Thoughts from Paris Photo 2014 by Penelope Dixon
Many people attending the fair this year agreed that there was a better selection of works than we could recall seeing in past years. I’m not sure of why: perhaps the selection of galleries reflected a more conservative, and aesthetically pleasing, taste. There was a good selection of earlier vintage works which were complemented by many more good contemporary works.
I was struck by the preponderance of photographs, especially portraits, that were on walls in grids. After walking through the whole fair it seemed to me that there were examples of this in a large number of booths. A couple of examples can be seen below.
Also, there seemed to be a great deal of portraits of people of color, often elaborately dressed, as well as the usual number of nude studies. Again, examples, just a few, are below.
Anyone going to Paris Photo over a number of years must realize the importance of the fair organizer, Julien Frydman and his relations manager , Damien Thomasse. They keep things running incredibly smoothly (although of course there will always be the requisite complaints…and the food could be improved, and made a bit less expensive; this is an ongoing gripe).
There was a very moving memorial held for the esteemed dealer (and colleague since we met in 1976 in Paris), Rudolf Kicken. It was beautifully presented by his wife Annette and many of his friends and colleagues spoke of Rudi’s keen aesthetics, humor and humanity and great love of the photographic image.
There were also many excellent “Conversations” between artists and curators and dealers. One very good panel on collecting was moderated by the American dealer, Rick Wester, who was accompanied by collectors, curators, an artist and another dealer. The primary point made during the session was the importance of actually “seeing” works of art in person. That, although the Internet, and our ipads are great vehicles for showing art, they cannot replace the experience of looking directly at a piece, and interfacing with the dealer, gallery or artist.
Accoding to Nancy Lieberman of the Howard Greenberg Gallery this year’s fair was one of the best of all time with “huge crowds, great energy, and excellent sales.”
Here are some examples of works at the fair….
Christopher Thomas, Arc de Triomphe I, 2013
As evidenced by the red dots, Diop’s work had the most sold photographs seen at the fair.
During the fair we also saw Elliot Erwitt and Massimo Vitali….
And lastly, we have a view of a booth at the fair.