Bekman Gallery. The opening will be packed so if you want to actually see the photographs, plan on arriving early or returning later in the week. This promises to be a killer show and perhaps one that surfs zeitgeist smartly enough to be an deemed an important one. Jen has mentioned she titled the show 'A New American Portrait' as opposed to 'The New America Portrait' because the natural limitations of her small gallery space placed certain constraints on the scope of the selection of images. My suggested remedy: expand the show into a book not bound by lack of wall space...

Full disclosure, I'm partnering with Jen on a new venture called 20x200. If you're curious, you can read more about it here and here. Much more on 20x200 soon.

posted at 12:43 AM by raul

Filed under: photography

TAGS: 20x200 (7) jen bekman (3) portraits (9)


06/22/07 11:13 AM

You people in New York are so lucky. I have to drive 3 hours to Chicago to see any decent photography and even then it's often slim pickins.

I don't know if the images online represent the entire show and maybe this speaks to the specific 'A' as opposed to the authoritative 'The' but I wonder where all the non-white people are in this American Portrait.

06/23/07 05:20 PM

Raul, thanks for the very kind words - as you know Ben's photo above is a favorite of mine. The one that's currently in the show usually hangs in my home.

Justin - you do indeed hit on part of the reason for "A" rather tha "The". I'd love to see anyone come up with THE New American Portrait and succeed, but I think that's a fool's errand right there. I didn't want to sign myself up for that job!

The exhibition is not meant to portray Americans in any definitive way - it's very much about the practice of portraiture as it's happening in contemporary color photography in this country at this moment. Were it an exhibition meant to portray Americans, it would be entirely different show.

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