Tag Archives: lecture

May 17th DIA Lecture – The Polish Photographs of Roman Vishniac and Jeffrey Gusky


Karen Sinsheimer, curator of photographs, Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Next Sunday, May 17, 2009@2PM, Karen Sinsheimer will be discussing work in the exhibition Of Life and Loss: The Polish Photographs of Roman Vishniac and Jeffrey Gusky. It will be Karen’s first visit to the Detroit area from California where she works as curator of photographs at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Karen spent two years developing the exhibition, working directly with Jeffrey Gusky, Mara Vishniac Kohn (Roman Vishniac’s daughter), and Maya Benton, director of the Vishniac archive at the International Center for Photography, New York. The lecture is open to the public and free with museum admission.

Larry Fink – A Young Painter in the Studio of Moses Soyer

Moses Soyer’s Studio, NYC, c. 1957/1958, by Larry Fink.

Moses Soyer’s Studio, NYC, c. 1957/1958, by Larry Fink.

I first heard Larry Fink lecture at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit back in the early 1980s. At the time he was photographing praying mantises in his backyard, but I distinctly remembered him mentioning his travels with beatniks and his interest in bohemian life as a kid in the 1950s.  When he took this photograph, Fink was only 16-years old, and a very young student studying painting with the artist Moses Soyer in New York City. The photograph is part of the exhibition In the Company of Artists in its final weeks at the DIA (closing on February 15). If you have never had the chance to see Larry Fink lecture now is the time to catch him at Kalamazoo College on February 16.

From the Curator’s Desk – The Chance Is Higher


A number of Ari Marcopoulos’ books arrived at the museum this week in plenty of time for his lecture/book signing on Jan.22. So I finally got my hands on a copy of his book The Chance Is Higher which was published in 2008 by Dashwood Books.


The book includes reproductions of large-scale photocopies that Ari made from his original photographs  – portraits of his family, friends, and acquaintances interspersed with city views, graffiti,  still life, and nudes; he even includes a few older portraits of Andy Warhol and Jean Michel Basquiat. An eerie and mesmerizing image of a skull – a tattoo on the back of a shirtless boy  – floats beneath the embossed title and a fine pattern of cross-hatch found on the cover of this book. This texture gives it an inky flattened sheen like a faded tattoo, but it is reminiscent of a well-worn tapestry or an aged mezzotint. Strangely welcoming, a ghostly continuum follows. The imagery is steeped in memory, informed by urban iconography and the more intimate personal world and perceptions of the photographer.

The Chance is Higher (inside spread) by Ari Marcopoulos

The Chance is Higher (inside spread) by Ari Marcopoulos

The images may well be faithful reproductions of Ari’s grainy black-and-white photocopies. When I first looked through the pages of The Chance Is Higher, I experienced an aesthetic throwback to the 1970s, when experimenting with a xerox machine to make a homemade comic book, zine or flyer for a friend’s rock band required some pocket change and a trip to the local library or post office to make copies. Until Ari revived it, somewhat formally for this series and the book (he has used xeroxing for years to design his other books and zines), the photocopy was an old-school but treasured method of reproduction reserved for low-brow, albeit creative endeavors. It is ingeniously recaptured here with a remarkable amount of refinement and even a low-key elegance.

Save the Date – Lecture&Book Signing with Ari Marcopoulos, Jan. 22, 2009

Please join us in the DIA’s Lecture Hall, Thursday evening, Jan. 22, 2008, at 7 p.m. for a special presentation entitled, Making the Familiar Art, by photographer Ari Marcopoulos. The DIA will have Ari’s recent publications available and a book signing will follow his lecture, which is free and open to the public.

Ari Marcopoulos, Sonoma, 2008

Ari Marcopoulos, Sonoma, 2008

Years ago, Marcopoulos visited Detroit with his dad and took in a baseball game at the now-demolished Tiger Stadium.  He is looking forward to visiting the city again and may even craft a special custom zine for the event at the DIA.

Marcopoulos currently lives in northern California, but originally moved to New York City from Amsterdam in 1979. Early on, he worked for Andy Warhol, assisting on an occasional photo shoot. He quickly developed a reputation as an insider around downtown Manhattan art circles giving him access to writers, painters and musicians. He frequently made their portraits and recently several were acquired for the DIA’s permanent collection of photography. The photographs are on view in the exhibition entitled In the Company Artists through February 15, 2009.

Ari Marcopoulos, American (born 1957), Andy Warhol, 1981 (printed in 2008); gelatin silver print. Museum Purchase, Graphic Arts Council Photographic Fund (2008.51.1), © Ari Marcopoulos courtesy The Project.

Andy Warhol, 1981, by Ari Marcopoulos, . © Ari Marcopoulos courtesy The Project.

More recently, Ari’s work, including both still photography and video, has focused on the diversions of youth, its subculture and pastimes, especially the lifestyles of skate and snow boarders, musicians, his teenage sons, and their experiences as contemporary urban dwellers.

Ari Marcopoulos, Alice, 2007, from The Chance is Higher. © Ari Marcopoulos.

Alice, 2007, from The Chance is Higher, by Ari Marcopoulos. © Ari Marcopoulos.

Ari’s lecture will help to kick off the New Year at the DIA and its line-up of interesting programs and exhibitions for 2009. For more information, check out www.dia.org.