acid tripping families and 50s african youth: highlights from the aipad photography show
We round up the most stunning series and most intriguing booths at the 36th annual Photography Show, kicking off in New York today.
Calling all photobook nerds: the 36th annual Photography Show opens to the public at the Park Avenue Armory today. Presented by the Association of International Photography Art Dealers (or AIPAD), the show brings together 85 of the world's leading photography art galleries, showcasing thousands of provocative classical and contemporary images. We've rounded up five of our favourite exhibitors and spotlighted the bodies of work we're most excited to see at their booths. Though this selection represents just a fraction of the fantastic work on view, there's great diversity among the photographers and their subjects, from Staley-Wise Gallery's collection of decade-spanning fashion imagery to Harper's Books' presentation of O.G. Robert "Big Bob" Johnson's archive — a clutch of compelling street scenes shot in 90s Southern California.
The Family Acid at Benrubi Gallery
The Chelsea gallery time travels back to the psychedelic 70s with an exciting selection of photographs from The Family Acid, the collaborative practice of real-life family Roger, Mary, Kate and Devon Steffens. Roger and Mary first met while tripping on acid at a hippie fair in northern California in 1975. The pair documented their surreal, sun-soaked experiences riding America's countercultural wave, shooting breathtaking scenes of the Big Sur landscape and capturing the loveable burnouts and beatnicks they met along the way. But it was only when Devon and Kate began scanning their parents' 40,000 Kodachrome slides and color prints that the project — which has since been published as a book — was born. Benrubi Gallery showcases just a sliver of this fascinatingly fun American history, located at booth 319 (4A).
O.G. Robert "Big Bob" Johnson at Harper's Books
Earlier this year, the East Hampton-based rare bookshop and gallery brought a new series of Harmony Korine's googly-eyed illustrations out west for the LA Art Book Fair. It seems Harper's Books has transported a little SoCal back home. Our favourite series at the institution's AIPAD booth is slice of O.G. Robert "Big Bob" Johnson's 90s image archive. A photographer and former prominent gang member, Big Bob captured everyday life in Los Angeles with soft-hued elegance. His images depict the immaculate muscle cars at the centre of region's vibrant sideshow culture, and provide an intimate window into SoCal's signature style. Harper's Books is located at booth 314 (1).
20th-century cool at Gallery FIFTY ONE
This Antwerp-based gallery specialiSing in classic, contemporary, and, most excitingly, African photography has ventured across the pond with a unique offering. Get stoked to see some of Seydou Keïta's 50s snaps of Malian youth, Malick Sidibe's motorcycle portraits photographed in the early-60s, and Harry Gruyaert's 80s street scenes — stunning shots captured in Paris and Los Angeles. Promising work by Jan Yoors and Robert Frank, too, Gallery FIFTY ONE presents some of the 20th century's most compelling scenes and styles. It's located at booth 217 (2).
Fashion photography at Staley-Wise Gallery
Though the New York-based gallery is exhibiting a wide selection of images, we're most excited to see its focus on fashion photography. Staley-Wise's booth spotlights contemporary editorials by Patrick Demarchelier and David La Chapelle, but also turns back the clock to iconic moments in fashion image-making history. Deborah Turbeville's bathhouse beauties — photographed for Vogue in 1975 and the subject of a Staley-Wise exhibition last year — are a festival highlight. The shoot makes a profound gesture towards exploring the interior life of women, and remains one of the magazine's most quietly powerful series to date. Staley-Wise Gallery is located at booth 121 (3A).
Dennis Stock, James Dean, Fairmount, Indiana. 1955.
American icons at Danziger Gallery
The leading Lower East Side institution is showcasing a heavy-hitting roster of photographers, uniting Harlem Renaissance portraitist James Van Der Zee, street photography pioneer Mark Cohen, and Bronx-born documentarian Garry Winogrand. In addition to these masters, Danziger has a few American stars stacked amongst its subjects, too. There's Dennis Stock's shot of a young James Dean and his pet pig, one of Julian Wasser's iconic photographs of voice of a generation (and part-time Céline campaign girl) Joan Didion, and a few of Andy Warhol's portraits, including candid snaps of rock goddess Debbie Harry and celebrated Mets pitcher Tom Seaver. Danziger Gallery is located at booth 319 (4A).
Text Emily Manning
Lead Image: Roger Steffens and the Family Acid, Sunny Silver Man, January 1979, 1979. Courtesy of the artist and Benrubi Gallery, New York