Vince Aletti


    Curated by Wassan Al-Khudhairi with Misa Jeffereis

    With key slots in the New Museum’s 2017–18 “Trigger: Gender as a Tool and a Weapon,” the Museum of Modern Art’s “Being: New Photography 2018,” both New York, and a slew of other museum and gallery shows, Paul Mpagi Sepuya hasn’t exactly lacked for attention over the past few years. But this museum survey, rounding up more than forty works made since 2005, will be the first to offer what the LA-based photographer calls a “longer view.” The exhibition will range from relatively straightforward early portraits and nudes to recent images that all


    Although Helen Levitt’s photographs of people on the streets of New York are often described as “lyrical,” they’re as plainspoken and witty as she was. Asked about her work in an interview on NPR in 2009, the last year of her life, the famously terse artist said, “If it were easy to talk about, I’d be a writer. Since I’m inarticulate, I express myself with images.” More than 130 of those images, many newly released by Levitt’s estate, have been gathered for a retrospective and catalogue that will span her career, from the late 1930s through the 1980s. Emphasizing her

  • Lorna Simpson, Easy to Remember, 2001, 16 mm transferred to digital video, black-and-white, sound, 2 minutes, 35 seconds. From “Uprisings.”

    Vince Aletti

    1 “UPRISINGS” (JEU DE PAUME, PARIS; CURATED BY GEORGES DIDI-HUBERMAN) I saw this exhibition the day after the US elections, so its photographs, prints, posters, and videos on the theme of rebellion, protest, and disruption could not have seemed more urgent. But Didi-Huberman wasn’t just trying to agitate viewers; for all its provocations, his installation was shrewdly modulated, subtle, and surprising. From Goya to Tina Modotti, John Heartfield to Lorna Simpson, his choices resonated, and every passage of the show felt electric, invigorating. Although a history of insurrection—ongoing,

  • Wolfgang Tillmans, Iguazu, 2010, ink-jet print.

    Wolfgang Tillmans

    From the beginning, Wolfgang Tillmans’s exhibitions have involved many photographs unconventionally installed: big and small, framed and tacked to the wall, ganged together and isolated, personal and reportorial. This approach characterized his sensational retrospective at Tate Britain in 2003, and is sure to define this follow-up show, which is slated to include slide projections, publications, and music, as well as a series of performances in the Tanks. Although the new show will pick up where the 2003 iteration left off, most of the work was made

  • “Ed van der Elsken: Camera in Love

    Curator Hripsimé Visser describes the Dutch photographer and filmmaker Ed van der Elsken (1925–1990) as “a child of his time: melancholy in the ’50s, rebellious in the ’60s, liberated in the ’70s, contemplative in the ’80s.” This sprawling retrospective promises to explore each of these phases through more than two hundred vintage prints, slide projections, film clips, and books—a mere fraction of the output of one of the twentieth century’s most driven, eccentric, and underappreciated image makers. Van der Elsken made his mark in 1956 with Love on the Left Bank,

  • Vince Aletti

    1 DIANE ARBUS (MET BREUER, NEW YORK; CURATED BY JEFF ROSENHEIM) This trove of more than one hundred small, often grainy photographs fills in a key gap in Arbus’s early history. Made between 1956 and 1962, the year she switched from 35-mm cameras to a more substantial Rolleiflex and the black-banded square image that became her signature, these pictures prove that Arbus found her subject long before she settled on a format. And it wasn’t just freaks and outsiders, it was the whole crazy world: rowdy teens, society ladies, a boy with a toy gun, a scrap of newspaper on the sidewalk. Rosenheim’s

  • Roe Ethridge, Nancy with Polaroid, 2003–2006, C-print, 40 × 32 1/2"

    “Roe Ethridge: Nearest Neighbor”

    Gathering more than sixty photographs (all but one made since 2000), a handful of sculptures, and a video making its debut, Roe Ethridge’s first US museum survey will provide a heady dose of the artist’s faux-generic, technically impeccable style—one of the post–Pictures generation’s most influential. Although his sleek, satiric take on advertorial-style fashion and still life is now pervasive, few imitators can match Ethridge’s witty mix of art and commerce, document and fiction. Even pictures that appear to be dumb documents help undermine antique notions of photographic

  • Robert Mapplethorpe, Tim Scott, 1980, gelatin silver print, 14 × 14". © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation.

