Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Duane Michals - ABCD, M for Magritte and more...

Duane Michals new bookwork - ABCD Duane - relates with his typical humour and wisdom, intimate themes of his life and art. The book is a scrapbook memoir illustrated by his works, from portraits of Magritte to Warhol, to painted tintypes, and the revolutionary multiple-image sequences and handwritten texts for which he is best known.

Michals' page on Magritte cuts straight to the chase. Magritte never disappointed. He transcended the obvious cultural cliches. All authentic artists invent their own mystery; they refuse to regurgitate a public domain vocabulary. One cannot duplicate their uniqueness. When I see a Magritte painting I know that nobody else could have come up with that particular notion, as private as poetry.

ABCD Duane is a wonderful book. It never disappoints.

Time Magazine says of the book - This is a retrospective not of Duane Michals' work but, rather, his sensibility. Here in one small volume is all the wit, charm, serious intent, and artfulness of Michals himself, plus his signature antic wisdom to make it a joyful ride.

And The Wall Street Journal - What is disarming and unique about Duane Michals' ideas is the humble means by which he chooses to translate them. His repertoire of special effects is stubbornly unflashy. Instead of smoke machines or lens distortion or solarized tone reversal, or anything in the digital toolbox, he makes long exposures and has his actors move. The treat of Mr. Michals' own art collection inlcudes drawings by Balthus, David Hockney, an etching by Giorgio Morandi and lithographs by Magritte. Most artists wouldn't risk the comparison. Mr. Michals has nothing to fear. His art doesn't look like anyone else's.

Duane Michals - Dr. Heisenberg's Magic Mirror of Uncertainty, 1998

Sunday, December 21, 2014

GOODNIGHT KIWI a New Zealand Video Art Festival

Before the advent of 24 hour broadcasting in 1994 the evening closedown of New Zealand state television was signaled first by a two-minute animation called the Goodnight Kiwi, then followed by several hours of either static or a television test pattern.

The 12 videos offered in this festival are a collection of alternative sign-offs, transitions into the post-broadcast hour and/or potential place holders to fill the twilight hours between regular broadcasts. Alternately humorous, abstract and challenging, Goodnight Kiwi presents a series of direct addresses to the viewer. Recognising the ubiquity of the internet across the globe, this programme is designed to be broadcast somewhere between the hours of 2-4am. Reflecting the often solitary and ritual nature of technological occupation, Goodnight Kiwi variously offers aesthetic transformation, mass media critique or moments of personal reflection arising from the effects of exhausted wakefulness.

GOODNIGHT KIWI is curated by Mark Williams founding director/curator of CIRCUIT Artist Film and Video Aotearoa New Zealand.

The image used in the graphic above is from my series Against Forgetting. You can see the complete body of this work on my website HERE.

The program runs until until January 4. You can go to the Festival page HERE.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Try Hard Magazine - Issue 6 on line now


Try Hard Magazine is an independent, online publication focused on showcasing the work of Australian, New Zealand and international photographers who may be living or working in either of those countries.
Try Hard Magazine also aims to encourage writers and academics to contribute original written content in the form of essays, interviews and book reviews that act to further the dialogue centered around the medium.
T H M is founded and curated by photographers Benjamin Chadbond and Patrick Mason.

Issue No 6 Features the work of KK+JLD, Max Creasy, Charlotte McInnes, Kate Beckingham, Kathrine Rooke, Naomi Riddle & Kuba Dorabialski and work from my new series and bookwork, You Won't Be With Me Tomorrow.

There is a lot to see and well worth a look. Go HERE.

KK+JLD - Going to sleep in a city that doesn't exist yet.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

PARIS - NOVEMBER 2014, a bookwork, No 7 in the series

As I've just returned from Paris, it seemed a new PARIS book should be in order. So here it is. The book is the same format as the previous PARIS bookworks and with an edition limited to 50 copies, each book signed and numbered. There are 28 photographs, over 28 pages, printed on 150gsm art paper, 226 x 160 mm. Below are some of the pages.

Copies can be obtained directly from me at: harvey.benge@xtra.co.nz
Prices are, €25 / £20 / US$32 / NZ$38, which include packing and postage. For payment you can simply log on to my PayPal account using my email address above.

