Though books typically fall outside the scope of what we consider to be architectural products, we’re making an exception for Thames & Hudson’s new publication, Le Corbusier and the Power of Photography. Those familiar with Corbu’s much photographed architectural work may not know that he was something of a shutterbug himself. According to the publisher, he not only “harnessed the power of the photographic image to define and disseminate his persona, his ideas and buildings,” but his influence on the medium led to the rise of photography in general. From another perspective the book provides a more intimate way to access Le Corbusier’s creative process and some of the surprising inspirations behind his work, including images of him in his preferred office attire—his birthday suit.
Naoya Hatakeyoma: Natural Stories
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
151 Third Street
Through November 4
Naoya Hatakeyoma’s award winning photography contrasts the reciprocal impact of human industries on the natural world and that of natural forces on human activities. His photographs, ranging in topic from German coalmines to the underground Tokyo sewer systems, chronicle manmade industrial formations from their time of creation to their degeneration and ultimate decay, all captured in a seemingly objective yet sublime manner. Through this impartial method, devoid of speculation and sentiment, Hatakeyoma’s images garner the greatest impression on the viewer. Hatakeyoma was born in Rikuzentakata in Iwate Prefecture in 1958. His latest work, Rikuzentakata illustrates the devastation caused by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in his birthplace. In the first ever solo U.S museum exhibition, curated by Lisa J. Sutcliffe, SFMOMA showcases more than 100 photographs and 2 video installations spanning Hatakeyoma’s entire career.
|Chris Payne: One Steinway Place|
|Bonni Benrubi Gallery
41 East 57th Street
Through September 29
South Street Seaport Museum
One Steinway Place, the address of the venerable Steinway & Sons piano factory in Astoria, Queens, is also the title of photographer Chris Payne‘s latest show at the Bonni Benrubi Gallery in midtown Manhattan. The series of large-format photographs are the result of his days and weeks spent in the factory, to which Steinway gave him full access. Payne captures the unexpected and striking forms, patterns, and textures that emerge when he turns his lens to pianos-in-the making. “A piano is something we all think of and love as a whole, but like anything complex, it is really just a kit of parts, built up gradually out of raw, messy materials. And yet, the deeper I look into its construction, the more I revere it as one of the supreme accomplishments of the human hand and imagination,” said Payne.
On September 13 at the South Street Seaport Museum, Payne will speak about his Steinway project as well as his photographic series about North Brother Island. The lecture (6:30-8pm) is hosted by Open House New York. For information and tickets, click HERE.
The Future of Yesterday: Photographs of Architectural Remains at World’s Fairs
45th and Oak Streets, Kansas City, MO
Through September 9
In conjunction with Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World’s Fairs 1851–1939, the Nelson-Atkins Museum presents the first solo American exhibition of Belgian artist Ives Maes. In contrast to the technological and stylistic innovation showcased in the companion exhibition, Maes provides a study of the lasting artifacts of the world’s fair utopian aspirations. The photographs uncover fair grounds as they stand today, sometimes repurposed but often abandoned or in ruins (such as the site of London’s Crystal Palace, above), juxtaposing the optimism of the architects’ vision with the reality of the present. Co-curator Catherine L. Futter explains, “Ives’ visually compelling images and sculptural presentation lead us to examine the condition, context and activities of the sites in the present, yet evoke the magnificent and progressive ideals of these global events.”
Robert Adams: The Place We Live
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles
Through June 3
In his 45 years photographing the American West, Robert Adams has documented the evolution of landscape and our relationship to it. In response to the rapid development of his surroundings in Colorado Springs and Denver, Adams began photographing a landscape marked by tract housing, highways, and gas stations. His photographs, Adams says, “document a separation from ourselves, and in turn from the natural world that we professed to love.” Nearly 300 prints showcase Adams’ career, from his early shots of Colorado’s desolate terrain to his recent works documenting migrating birds in the Pacific Northwest, with special focus on his portrayal of the Los Angeles region.
Jim Kazanjian doesn’t make photographs of buildings, he makes photographs into buildings. His assemblages of “found” structures create fantastic worlds that resemble the post-civilization wreckage of 19th century England. Through the collapse of time and expansion of space, each collage tells an eerie story about making the familiar unfamiliar.
