For the second consecutive year, prestigious contemporary and modern photography fair Paris Photo Los Angeles called Paramount Pictures Studios home this past weekend, 25-27 April 2014. With the plaster-cast streets of NYC again as the backdrop, the gallery and exhibition spaces continued to play a part in the expanding show, allowing visitors to explore art behind the open doors of brownstones, diners and cafés at will. The surreal experience allowed the mind to wander in time and place, giving the art an all new dimension.
In total, 80 galleries and independent art book dealers from 18 countries were present. As part of the film screening section of the fair, visitors were free to browse a selection of rare photographs by famed actor, director and artist Dennis Hopper, as well as witness a screening of his 1971 cult film, "The Last Movie." Accompanying the photography and film selections shown, BMW offered an opportunity to see their 14th Art Car—a 850CSi painted by David Hockney in 1995—in celebration of the soon-to-be-released BMW Art Cars book. While the fair as a whole was nothing short of inspiring, the five following pieces and shows are particularly worth highlighting.
Showing a chilling collection of rarely seen photographs from the Los Angeles Police Department, "UNEDITED! : The LAPD Photo Archives" offered an incredible opportunity to step back in time. From startling portraits of deceased John and Jane Does to images of Miles Davis' track-mark-ridden arms and mugshots of the Manson Family taken just after the infamous Tate residence murders, the exhibition was certainly captivating. Not only are the images striking for their forceful content, but the mostly unknown police photographers' precision and calculated composition create an interesting parallel between legal work and the artistic eye.
Experimenting with light, space and perception, artist Doug Prince's "Photo-Sculpture, 1972-2000" series presented by Edelman Gallery was a curious diversion from what most other galleries presented. Created in an edition of 20, the 5x5 inch plexiglass boxes each house a series of suspended film negatives, while a light box behind the works illuminates the subject to create a clever sense of depth and expression.
As one of the most exciting contemporary photographers working today, Ryan McGinley is far from an unknown. Nonetheless, we were drawn to his 2013 series of vibrant portraits titled "You and My Friends 4." Presented in a massive grid, the intimate portraits capture a fleeting feeling of youth and rebellion—reminiscent of Ed Templeton's "Teenage Smokers" series, yet decisively characteristic of McGinley.
Spain-born Cristiana Del Middel presented her "Party" series Stateside for the first time at the show. By pairing edited passages from Chairman Mao's "Little Red Book" and images of contemporary China, Del Middel opens an interesting dialogue on two conflicting ideas. An image of a carnival ride paired with the passage "over and over again in an endless spiral" could be a comment on history repeating itself, while the text "If there is going to a revolution, there must be a party" omits one central word and thus reshapes the sentence in a Western ideal. The concept is simple, yet effective.
Berlin-based Loock Galerie presented a small series of photographs by LA-based Charlie White titled "Self Portrait." Images depict nude models—though they appear more everyday than runway—or, in contrast, heaping stacks of food items from fruit and vegetables to donuts and desserts. Each photographed on dot grid paper, the colorful and cleverly staged images demonstrate the impressive eye of the photographer and filmmaker.
Paris Photo Los Angles will likely return to Paramount Pictures Studios in 2015. Until then, visit Paris Photo online for a thorough look at the galleries and art book dealers involved.
Photos by Graham Hiemstra