Sunday, November 9, 2014


I'm in Paris next week and will be hanging out at PARIS PHOTO, Offprint and more...back in AK early December...will be signing my new bookwork - How Humans Made God - at PARIS PHOTO, Superlabo booth, Thursday 13, 5-6pm and Sunday 16, 2 -3pm.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Harvey Benge - Victory of the Trivial, at galerie spree, Paris

Harvey Benge - Victory of the Trivial, No12, 2008
 Opening tonight and running until December 31st galerie spree in Paris will be showing my Victory of the Trivial series. These table top still life images were made from items purchased from a local $2 shop (1 Euro or US 99 cents). My intention was to make something out of nothing.

Galerie spree, 11 rue lavieuville, 75018, Paris

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Fotobookfestival - Kassel, June 4 -7, 2015

The seventh edition of the Kassel Fotobookfestival will take place June 4 to 7 next year. In this edition the spotlight will be on the bookworks of Martin Parr. With an output of over 80 books of his own work plus 30 works that Parr has edited it's going to be a Parr book-lovers paradise. So many books, so little time.

You can go to the Kassel Fotobookfestival site HERE. And Martin Parr's site HERE.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Mark Power Reports

I have admired and respected Brighton based photographer Mark Power's work ever since I saw, back in 1997, his beautifully realized series and bookwork The Shipping Forecast. Now, many books and projects later, Mark has produced his first self-published book Die Mauer ist Weg!
Mark talks about the book in his first ever newsletter which arrived in my mail box this morning.

 I’m about to release my first self-published book, 'Die Mauer ist Weg!', under my new imprint, Globtik Books. As many of you already know, I was in Berlin by mistake when the Wall fell and, after a quarter of a century, I’ve finally got around to publishing a book. Released on November 9th, the day of the 25th anniversary, the book can be ordered directly from my website bookshop. If you pre-order before the 9th you’ll get it for the reduced price of £25 (plus postage). On and after the release date it’ll cost £30. I should perhaps also mention that there are just 1,000 copies, and I’ve had a lot of pre-orders. This does, I realise, sound like blatant sales-speak, but I thought you should know.

Mark also talks about several other projects he's been working on...




Mark Power's website is packed with wonderful material and well worth a look HERE.

Friday, October 24, 2014

PARIS PHOTO - Artist's books and photography

For Paris Photo Sebastian Hau and Pierre Hourquet have curated an exhibition of art books published between the 1960s and today, all of which which emphasize photography. Since the release of “Twenty-six Gasoline Stations” in 1963 by the American artist Edward Ruscha, the reproduction of photographic images is one of the preferred media for numerous international artists such as Andy Warhol, John Baldessari, Gilbert & George, Hans-Peter Feldmann and many others. This new type of book, whether a multiple object, a limited edition or unlimited publication, directly designed by the authors, has been adopted and taken up since the 1980s by photographers and contemporary artists such as Richard Prince, Christopher Wool, Wolfgang Tillmans, Sophie Calle, Mike Kelley, Gerhard Richter, Christian Marclay or Anselm Kiefer.

There are 75 books in the exhibition, you can see the complete list on line HERE.

John Baldessari - Brutus Killed Caesar, 1976

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Richard Prince Sucks - artnet news writer Paddy Johnson tells it like it is

Richard Prince - New Portraits, installation view. Photo: Paddy Johnson

It's refreshing to read Paddy Johnson's review on artnet news of Richard Prince's Gagosian NYC show and discover a critic who refuses to slip into empty adoring description and is not afraid to say what she thinks.

Richard Prince has taken over the Gagosian showroom located behind their bookstore on Madison Avenue. He's filled the space with 38 portraits, each 65 by 48 inches, taken from his Instagram feed. It's a stark room populated by Internet pages, printed on canvas, enlarged, and hung tightly together. The most remarkable feature of the show is that the printouts are reflected perfectly in Gagosian's shiny floor. Thin offerings for anyone who is in possession of a brain.

Among the Instagram posts Prince has selected are topless images of models (including Cara Stricker), artists posing suggestively (including Kay Goldberg), and salacious portraits of celebrities known for being pretty (including Pamela Anderson, Elizabeth Scarlett Jagger, and Kate Moss). Underneath the images and comments, Prince shares his thoughts...
He writes under young singer-songwriter Sky Ferreira's portrait of herself in the passenger seat of a red sports car: “Enjoyed the ride today. Let's do it again. Richard."

