International Center of Photography Reopens at its new Bowery Location by Raymond Merritt

            The International Center of Photography opened the doors to its new home at 250 Bowery on June 23rd. This is the third home for the ICP since it was founded in 1974 by Cornell Capa, and it is its boldest one yet. With an expansive 90-foot glass-fronted public space looking out onto the street, it is hard to miss. ICP Executive Director Mark Lubell hopes that this frontage will provide easy accessibility for the passing public, with a “real two-way conversation with the street.” This incredible new space, just a stone’s throw from the New Museum, promises to bring photography back into the forefront of art conversations and serve as a landmark in the burgeoning downtown gallery scene.

            Matching the ICP’s bold redesign is the institute’s decision to undergo a kind of rethinking of how it presents photography in relation to society’s ongoing digital revolution. Since the institute’s founding in 1974, there have been immense changes in how photographs are captured. For their first show in the new space, “Public, Private, Secret,” the ICP is addressing that issue head-on. The exhibition uses streaming images, videos, CCTV footage and photographs to examine privacy, surveillance, and images’ effects on self-identity. With mirrored walls backing many of the pieces, it is designed to make you reflect on “selfie culture” and how we perceive ourselves amidst images that are disturbing at times.

            It is a fitting show for a gallery space that finds itself newly rebuilt in the dynamic landscape of the downtown arts scene, as the institute as a whole tries to reimagine what it means to be a photographer in today’s ever-streaming world. For more information about the ICP, including hours and admission prices, please visit their website here

“You Press the Button - We Do the Rest.” by Raymond Merritt

George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY

Back before Instagram and Snapchat took over photography, you couldn’t help but think of Kodak when you reached for a camera. Whether you had a Brownie or an Instamatic, chances are you’ve used a Kodak camera, the first widely available consumer camera, to capture family moments or to document your travels. “You press the button - we do the rest.”

Maybe you even know about George Eastman, the founder of Kodak, inventor of the first transparent photographic “film” as we know it today. His legacy and collections of photographs and cameras lives on in his very own home in beautiful Rochester, NY.

This past year, the world-renowned George Eastman House changed its name to the George Eastman Museum. This small name change now reflects its educational magnitude. When you arrive, you can’t help but be charmed by its classic architecture and delightful landscaping. Don’t let its homestead appearance fool you, attached it also houses a traditional fine art museum and a research building specializing in photography.

 The meticulously renovated and replicated home portion of the Eastman Museum displays George Eastman’s domestic environment where you can view his personal library, collectibles, and Kodak ephemera. Once you’ve explored the home, you can visit the contemporary photography shows in the traditional museum portion.

The current exhibitions include Lorna Bieber: FabricationsTaryn Simon: Birds of the West Indies, and Collecting Shadows: The Legacy of James Card. The museum also has permanent exhibitions of A History of Photography and The Revolutionary Kodak, which display a rotation of photographs from various points in history and a timeline collection of Kodak cameras.

While planning a potential visit, make sure to check out the details of their current exhibitions at www.eastman.org/exhibitions. The advantage of a visit to the Eastman Museum is the simultaneous appreciation of classic and contemporary photographic art. Like an old friend back with fresh and exciting stories to tell, the Eastman Museum never disappoints.

The Artist Project by Raymond Merritt

For the (long overdue) first post of 2016, we at Summit Art Advisory would like to direct your attention to a fascinating initiative from The Metropolitan Museum of Art. For anyone who's visited the Met in person, you know just how many different types of objects they have in their collection. From Egyptian mummies to El Greco paintings to Islamic tapestries to modern photography, the Met's collection is quite literally an encyclopedic assemblage of the world history of art.

With such a varied collection comes The Artist Project, a web series produced by the Met that asks artists from varied backgrounds to describe their favorite work in the Museum. Each video is two to three minutes long and provides insight into how artists draw inspiration from art of all kinds. There is James Nares talking about Chinese calligraphy, Wayne Thiebaud discussing his favorite painting, and Nick Cave analyzing the patterns and functions of the Kuba cloths.

You can watch The Artist Project episodes online here. Even better, though, would be to go visit the Met yourself and find your own favorite piece of art.

