Photography & Art

Phantom Kingdom: Understanding Syria and American Photojournalism

Mike Mariani

The conflict in Syria, the latest and longest revolution to come from the Arab Spring, began in March 2011. As of January 2, at least 60,000 people have died from the conflict, the vast majority of which were civilians. For what is now approaching two years it has been a bloody, messy war, with no definitive front but instead scattershot clashes in Homs, Damascus, Aleppo, and countless other cities. All the while, photojournalists have fearlessly tried to tell the story of Syria. Journalists are risking their lives in the irrepressible hope that these photos, these images, will make a difference. 

Beyond Hollywood: New Exhibit Features Photos from Rural California

Tara Taghizadeh

In many people's experience, California consists of Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Francisco, and the highways that connect them. In reality, these urban centers make up only a fraction of the whole. According to the 2010 Census, geographically the state of California is more than 94 percent rural. Surprise Valley, Lost Hills, Raisin City, Mecca -- these are the communities that make up "the rest" of California. Photographer Lisa M. Hamilton  has delved into the collections of the California Historical Society to connect present-day stories with the past to create I See Beauty in This Life: A Photographer Looks at 100 Years of Rural California.

Faces of India: A Journey Through Photographs

John Torrente

My senses are overrun – a foraging pendulum grasping the air. Begging for answers. Who constructed the pieces of this puzzle? India. I’m a visitor in this enigmatic southern village; an Oceanside town smothered by coconut trees and heavy rainfall. Broken dirt roads lie flooded. Men wearing dhotis drift by. Women walk in small packs, in silence, their solemn majesty reined beneath an ornate sari. I haven’t slept. The undulating energy of this country has found its way into my soul. And I don’t want to miss a beat. 

From Master Juba to ‘Happy Feet’: A Brief History of Tap Dancing

Beth Kaiserman

Florenz Ziegfeld featured tap in his revues, including 50 tap dancers in the first Ziegfeld Follies in 1907. Aside from featuring big names like Fred Astaire, he also hired choreographers and dance directors to ensure the form was receiving particular attention. Tap became more popular as a result. Ned Wayburn was a hugely influential dance director. Aside from inspiring Fred Astaire to switch from ballet to tap, he also coined the term ‘tap dance.’

American Spirits: A Look Back at the Prohibition Era

Sandra Bertrand

More than 100 rare artifacts are displayed at the American Spirits exhibit, including such curiosities as the original paraphernalia for making moonshine at home, ratification copies of the 18th and 21st Amendments and a collection of Roaring Twenties dresses. The flask collection alone show you how far camouflage was carried to hide the “hooch.”  One bar set, “Mr. Dry,” is in the shape of a casket, with the cork-headed corpse concealing a corkscrew body.  Even Carrie Nation’s own hatchet from one of many barroom-smashing raids is on display. 

Eddie Granger Takes an Uninhibited, Optimistic Approach to Creating Masterful Art

Kristin Sancken

New York-based artist Eddie Granger has made it his artistic mission to bring back the somewhat unfashionable idea of optimism. “I’m tired of seeing art that is silent or morbid,” he explains. “Everyone thinks that art needs to be really sensitive or dark. Can we divert from this dark place everyone thinks they need to go? Can we do something different?” Originally from Louisiana, Granger has recently begun to make a name for himself in the New York City art world through his assemblage work formed entirely of cut crayons. 

‘Secret City’ Shines a Spotlight on New York Artists

Enzo Scavone

Once a month, on Sunday at 11:30 a.m., art enthusiasts meet at Dixon Place on the Lower East Side in New York for an event called “Secret City.” Led by Chris Wells, the participants enjoy each other’s company, look for support, and worship art. The Secret City is very popular among its followers and has been growing ever since its establishment in 2007. The event takes place in a theater and lasts an hour and a half. Under Wells’ direction, it features a band, singers, a mingling exercise, storytelling, and a discussion about the work of a monthly-changing artist who has been invited to speak. The audience can talk directly with the artist and hear more about his or her creative process. 

Lost in Paradise: The New Exhibition of A&E Projects

Tara Taghizadeh

Shezad Dawood’s Pakistani, Indian, Irish and British roots are the origin of his rich and mixed artistic approach. Dawood’s colorful installations made of neons and tribal textiles laid on canvas translate his interest in exoticism, poetry and joy. “The Jewels of Aptor” comprises a taxidermied bird suspended amongst fluorescent neon hoops. This work refers directly to the 12th century poem “The Conference of the Birds” by Farid Al-Din Attar as well as J.G. Ballard’s novel, The Unlimited Dream Company

There is More to the Story

Monika Sziladi and Hrvoje Slovenc

Focusing on the inherent tension between reality and fiction in photography, Mónika Sziládi’s digital collage constructions investigate the complexities of human behavior and group dynamics. Her photographs illustrate the paradoxical relationship between the multitude of possibilities for re-invention and individual expression offered by society along with the pressure for assimilation perpetuated by interactions with new media. Hrvoje Slovenc documents psychologically charged domestic environments that evoke the illusory relationship between fact and fiction. He possesses a deep interest in the many visual languages photography offers.  

Entr'ouvert: Man and the Urban/Rural Landscape

Vivien Ayroles and Stefano Marchionini

Entr'ouvert originates in our desire to integrate photographic images of different origins into diptychs, whose nature is to shed new light on their constituent parts. The combination of the images chosen here shows the relation between man and the urban or rural landscape, the relation between ‘internal’ (the intimate dimension) and ‘external’ (the social dimension). It is our wish to avoid whatever narrative might originate from the single images used in the diptychs : there is no story, there is no text. 

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