This kind of sexism isn't okay, and in this exhibition it's pervasive. 

You can read the complete review on artnet news HERE. And go to the artnet news site HERE.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

René Burri, 1933 - 2014 RIP


Swiss photographer René Burri known for his photos of major political, historical and cultural events and key figures of the second half of the 20th century died on Monday aged 81. Burri was a member of Magnum Photos and has been photographing political, military and artistic figures and scenes since 1946. He has made portraits of Che Guevara and Pablo Picasso as well as iconic pictures of São Paulo and Brasília.

René Burri was born in Switzerland in 1933 where he learned to play with his father’s camera. By the time he was 20, he was already a trained photographer of the Zurich School of Arts and Crafts and began documenting life as a cadet during his two years in military service.
Only after this did he have some contact with formal photography studios and starting his own projects. Before long he was published in French magazine Science & Vie and embarked on a trip to Paris to personally show his work to Magnum Photos.
David Seymour co-founder of Magnum was so impressed that he made Burri an associate member of the agency and arranged further assignments for him.

René Burri was a master of colour as well as black and white photography, one of the great figures of 20th century photography”. A true gentleman, he will be sorely missed.

When in 2007 I made my bookwork A Short History of Photography I asked a number of the photographers to sign their pages. The book included a tribute to René Burri's famous picture of the men on the roof made in São Paulo, Brazil in 1960. René graciously wrote: Dear Harvey, some of us are luckier than others, you got a woman between two men, I had to "deal" with four men on a roof!! Thanks, René Burri.

René Burri - São Paulo, 1960

Monday, October 20, 2014

Garry Winogrand at Jeu De Paume, Paris

Garry Winogrand - New York 1962
The block-buster Garry Winogrand show organised by San Francisco MoMA and the National Gallery of Art, Washington opened at Jeu De Paume, Paris last week. Perfectly timed for Paris Photo, it will run until 8 February 2015.

The Jeu de Paume presents the first retrospective in twenty-five years of the great American photographer, Garry Winogrand (1928–1984), who chronicled America in the post-war years. Winogrand is still relatively unknown because he left his work unfinished at the time of his death, but he is unquestionably one of the masters of American street photography, on a par with Walker Evans, Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander and William Klein.

Winogrand, who photographed “to see what the world looks like in photographs,” is famous for his photographs of New York and American life from the 1950s through the early 1980s.  “Garry Winogrand” brings together the artist’s most iconic images with newly printed photographs from his until now largely unexamined archive of late work, offering a rigorous overview of the photographer’s complete working life and revealing for the first time the full sweep of his career.

The photographs in the exhibition and the accompanying catalogue will create a vivid portrait of the artist, a chronicler of postwar America on a par with such figures as Norman Mailer and Robert Rauschenberg, who unflinchingly captured America’s wrenching swings between optimism and upheaval in the decades following World War II.

While Winogrand is widely considered to be one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century, his overall body of work and influence on the field remains incompletely explored. He was enormously prolific, but largely postponed the editing and printing of his work. Dying suddenly at the age of fifty-six, he left behind approximately 6,500 rolls of film (some 250,000 images) that he had never seen, as well as proof sheets from his earlier years that he had marked but never printed. Roughly half of the photographs in the exhibition have never been exhibited or published until now; over 100 have never before been printed.

“There exists in photography no other body of work of comparable size or quality that is so editorially unresolved,” says Rubinfien, who was among the youngest of Winogrand’s circle of friends in the 1970s. “This exhibition represents the first effort to comprehensively examine Winogrand’s unfinished work. It also aims to turn the presentation of his work away from topical editing and toward a freer organization that is faithful to his art’s essential spirit, thus enabling a new understanding of his oeuvre, even for those who think they know him.”

The exhibition is divided into three parts, each covering a broad variety of subjects found in Winogrand’s art : “Down from the Bronx” presents photographs taken for the most part in New York from his start in 1950 until 1971; “A Student of America” looks at work made in the same period during journeys outside New York; and “Boom and Bust” addresses Winogrand’s late period—from when he moved away from New York in 1971 until his death in 1984—with photographs from Texas and Southern California, as well as Chicago, Washington, Miami, and other locations. This third section also includes a small number of photographs Winogrand made on trips back to Manhattan, which express a sense of desolation unprecedented in his earlier work.

