This weekend's Paris Photo Los Angeles comprises can't-miss images, films, and other artworks.
The atmosphere at Paris Photo LA.
Picture it: A photography fair from Paris transplanted to Los Angeles and playing out on the streets of New York City. This unlikely, globe-trotting premise got the green light last year and returns today (Friday, April 25) through Sunday, April 27, to the cavernous soundstages and ersatz urban backlots of Paramount Pictures Studios as Paris Photo Los Angeles.
“I want to make sure that photography is not perceived as a self-contained form of art,” said fair director Julien Frydman as the likes of Brad Pitt and Jodie Foster took in the VIP preview alongside museum directors such as Joanne Heyler of The Broad and Ann Philbin of the Hammer. “It has to be put in relation to the history of art and various practices. We try to give you different ways of entering into what is photography today.” Here are a look at some of those ways through highlights from the more than 80 exhibiting galleries and dealers from 18 countries.
New York’s 303 Gallery is presenting a solo show of the work of Stephen Shore, who will be at the fair as part of the “Sound & Vision” series of conversations organized by curator Douglas Fogle. “Stephen is a legendary photographer, working in the medium beginning with a very conceptual moment in his career and moving to become one of America’s great living landscape photographers,” says Fogle. Pictured here is Shore’s Winslow, Arizona, September 19, 2013 (2013).
The “Unedited” program, which seeks out and showcases archival material that has rarely been seen, debuts with a dazzling and often grisly exhibition of photographs from the archives of the Los Angeles Police Department. “A piece may have been done in a certain context—documenting a crime scene, for example—but if you look at these strong images in a different way, there is really a lot to discover,” says Frydman.
LA-based M+B Gallery has taken over a storefront of Paramount’s New York backlot to present a solo exhibition of the work of Mariah Robertson, who experiments with chemical treatments to create abstract works that push the boundaries of photography.
The BMW 850CSi customized by artist David Hockney in 1995 is parked on one of the soundstages as part of the car company’s sponsorship of the fair. “Every artist selected to make a BMW Art Car can do anything they want with the car,” says Thomas Girst, head of cultural engagement for BMW. Hockney requested that the car be fitted with a special seat for his beloved daschunds. “He wanted them to be able to look out the window—and he had our engineers add a special irrigation system to the car so that they would always have fresh water.”
Another photograph that engages directly with art history is Timotheus Tomicek’s Sophia Revant (2008), exhibited by Jenkins Johnson Gallery of San Francisco and New York. The work is a photographic recreation to the famous Balthus painting, Thérèse Dreaming (1934).
The sophomore edition of Paris Photo Los Angeles includes an increased focus on film and video works. The Last Movie, a rare 1971 film by Dennis Hopper, is being screened in Paramount’s 500-seat theater. “It’s an art piece. It’s really something amazing,” says Frydman. “The film is really questioning, ‘What is cinema?’ And what it means to be somewhere, to make a film, and what is this form of language.”
In the midst of Hollywood movie magic and impressive feats of Photoshop, Thierry Fontaine’s Le fabricant de rêve (2008), exhibited by Paris-based Galerie Les Filles du Calvaire, depicts a delightful analog feat of transformation: from coconuts to soccer balls.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JEFF MCLANE (ATMOSPHERE, ROBERTSON/M+B GALLERY); © STEPHEN SHORE, COURTESY 303 GALLERY, NEW YORK (SHORE); STEPHANIE MURG (LAPD, BESS); COURTESY BMW (ART CAR); (C) MICHAEL SOMOROFF, COURTESY OF FEROZ GALERIE, BONN (SOMOROFF); COURTESY JENSKINS JOHNSON GALLERY (TOMICEK); © THE HOPPER ART TRUST; COURTESY GALERIE LES FILLES DU CALVAIRE (FONTAINE)