Back to NY and two photography openings

After a hiatus from NY which lasted longer than i had hoped i moved back yesterday. Part of my return plan included a commitment to go to more events, art shows and anywhere I can see more new work, network and market myself. I've created a public google calendar of my plans, so if you want to join my expeditions you can subscribe and let me know which ones you're interested in. Whenever there's something interesting to say I'll write about it here. It will always be my personal opinion and I'm a photographer not an art critic, so take it with a grain of salt.

Last night after moving in record heat i opted to take it easy and hung out with my friend and colleague Chris Gampat on my deck and talked about plans. Not one for procrastination though, this evening I began implementing my plan.

For starters i chose two photography openings, both supposedly in the LES. I hopped on the train and headed into Manhattan.


Copyright Ricky Powell
Basquiat and Andy Warhol - copyright Ricky Powell

The first show, "Tide Study" by Ryan James at Charles Bank Gallery was a disappointment to say the least. The concept was reasonably conceived but the execution was poor and the results boring to look at. When i walked in I was presented with 3 photos that were so blurry and grainy you had to know the concept to tell what they were, yet not interesting enough that I would consider them abstract work. Across the back wall there was a series of 5 or 6 photos of the moon in various stages. At least you could tell these were the moon but the quality was still pretty poor. On the third wall were three images of ocean waves. Or maybe they were river waves or something. I pretended to be interested long enough to not be rude but quickly left for the second.

Ricky Powell "Oh No He Didn't!" at Klughaus Gallery was not in LES/Chinatown as claimed but actually deep into two bridges, a little known part of Manhattan where even the subways don't dare to visit. That said it was well worth the trek. His work is outstanding, and he is one of the few photographers I've seen who can both capture people in interesting ways (with a pretty solid list of celebrities) as well as capture the vibrance of New York City. Most that I've seen can do one or the other well (I myself do not do street photography well for example).

As promised, the highlight of the show was Basquiat and Andy Warhol (pictured above). On top of that he had added funny captions with bubbles to many of the photos, almost making fun/light of his own work. You can kind of see it in this photo I snapped with my iPad - I couldn't get a good straight-on shot because the gallery was so crowded.

In addition to the solid crowd they had a DJ playing a good eclectic set and cheap cans of beer for which there was a requested donation that everyone seemed happy to comply with. In short this show made the trip to Manhattan more than worth it and made me feel like I'm on the right track with this new plan. The walk down into East New York proved to be enjoyable as well, as that is a part of the city I don't get to much - I think the last time was 2001.

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