Winogrand was known as great talker with a flamboyant, forceful personality, and what he said accompanying his slide shows and lectures was often imaginative and very funny. Excerpts from a video made in 1977 will allow visitors to experience the living Winogrand.

The Guardian's Sean O'Hagan talks about Winogrand - the restless genius who gave street photography attitude - and the show HERE.

Garry Winogrand - New York 1960

Friday, October 17, 2014

Ed Ruscha - Auction record

Ed Ruscha - Double Standard, 1969

In their October 12 Modern Art and Design Auction Los Angeles Modern Auctions achieved  a new world auction record for the highest amount ever paid for any print by Ed Ruscha. Bidding drove the final price for Ruscha’s Double Standard, 1969, (Lot 75 est. $50,000 – 70,000) to $206,250.

In the same sale, LAMA also set new world records for Mike Kelley, and Robert Mapplethorpe, plus selling works by John Baldessari above pre-sale estimates.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

PHOTOBOOKSTORE UK - October photobook delights

UK's PHOTOBOOKSTORE always has an action packed mailing each month and October is no exception. Here are a few books that caught my eye.

Susanne Otterberg - No More Junk Mail Please
I could never have dreamed that my grandmother would become demented. She was always so alert, stubborn and strong. The book is about how she and I journeyed into a new world. She gave me the name Jens and was disappointed in me because I no longer came to visit her. Instead it was this Jens who was there helping her. I photographed her the whole time to try to understand what was happening inside her head, and it was also a way to handle my grief over losing her.

Jim Goldberg - Rich and Poor
From 1977 to 1985, Goldberg photographed the wealthy and destitute of San Francisco, creating a visual document that has since become a landmark work. Through the combination of text and photographs, Rich and Poor's mass appeal was instantly recognizable. In 1984 the series was exhibited alongside Robert Adams and Joel Sternfeld in the "Three Americans" exhibition at MoMA, and was published the following year by Random House. Out of print since 1985, Jim Goldberg's Rich and Poor has been completely re-designed and expanded by the artist for Steidl. Available for the first time in hardcover, Rich and Poor builds upon the classic combination of photographs and handwriting and adds a surplus of vintage material and contemporary photographs that have never been published or exhibited. The photographs in Rich and Poor constitute a shocking and gripping portrait of America during the 70's and 80's that remains just as relevant today. A Steidl reprint, 2014.

Olga Matveeva - Feud
Feud is the fraternal war in which the opposition parties often can’t explain its roots and its prime cause. It is some kind of certain sacral action reproducing itself. Actually it is very difficult to be aside of the situation. There is no chance not to react for information provocations, current news and you can’t avoid looking at falling down of Lenin’s monument, when you are in the center of events. The strategic lie generates aggression, and you inevitably become its partner.

The dissonance between common sense and reality is out of any understanding.
Feud is a category of intimate space. Close people who share common bed and who have common past, suddenly become real enemies. Everyone prepares his own concealed plan and builds the strategy of envision. Who started this provocation and what is the source of its nature? You are becoming dependent on it, as if it is some kind of a drug. You feel yourself as an animal in a cage, but you can’t jump out. War and hate here look like a passion, just like the filling and identification of yourself using your counterpart.

You can see a whole lot more HERE.

Monday, October 13, 2014

PARIS PHOTO - SUPER LABO book signings


Here are the SUPER LABO photobook signings scheduled so far for PARIS PHOTO 2014.
Thursday November 13
5-6 PM - HOW HUMANS MADE GOD by Harvey Benge
6-7 PM - NEW DOCUMENTARY by Takashi Homma     
Friday November 14
4-5 PM - NOIA by Antoine d'Agata
6-7 PM - KARAOKE SUNNE by JH Engström and Margot Wallard
Saturday November 15
3-4 PM - GLIMPSE by Joel Meyerowitz
4-5 PM - NOIA by Antoine d’Agata
6-7 PM - NEW DOCUMENTARY by Takashi Homma
Sunday November 16
2-3 PM - HOW HUMANS MADE GOD by Harvey Benge

Antoine d'Agata - NOIA

Antoine d'Agata - NOIA