Jan Staller: Heavy Duty Landscapes
ISE Cultural Foundation
Through March 2
Jan Staller: Heavy Duty Landscapes, an exhibition curated by Marc Freidus, at the ISE Cultural Foundation, features sixteen large format photographs selected from series completed by Staller during the past seven years. Roadsides, recycling plants, and construction sites like the one featured in Pilings, Flushing, Queens (above) are the types of overlooked landscapes Staller addresses in his work. Through his lens we see the unexpected beauty of harsh, chaotic industrial sites and objects softened by their natural surroundings, as in Tank Car In Snow, Port Reading, New Jersey (below).
German photographer Frank Kunert is out to challenge your sense of perception and expectation with his meticulously crafted and hilariously absurd miniature scenes. His series “Photographs of Small Worlds” presents glimpses into mundane vignettes gone awry, where doors don’t meet balconies, diving boards lead to giant toilets, or an office is eerily underwater. Each model takes weeks—and sometimes months—to build, and Kunert is a perfectionist who won’t stop until every detail is just right. The end result is well worth the wait.
Photographs by Andrew Moore
Queens Museum of Art
Flushing Meadows Corona Park
The Queens Museum of Art (QMA) presents the powerful photography of Andrew Moore from his three-month visit to Detroit from 2008 to 2009. Moore’s photographs are a tragic yet beautiful glimpse into the decline of a city that was once the twentieth century industrial heart of America. Michigan Central Station (above) stands empty, the organ screen at the United Artists Theater is crumbling, and bright green moss covers the floor of the former Ford Motor Company Headquarters. “Moore’s exquisitely realized visions of architecture overtaken by vegetation remind contemporary viewers that our own familiar culture is subject to the forces of entropy and the eternal strength of nature,” says a statement from QMA.
PHOTOGRAPHY OF RICHARD BARNES
The Julius Shulman Institute at Woodbury
7500 N Glenoaks Blvd.
Through October 22
In Unnatural Spaces, co-curators Emily Bills and Eve Schillo present the featured work of photographer Richard Barnes at the Julius Shulman Institute at the Woodbury University School of Architecture. Showcasing highlighted works from his Unabomber (1999) and Animal Logic (2009) series, the exhibit suggests that architecture is both a willing participant in, and also an unknowing target of, presentation. The show encompasses commissioned works of Barnes ranging globally from Los Angeles to Kazakhstan, and new work such as “Revel Casino Construction,” from Atlantic City (above). Barnes is a Rome Prize recipient for photography and was featured in the 2006 Whitney Biennial for his work documenting the cabin of Ted Kaczyinski. The venue, the Julius Shulman Institute, was established as a cultural destination dedicated to the promotion of photography and understanding the built environment.
511 W 25th St. #607
Through September 17
In honor of the tenth anniversary of September 11th, 1500 Gallery in West Chelsea will present PIIOTOS_WTC, an exhibition of photographs of the Twin Towers taken by 22 of Brazil’s most notable photographers. The images, which all have the World Trade Center site as their subject, span the last three decades of the 20th century. Selected photographers include Victor Andrade, Ali Karakas, and Roberto Linsker, among others. The selection is diverse, with works ranging from distant portrait landscapes of the towers from the Hudson River, to bold aerial views, black and white night shots, glowing, hazy sunsets, andclose-up structural shots, like the work of Tuca Reines, above. Gallery 1500—the only gallery in the world to focus specifically on Brazilian photography—brings together these poetic works, capturing the power, strength, and beauty of the city as it is no longer.
Brian Ulrich: Copia—Retail,
Thrift, and Dark Stores, 2001–11
Cleveland Museum of Art
11150 East Boulevard
Through January 16, 2012
Using only a hand-held camera, photographer Brian Ulrich captured the fluctuating economic climate’s impact on American consumerism in the last decade. Brian Ulrich: Copia – Retail, Thrift and Dark Stores, 2001–11 at the Cleveland Museum of Art features 50 color photographs, portraying anonymous commercial excess in three distinct venues. Whether engrossed by the saccharine colors and limitless temptation of big box stores or by the discarded whimsies of thrift shops, the photographed subjects are caught in a vicious cycle of spending. The final phase highlights the absent consumer, focusing on the prevalence of ghost stores and dark shopping malls as a result of the 2008 financial crisis, such as J.C. Penney, Dixie Square Mall (above).