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Dealers, Collectors, and Photographers Flock to AIPAD’s Gala Opening

Thursday, April 4, 2013
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The Gala Opening of the Association of International Photography Art Dealers (aka AIPAD)’s New York photography show at the Park Avenue Armory last night was so crowded, dealers were whipsawed by competing collectors streaming through their booths.  A benefit for InMotion, which provides legal services for low-income women, the four-hour affair, which featured a mid-aisle novel grill serving turkey, porterhouse and black bean mini-burgers, was the kickoff for the 33rd edition of the annual photo show. More than eighty dealers, including New York’s Staley-Wise, Howard Greenberg, Steven Kasher, James Danziger and Robert Miller, are displaying their wares through Sunday.

Browsing the booths were photographers Patrick McMullan, Andrea Blanche, Catherine Talese, Natalie White, Amber de Vos, Jerry N. Uelsmann and Maggie Taylor, Sally Mann, Elliott Erwitt, Rose Hartman, Gilles Descamps and Bob Gruen; New York City Planning Commission chairman Amanda Burden; collectors Richard and Ronnie Menschel, Gary Wolkowitz, Eileen Cohen, Henry Buhl, John Demsey and the screenwriters-producers Gloria Katz and Willard Huyck (who will appear on a panel on the Los Angeles photography scene at noon on Saturday); Showtime CEO Matt Blank; decorator Jay Johnson with Tom Cashin; former model Kelly Bensimon (the ex-wife of photographer Gilles); artists Valera & Natasha Cherkashin; designer Peter Som; critics Vince Alletti and Jean Dykstra (who will both sit on panel discussing the role of critics on Saturday at 2PM); and institutional professionals from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Noguchi Museum, and Christies.

But the evening’s real stars were the featured photographers, living and dead.  Highlights of the sprawling show are images by Man Ray, Lartigue, Atget and Kertész; Edward Steichen’s portrait of Richard Strauss, priced at $540,000, and a veritable flood of images by the suddenly ubiquitous Irving Penn and Weegee. But the biggest buzz of the night may have been generated by Winter Works on Paper of Brooklyn and dealer Daniel Blau of London and Munich, both of whom showed what was once deemed ephemera, often anonymous works that rise to the level of art only after they capture the eye and imagination of a perspicacious dealer. Blau’s exhibition, titled Photojournalism in 20th Century America, features a carefully chosen collection of news and wirephotos, including a full wall installation of images of the Hindenburg disaster of 1937, the first time a photograph was seen nationwide the day after a news event.

—Michael Gross
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