March 2009


International Visitors on (March 2009).

International Visitors on (March 2009).


Traffic on my website has been increasing steadily every month for the past year. During the month of March 2009, my website has had visitors from 49 countries including:    

North & South America:  US (42 states), Canada, Argentina, Brazil

Europe:  England, France, Luxembourg, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands, Sweeden, Finland, Norway, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Ukraine, Russia

Africa & Middle East:  South Africa, Algeria, Benin, Egypt, Turkey, Israel, Iran

Asia:  India, Burma, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, North Korea, South Korea, Japan

Pacific:  Australia, New Zealand

Abandoned House Near Piedmont, SC.  Image:  Bryan Hiott.    

Abandoned House Near Piedmont, SC. Image: Bryan Hiott.


I’ve been scanning many of my color 4 x 5 negatives shot during the last year mainly along back roads from New York to South Carolina.  One of my favorites is this image of an abandoned house near Piedmont, SC.  The house was built in the 30s and for as long as I can remember it has been vacant.  The advantage of shooting in the 4 x 5 film format is that the images can be printed to a large scale without loss of image sharpness.

I just read the press release for Swimming Pool, an installation by Leandro Erlich currently on view at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City.  I’m going to see Erlich’s work as well as the Kenneth Anger retrospective also at P.S. 1. All photographs below are by Matthew Septimus.  Text of the press release follows:


Swimming Pool by Leandro Erlich.  Photo: Matthew Septimus.

Leandro Erlich: Swimming Pool

On view October 19, 2008 – October 5, 2009


P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center presentsLeandro Erlich: Swimming Pool, an extraordinary and visually confounding installation by the Argentine artist Leandro Erlich. Leandro Erlich: Swimming Poolwill be on view in P.S.1’s unique, double-height Duplex gallery from October 19, 2008 through April 13, 2009.

Leandro Erlich is known for installations that seem to defy the basic laws of physics and befuddle the viewer, who is introduced into jarring environments that momentarily threaten a sense of balance or space. For this exhibition, Erlich presents one of his most well-known and critically acclaimed pieces, Swimming Pool. Speaking about the project, Erlich says: “When I first visited P.S.1, I remember thinking how perfect the Duplex space would be for the installation ofSwimming Pool. This space divided the experience of seeing the work perfectly, and in the correct order. Almost ten years since its creation, Swimming Pool is finally in the exhibition space for which I have always felt is so perfectly suited.”


Swimming Pool by Leandro Erlich.  Photo: Matthew Septimus.


Erlich has constructed a full-size pool, complete with all its trappings, including a deck and a ladder. When approached from the first floor, visitors are confronted with a surreal scene: people, fully clothed, can be seen standing, walking, and breathing beneath the surface of the water. It is only when visitors enter the Duplex gallery from the basement that they recognize that the pool is empty, its construction a visual trick fashioned by the artist. A large, continuous piece of acrylic spans the pool and suspends water above it, creating the illusion of a standard swimming pool that is both disorienting and humorous.


Swimming Pool by Leandro Erlich.  Photo: Matthew Septimus


Swimming Pool by Leandro Erlich.  Photo: Matthew Septimus


Leandro Erlich (b. 1973, Buenos Aires) has been exhibiting his work internationally for over ten years. He has had solo shows at the Centre d’Art Santa Mònica, Barcelona (2003); MACRO Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma (2006), and Le Grand Café, Centre d’Art Contemporain de Saint-Nazaire (2005). He represented Argentina at the 49th Venice Biennale (2001), where he showed Swimming Pool, and was also featured in the Singapore Biennale (2008), the Liverpool Biennial (2008), 7th Havana Biennale (2001), the 7th Istanbul Biennial (2001), the 3rd Shanghai Biennale (2002), the 1st Busan Biennale (2002), and the 26th Bienal de São Paulo (2004). His work will be shown in the upcoming Prospect.1 New Orleans Biennial in 2008. He lives and works in Buenos Aires.


Organized by P.S.1 Director Alanna Heiss.

The exhibition is made possible by David Teiger, Estrellita B. Brodsky and Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros.

 I missed the opening of Myoung Ho Lee’s exhibition of large format color photographs at Yossi Milo last night.  But I hope to see the work this weekend.  The press release and images below are from the gallery website.


Tree #5, Archival Inkjet Print by Myoung Ho Lee (2007)

Tree #5, Archival Inkjet Print by Myoung Ho Lee (2007)




March 19 – April 18, 2009


Yossi Milo Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of color photographs by Myoung Ho Lee, entitled Tree. The exhibition will open on Thursday, March 19 and close on Saturday, April 18.  This will be the artist’s first solo exhibition in the United States. 

 Myoung Ho Lee photographs solitary trees framed against white canvas backdrops in the middle of natural landscapes. To install the large canvases, which span approximately 60 by 45 feet, the artist enlists a production crew and heavy cranes. Minor components of the canvas support system, such as ropes or bars, are later removed from the photograph through minimal digital retouching, creating the illusion that the backdrop is floating behind the tree.  


Tree #2, Archival Inkjet Print by Myoung Ho Lee (2006)

Tree #2, Archival Inkjet Print by Myoung Ho Lee (2006)


The series includes diverse species of trees photographed with a 4×5 camera in a variety of seasons and at different times of day. Mr. Lee allows the tree’s natural surroundings to fill the frame around the canvas, transforming the backdrop into an integral part of the subject. Centered in the graphic compositions, the canvas defines the form of the tree and separates it from the environment. By creating a partial, temporary outdoor studio for each tree, Mr. Lee’s “portraits” of trees play with ideas of scale and perception while referencing traditional painting and the history of photography.