We Are All Photographers by Raymond Merritt

Ralph Gibson

Ralph Gibson

One of the best advances of the past decade has been the increasing amount of TED Talks available online. Photographer Ralph Gibson recently added his own TED Talk to the mix, speaking recently as part of TEDxFulbrightSantaMonica.

Gibson's Talk runs through his entire career as he speaks about "Finding A Visual Identity in the Digital Age." The gist of his talk is that we all have our own visual identity, that we all have a series of shapes, colors, and patterns that our eyes pick up on as we bring a camera, or smartphone, into focus. Gibson urges us to view the digital camera as a means of expressing what our brains and eyes pick up as we move about the world. Because, with the proliferation of photographs in this digital age with Instagram and Snapchat booming, we are all photographers.

Who Has Our Faces? by Raymond Merritt

A Selfie in Space

A Selfie in Space

Photography professor, curator, appraiser, and commentator Marvin Heiferman is at it again. Heiferman was recently published in a New York Times Lens Blog article on the changing nature of portraits. 

In the article, Heiferman notes the important role that portraiture plays in our lives, and how that has changed. Back in the early days of photography, having your picture taken was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Now, there are more than a million selfies taken every day.

Perhaps more importantly than all the selfies being taken, however, is the increasing role of portraiture in public, as retail stores and government entities collect our facial data for a myriad of reasons. And in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks, it's likely that facial recognition software will play an increasing role in anti-terrorism campaigns around the world. 

For a greater look into the significance of portraiture in our complex society, read through Heiferman's article here.

A Loan For Your Picasso by Raymond Merritt

Pablo Picasso,  Les femmes d'Alger (Version 'O'),  1955

Pablo Picasso, Les femmes d'Alger (Version 'O'), 1955

It turns out that Wall Street is increasingly becoming more interested in the art world. Two major financial firms recently announced initiatives to integrate themselves into the art market. With eye-popping auction results at each new contemporary sale at Christie's and Sotheby's, how could Wall Street ignore the art boom?

Private equity firm The Carlyle Group recently announced an art financing venture called the Athena Art Finance Corporation. Put simply, Athena will allow collectors to borrow money against their art collections. Say you own a $50 million Picasso painting. You will now be able to head to Athena's offices to take out a loan for up to $25 million in cash. As long as you pay your loan back in time, that Picasso gets to keep decorating your living room. See the New York Times announcement of the Athena lending operation here.

Elsewhere on Wall Street, Morgan Stanley has announced the Blue Rider Group within their Private Wealth Management division. As Citigroup recently did as well, Morgan Stanley has recognized that there is a demand amongst high-net-worth individuals for financial services related to their art collections. Morgan Stanley's Blue Rider Group consists of three professionals with experience in the worlds of both art and finance. This experience allows the Blue Rider Group to provide advice to clients on constructing a collection, as well as to lend money against those collections similarly to the aforementioned Athena group. Read the artnet article on the Blue Rider Group here.

It is clear, with major players like Carlyle and Morgan Stanley increasingly entering the art finance field, that Wall Street is well aware of the art world. With works selling at auction for $179 million, how could they not?

BRASIL: A Photobook by Raymond Merritt

Kristin Capp,  Ordem e Progresso, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,  2003

Kristin Capp, Ordem e Progresso, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2003

One of Summit Art Advisory's favorite photographers, Kristin Capp, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the printing of her new book, Brasil. Capp spent eight years photographing the rich culture of the Brazilian nation and it shows in her gorgeous shots of the country and people. Help bring these images to life by backing the photobook here.


Instagram and Politics: We Want Your "Likes" by Raymond Merritt

Photography Curator Marvin Heiferman

Photography Curator Marvin Heiferman

Recently featured on the New York Times Lens Blog, Marvin Heiferman analyzes the role photography, and, more specifically, Instagram, is playing in the current Presidential campaign. A trusted friend of Summit Art Advisory for many years, Heiferman's acclaim in the photography world is second to none. He recently published the book Photography Changes Everything, in which he argues how photography impacts literally every aspect of society. In no place is this thesis more evident than in the Presidential campaign and Heiferman continues this analysis in his Lens Blog post. For anyone who's enjoyed watching "The Donald" interact with the rest of the Republican field, you'll want to read Heiferman's thoughts on how each candidate is using Instagram to his or her advantage, and how it could also lead to their downfall.

