Acclaimed Photographer Roy DeCarava dies at 89

October 29, 2009 · Print This Article

Acclaimed photographer Roy DeCarava, known for his empathetic images of the everyday lives of African Americans in Harlem, died last Tuesday at the age of 89. From his obituary in the L.A. Times:
DeCarava (pronounced Dee-cuh-RAH-vah) photographed Harlem during the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s with an insider’s view of the subway stations, restaurants, apartments and especially the people who lived in the predominantly African American neighborhood.

He also was well known for his candid shots of jazz musicians — many of them taken in smoky clubs using only available light. Shadow and darkness became hallmarks of DeCarava’s style.

“Roy was one of the all-time great photographers,” Arthur Ollman, founding director of the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, said in 2005. “His photographs provided a vision of African American life that members of the white fine art photography establishment could not have accessed on their own.”

DeCarava’s first major exhibit was at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego in 1986. Ten years later, he was the subject of a one-man exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

“What’s extraordinary about the pictures is the way they capture his lyrical sense of life,” Jonathan Galassi, a curator at the Museum of Modern Art, said in a 1996 interview with ABC.

“You see pain, you see anger and you see an extraordinary quality of tenderness,” Galassi said in a separate interview with CBS.

You can also read John Sevigney’s tribute to de Carava this month in Guernica. I interviewed Mr. DeCarava many years ago for Artweek and was struck by his kind and gentle presence. May he rest in peace.

Roy DeCarava, Nightfeeding, 1952

Roy DeCarava, Graduation, 1949

Roy DeCarava, Graduation, 1949

Roy DeCarava, Freedom.

Roy DeCarava, Mississippi Freedom Marcher, Washington, D.C., 1963

UIUC’s I Space Gallery To Close.

October 28, 2009 · Print This Article

It’s been a possibility for awhile now, but nonetheless I was surprised and saddened to learn that I Space Gallery will officially close its doors on December 31st. Last ditch efforts at fundraising, which once looked quite hopeful, ultimately could not overcome the hurdles presented by economic hard times, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s ongoing budget crisis and the University’s admissions scandals. Gallery Director Mary Antonakos will also lose her post. Antonakos tells me that a new UIUC Gallery is slated to open nearer to campus, which means students will still have a University venue in which to exhibit their work – just not one in Chicago.

The Gallery’s last two exhibitions, “The Philosophe’s Tango: Permanence and Flow, The Last Works of David Bushman 1945-2008,” and “Architecture of Crisis:
Roger Hubeli, Julie Larsen with Aptum Architecture In collaboration with Beat Steuri,” will have their openings on the evening of November 20th.  “Its been a very tough and challenging couple of years,” Antonakos told me via email, “but I’m going to try to go out by celebrating what we’ve accomplished.”

“Lucía, Luis and the Wolf”

October 28, 2009 · Print This Article

Check out these enthralling, atmospheric, super-sinister art videos that were part of an installation at Galeria Animal, Santiago, Chile by the artists Niles Atallah, Cristobal Leon & Joaquin Coci̱a. Those chilling whispered voiceovers are probably going to give me nightmares. Which reminds me Рonly two more days till Halloween, creeps! (Videos via Beautiful/Decay, natch).

LUCIA from diluvio on Vimeo.

LUIS from diluvio on Vimeo.

Tuesday’s Video Pick | 10.27.09

October 27, 2009 · Print This Article

On this week’s pick we bring you a clip from the 1930’s film ‘Le Sang d’un Poete’ or ‘The Blood of the Poet’ by Jean Cocteau.

via  netcomuk:

Technically, The Blood of a Poet reflects Cocteau’s trials and errors as a novice filmmaker who had to turn irreversible mistakes to his advantage and improvise every celluloid foot of the way. During shooting, he used the dust raised by studio cleaning men to enhance the mysterious atmosphere of the final scenes. Special weightless effects were obtained by camera trickery to show the little girl flying up to the ceiling and the poet moving painfully along the corridor wall. Once Cocteau discovered that he could turn shooting disasters into happy accidents, he was off on a career of making films that carried his cachet of surprises…”

The Yes Men in Chicago

October 27, 2009 · Print This Article


The Yes Men, hoaxsters who have elevated civil disobedience to an art form by taking on the biggest, most socially irresponsible corporations and the government that allows those corporations to screw the people, will be making appearances in Chicago this week for the local premier of their new film, The Yes Men Fix the World.

On Thursday, October 29th at 7:30pm, they’ll be hosted by Lumpen Magazine at Co-Prosperity Sphere, where The Yes Men will present their recent projects and hold a workshop to plan an action for Friday, October 30th, after the premier of their new film at the Music Box Theater.

If you haven’t seen their work, you should. If you have, you probably understand how important it is. The Yes Men might just have the right amount of courage, conviction, and insanity (think Ralph Nader meets Philippe Petit) to truly enact some kind of positive social change, but they can’t continue to do it without public support. In fact, they can barely afford to pull off their stunts, much less share them with us through their films.

The Yes Men recently posted a project on to raise $30,000 for prints of their new film, which is in danger of not being seen by enough people. Through kickstarter, anyone can pledge from $30 to thousands, and pledges are only collected if the project gets completely funded. If not, no one loses a cent. If you can only pledge $10, convince two of your friends to do the same. If you can pledge more, you might just win a Survivaball! The project ends December 31st at 4:39pm EST.

Watch them pose as Dow and take responsibility for Bhopal, or reverse the Chamber of Commerce position on climate change! If you like what you see, help them do more.

The Survivaball. You'll need one soon enough.

The Survivaball. You'll need one soon enough.