Myoung Ho Lee is the recipient of awards including the first Young Photographer’s Award from the Photo Artist’s Society of Korea in 2005, Korea’s Photography Critics Award in 2006 and a grant from the Culture and Art Fund from the Arts Council of Korea in 2007. Mr. Lee was born in Daejon, South Korea in 1975 and currently lives and works in Seoul, South Korea.



Gallery Information


Tuesday–Saturday 10 am–6 pm


525 West 25th Street
New York, NY 10001

phone: 212-414-0370
fax: 212-414-0371




Wet Plate Collodion Image


In this lecture hosted by Aperture and presented by Parsons The New School,Geoffrey Batchen will discuss the topic Perplexity and Embarrassment: Photography as Work. Batchen is a professor of art history at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, where he specializes in the history of photography. He is currently working on an exhibition about the careers of Richard Beard and Antoine Claudet, due to open at the Yale Center for British Art in October 2011. Batchen’s books include Burning with Desire: The Conception of Photography (The MIT Press, 1997); Each Wild Idea: Writing, Photography, History (The MIT Press, 2001); Forget Me Not: Photography and Remembrance (Van Gogh Museum & Princeton Architectural Press, 2004); and William Henry Fox Talbot (Phaidon, 2008). 



Tuesday, March 24, 2009

6:30 pm

Aperture Gallery
547 West 27th Street
New York, New York
(212) 505-5555


Metronome:  1/4 Plate Alumitype by Bryan Hiott (2009)

Metronome: 1/4 Plate Alumitype by Bryan Hiott


This 1/4 plate alumitype was my first attempt at using UV lighting indoors with the wet plate collodion process.  Thanks to Quinn Jacobson and Jason Miguel of the Forum for their advice on a basic set up:  three 100 watt compact fluroescent bulbs (5500 K for approximating daylight).  I used a reproduction 19th century E. & H.T. Anthony tailboard camera with bellows and shot with a brass barrel Dallmeyer rapid rectilinear lens (c. 1891).

 Exposure time on the plate was long (3 min. 20 sec.).  Two factors contributed:  1) the f 7 Dallmeyer lens was not ideal for shooting indoors and 2) the dated collodion was not as  light sensitive as it once was.  I need to mix a new batch.  Overall, the results of the plate are encouraging and have given me ideas about future set up and how to improve lighting.  As you can see, the top of the plate goes darker because the light is falling off.  What I needed was perhaps another compact fluorescent overhead.  I was using only one bulb overhead plus one on each side.  Using reflectors would have helped.   

For this shot, I had the camera positioned about 3 1/2 feet from the metronome, which was the close as I could get and still focus the image; and that distance may have added to the light fall off.  Quinn Jacoson also suggested that the dark areas at top of the plate might be from the collodion beginning to dry during the exposure.  Cutting the exposure time is key, which I could half by using 6 bulbs (1 min. 40 sec.).  I have also heard of some people using a bank of twelve 6500K  UV bulbs and getting the exposure down to seconds.  Of course, having a little faster lens is another way to go at it.

Note:  I said in an MFA seminar at Parsons that art – as it exists in the market now – is not a necessity for living, but a cultural luxury that presumes a certain high standard of  living.  Given a choice between eating or buying art, I’d just as soon eat and wonder what place in my life art might have filled.  Most of the people in the room dissented.  With the economy in tatters, I wonder if they might be revising their thoughts.


Art As We Know It Is Dead

By Jonathan Jones

The Guardian

The economic collapse has destroyed the flashy art of the last two decades. In its place, we need something new.

The economic collapse is hitting the art world in some surreal ways. Gagosian Gallery in Los Angeles has just had to postpone a planned exhibition, by the maverick performance and conceptual artist Chris Burden, that involves the use of 100kg of gold bricks. Gagosian purchased these – wow! How much does 100kg of gold bricks even cost? – from a company called Stanford Coins and Bullion. This company is a subsidiary of Stanford Financial Group, that is, it’s part of the empire of Texas financier Allen Stanford who is now at the centre of a massive fraud investigation. Now, announces Gagosian, “the gallery’s gold has been frozen while the SEC investigates Stanford.”

So the stories are spinning as the marriage of art and money unravels.

Not so long ago the British painter Leon Kossoff held an exhibition at the National Gallery. His drawings after the Old Masters got almost no press attention that I can recall – yet Kossoff is a veteran artist with great achievements to his name. He has painted the life of London’s East End with a sombre honesty and compassion. Artists such as Kossoff, or Frank Auerbach, or Paula Rego are a lot less fashionable today than artists who do things with gold bricks.

Why is that? No, it is not because they are “figurative”. Marc Quinn is figurative; Antony Gormley is figurative. What makes artists such as Kossoff seem out of date? It is their melancholia. The contemporary art world can cope with melancholy as style, but taste revolts at the reality of sad, severe, serious life in these painters’ work. The problem is, you can’t parlay it. You can’t fantasise on it. The authenticity of these artists annoys us because it tells us there are realities that rule us, The world, since the 1980s, has stopped believing in such a thing as reality. Money was unleashed from facts of any kind. Art became its delusive mirror.

Art is fun, it’s a laugh, it’s entertainment, it’s spectacular, it’s cool … art now aspires to be all the things fashion is. And so it cannot accomodate the awkwardness of a Kossoff: cannot be a bone in anyone’s throat. Its success is totally bound up with the same fiction that anything is possible that has inspired banks to lead us all into a looking-glass world.

I’ve tried to resist this fact for a few months, but I’m done with illusion. Art as we know it is finished. It is about to be exposed as nothing more than the decor of an age of mercantile madness. On what bedrock might a new art arise?

Anyone for Kossoff?