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August 2011

Alex Webb

Alex webb photographer Alex Webb became interested in photography during his high school years and attended the Apeiron Workshops in Millerton, New York, in 1972. He majored in history and literature at Harvard University, at the same time studying photography at the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts. In 1974 he began working as a professional photojournalist and he joined Magnum Photos as an associate member in 1976.

During the mid-1970s Webb photographed in the American south, documenting small-town life in black and white. He also began working in the Caribbean and Mexico. In 1978 he started to photograph in color, as he has continued to do. He has published seven photography books, including Hot Light/Half-Made Worlds: Photographs from the Tropics, Under A Grudging Sun, Crossings, the limited edition artist book Dislocations and Istanbul: City of a Hundred Names.

Webb received a New York Foundation of the Arts Grant in 1986, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 1990, a Hasselblad Foundation Grant in 1998 and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007. He won the Leopold Godowsky Color Photography Award in 1988, the Leica Medal of Excellence in 2000 and the David Octavius Hill Award in 2002. His photographs have been the subject of articles in Art in America and Modern Photography. He has exhibited widely in the United States and Europe, in museums including the Walker Art Center, the Museum of Photographic Arts, the International Center of Photography, the High Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.


Harvey Stein

Harvey stein 3 There is something about Harvey Stein's mesmerizing black and wite photographs that transfix a fleeting moment in time.

Harvey Stein has been a fixture on the New York photo scene for many years. He has photographed the city from every angle with every kind of camera, at every time of day and night. For the last 40 years he's been going to Coney Island where New York City flows into the Atlantic Ocean at the end of Ocean Avenue, in Brooklyn.

There is a particularly Brooklyn flavor to Coney Island, and it's not just the Nathan's hot dogs or the cloyingly sweet smell of cotton candy mixed in with the salt air, it's the beckoning path of the boardwalk, the signature architectural landmarks of the parachute jump, the Wonder Wheel and the Cyclone, but mostly it's the people who go there. They are the old Brooklyn Middle Class, and yet they are different from the crowds at The Rockaways, just to the south and east, or even to the Ukrainians and Russians who have annexed Brighton Beach right next door...little Odessa, as it is now called. They have an attitude which is about themselves, and how they identify and display themselves, but it's also about the character of the place where they have chosen to go to play out their small exuberant public performances.

Make no mistake about it, Coney Island is a theater, always was, and there is no shortage of actors here...And that's where Harvey Stein comes in. Harvey is an affable guy who likes to hang around the edges of the action. He views life with a wry eye and a knowing smile, although he often just waltzes in and becomes part of the dance. That's when he's at his best, when he sees things from no remove at all.

Harvey was around for a lot of transitions, starting at the end of Coney Island's post-war Golden Era, to it's slide into seediness, and now it's renaissance at the hands of the moneyed developers, into what is sure to be reminiscent of Times Square's Disneyfication. Stein shows us that there is a Coney Island continuity that maintains itself through all this...that the place is greater than the forces molding it. It's denizens are the ones projecting its aura, not the sanitizing marketing of the developers. Harvey Stein is seconding that motion in every picture he takes.

Maira Kalman

Crosstown-Boogie-Woogie Maira Kalman Working as an illustrator, author, and designer, Maira Kalman illuminates contemporary life with a profound sense of joy and a unique sense of humor. 

Kalman speaks of her work as a form of journalism. She uses writing and drawing to render an ongoing account of the world as she sees it. Hers is a daily discipline of creativity based on photography, travel, research, walking, talking, and open observation. A serious love of distraction pervades. Abundant depictions of fashion, food, art, and architecture represent life’s great pleasures. At the same time rubber bands, pieces of moss, bobby pins, and snacks stake a claim for smaller forms of satisfaction. All of this might seem pretty trivial were it not for the counterweight of history, memory, and loss that is also ever-present. Chaos is another constant, be it crazy and madcap or simply devastating.

Indeed, it is her work’s gift to illuminate those things that affirm our own capacity for joy, sadness, humor, charm. In short, Kalman’s art inspires our humanity in light of life’s overwhelming events and details.

Maira Kalman (b. 1949 Tel Aviv, lives New York) is the author of twelve children’s books including Ooh-la-la (Max in Love). Among her adult classics are The Elements of Style, an illustrated edition of Strunk and White’s timeless grammar, and The Principles of Uncertainty, a picture book of essays based on a yearlong online column for The New York Times. She has just completed a second online epic for The Times titled And the Pursuit of Happiness.

Kalman’s best known work, created with fellow illustrator Rick Meyerowitz, is New Yorkistan: a cartoon map of the city designated by tribes, such as Pashmina, Irant, and Irate. When it ran on the cover of The New Yorker in December 2001, it sanctioned a first burst of laughter in the aftermath of 9/11. A relatively more secret aspect of her identity is as the “M” in M&Co, the revolutionary design firm founded by her late husband, Tibor Kalman, with whom she was a constant collaborator. The firm’s famous 10-One-4 watch is based on one of her doodles. She has collaborated on projects with the fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi, the choreographer Mark Morris, and the composer Nico Muhly. Her work can be seen in The Jewish Museum .

Edward Burne-Jones

Burne-Jones Katie_Lewis Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones was a British artist and designer closely associated with the later phase of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, who worked closely with William Morris on a wide range of decorative arts as a founding partner in Morris, Marshall, Faulkner, and Company.

Burne-Jones was closely involved in the rejuvenation of the tradition of stained glass art in England; his stained glass works include the windows of St. Philip's Cathedral, Birmingham, St Martin's Church in Brampton, Cumbria, the church designed by Philip Webb, All Saints, Jesus Lane, Cambridge and in Christ Church, Oxford.

Burne-Jones's early paintings show the heavy inspiration of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, but by the 1860s Burne-Jones was discovering his own artistic "voice". In 1877, he was persuaded to show eight oil paintings at the Grosvenor Gallery (a new rival to the Royal Academy). These included The Beguiling of Merlin. The timing was right, and he was taken up as a herald and star of the new Aesthetic Movement. In addition to painting and stained glass, Burne-Jones worked in a variety of crafts; including designing ceramic tiles, jewellery, tapestries, mosaics and book illustration, most famously designing woodcuts for the Kelmscott Press's Chaucer in 1896.

To some, Burne-Jone's work is too sentimental. But to others, it is work on a grand and mystical scale. His technique is flawless and through the use of form, color and a dash of drama, the work evokes a majestic historical significance that draws the viewer in. Moody, often to the point of meloncholy, one cannot be but moved when in the presence of a Burne-Jones artwork.