The Act of Looking by Raymond Merritt

Ralph Gibson

Ralph Gibson

A trusted friend and collaborator with Summit Art Advisory for many years, renowned photographer Ralph Gibson will be showing his work in a new exhibition at Mary Boone Gallery this fall. Opening on September 10th and running through October 31st, Political Abstraction is a series of diptychs in which images are paired together to create a new work that hinges on their juxtaposition. Furthermore, as the Mary Boone press release states, "the subject of the work becomes not the individual images, or their juxtaposition, but the act of looking."

This show continues Gibson's recent run in the press. In August, the photographer led a discussion on Andreas Gursky's exhibition at the Parrish Art Museum. In addition, Gibson was recently appointed Chair of the Department of Contemporary Photography at the New York Film Academy. In all, Gibson is a prolific artist who continues to add iconic works to the photographic canon. In addition to the exhibition at Mary Boone Gallery this fall, Gibson's Lustrum Press will be releasing a monograph entitled Ralph Gibson: Political Abstraction to coincide with the show. Find more information about the exhibition and where to view it on Mary Boone Gallery's website.

East End Art by Raymond Merritt

Roy Lichtenstein,  Sunrise,  1965

Roy Lichtenstein, Sunrise, 1965

Just a few hours away from New York City, the Hamptons have long been a summer getaway spot for artists and other members of the art world. For those not invited to the celebrity-filled art galas out on Long Island's East End, Water Mill's Parish Art Museum and East Hampton's Guild Hall are providing summer art experiences for the masses.

The recently renovated Parish Art Museum boasts a phenomenal new exhibit of photographs by Andreas Gursky. Known for being the artist of the most expensive photograph ever sold at auction ($4.3 million at Christie's in 2011), Gursky creates some of the most unique photographs in the world, playing with color, scale, and form.

Andreas Gursky,  99 Cent,  1999

Andreas Gursky, 99 Cent, 1999

Just down the road from the Parish is Guild Hall in East Hampton. With free admission, and a show of legendary pop artist, Roy Lichtenstein's work, you'll want to continue your gallery tours before hitting the beach. Fittingly, the Guild Hall show is entitled, Between Sea and Sky, and presents Lichtenstein's exploration of land and seascapes, with his signature pop style still visible. 

Art Collector's Training Camp by Raymond Merritt

With multi-million dollar auction records being broken at Christie's and Sotheby's regularly, it's no secret that art is increasingly being used as an alternative investment. Collectors are now purchasing the latest Picasso to not only show it off at their next dinner party, but also to save for their children's children's college education. 

A recent Bloomberg Business article discusses Citigroup's newest strategy to win wealth management clients: by sending the children of existing clients to art collecting training camp. As the NFL kicks off their own training camps this week, Citi Private Bank is trying to keep the assets of wealthy families under Citi's management as they are transferred to the next generation. Attendees of the Citi training camp learned how to value works of art, including analyzing the quality and provenance of a piece. Other banks, including Deutsche Bank, UBS, and Credit Suisse run similar programs around the world.

Regardless of whether your collection will include the latest record-setting contemporary painting, you can be sure that art is progressively gaining a larger part of the savvy investor's overall strategy. Read the Bloomberg story here.

Mary Ellen Mark by Raymond Merritt

Ralph Gibson,  Mary Ellen Mark,  1967

Ralph Gibson, Mary Ellen Mark, 1967

The art world lost a legend recently. Mary Ellen Mark, the world-renowned documentary photographer who influenced a generation of photographers and inspired women around the world to take up their cameras, died at the age of 75 in late May. 

Summit Art Advisory had the pleasure of working with Mary Ellen over the years and we will certainly feel the loss of her presence. She will live on, as with all great photographers, through her work, which focused on the outer-edges of societies around the world. For a great read on Mary Ellen's life, check out the obituary published online by TIME hereIt features a great shot of Mary Ellen from the late 60s, seen above, taken by another SAA confidant, Ralph Gibson.