    “Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Medium”

    “SEX IS MAGIC,” Robert Mapplethorpe said. “If you channel it right, there’s more energy in sex than there is in art.” In the end, of course, he didn’t have to choose. He channeled sex into art: He released energy squared. There will be ample evidence of this explosive exchange in “The Perfect Medium,” a retrospective so big that, for its initial outing at least, it’s divided between two venues, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Getty. Mapplethorpe already provided an occasion for the two museums to join forces in 2011, when they pooled resources to purchase important art and archives

  • Willi Ruge, Sekunden vor der Landung Sekunden vor der Landung (Seconds Before Landing Seconds Before Landing), 1931, gelatin silver print, 8 1/8 × 5 5/8". From the series “Ich fotografiere mich beim Absturz mit dem Fallschirm” (I Photograph Myself During a Parachute Jump), 1931. From “Modern Photographs from the Thomas Walther Collection, 1909–1949.”

    Vince Aletti

    1 “MODERN PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE THOMAS WALTHER COLLECTION, 1909–1949” (MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, NEW YORK; CURATED BY QUENTIN BAJAC AND SARAH HERMANSON MEISTER) It takes a sophisticated, headstrong collector—an eccentric connoisseur—to save a show of twentieth-century avant-garde photography from predictability. In the collection that he has built over almost half a century, Walther has not avoided the obvious icons; László Moholy-Nagy, André Kertész, Karl Blossfeldt, and Florence Henri were here, but they were hung alongside equally inventive and audacious work by a host of photographers

  • Garry Winogrand, Los Angeles, California, 1969, gelatin silver print, 16 × 20". © The Estate of Garry Winogrand. Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco.

    Vince Aletti

    1 GARRY WINOGRAND (METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, NEW YORK; CURATED BY LEO RUBINFIEN WITH ERIN O’TOOLE, SARAH GREENOUGH, AND JEFF L. ROSENHEIM) Most black-and-white street photography since the 1960s looks like Winogrand’s work: anxious, hectic, spontaneous as a snapshot, and open-ended yet somehow resolved. So his accomplishment and his influence were givens, but it wasn’t until this show that I realized how much I took the work for granted. Though hardly radical or revisionist, Rubinfien’s selection (including new images from the photographer’s archive) made me look again. Winogrand is still too

  • “Storyteller: The Photographs of Duane Michals”

    Maybe because Duane Michals never studied photography, he’s always felt free to take liberties with the medium, bending it to his will and his whim by staging scenes, building narrative sequences, creating multiple exposures, and writing and painting on and around his images. His pictures—dealing with death, dreams, love, beauty, friendship, and the imagination—are unfashionably sincere, subversively playful, and hard to resist. Curator Linda Benedict-Jones, drawing from the Carnegie’s broad holdings of Michals’s output, presents more than 160 pieces made

  • Mike Brodie, #3069, 2006–2009, C-print. From the series “A Period of Juvenile Prosperity,” 2006–2009.

    Vince Aletti

    1 MIKE BRODIE (YOSSI MILO GALLERY, NEW YORK) Brodie’s photographs of young hobos riding the rails could not be better. Everything comes together here: slightly faded color, casually beautiful composition, grit, spontaneity, soul. Like Nan Goldin and Larry Clark, Brodie has an insider’s view of an outsider’s life (now twenty-eight, he started jumping trains at seventeen and made most of these pictures in his early twenties). His work combines you-are-there authenticity with just enough distance to see through youthful bravado to moments of confusion, tenderness, and pain. These are great American