Monday, April 29, 2013

Houston FotoFest Seeks new leadership

"After 26 years creating and developing 
FotoFest, it is time for new leadership," 
say FotoFest Co-founders Wendy Watriss 
and Fred Baldwin.  "As part of FotoFest's 
Board of Directors, we are inviting 
nominations and applications for the 
position of Executive Director of FotoFest."
The Executive Director will be responsible for leadership 
 of the organization, fundraising and financial development, 
administrative oversight and development of future art and 
education programming. Financial development will include 
financial and fundraising planning with the Board of Directors.
The Executive Director will succeed the strong leadership of 
the founders, who have led the development of the organization 
since its founding in 1983. The Director will lead and oversee the 
future growth of this internationally known photographic arts 
Application Deadline: July 1, 2013
The Executive Director should have working experience with the 
arts. The Board expects that the Executive Director will carry 
forth FotoFest’s commitment to global and local programming; 
the inter-connection of art and social ideas; discovery, development 
and presentation of creative talent—artists and curators; the use of 
creative skills and the arts to strengthen classroom education for 
young people. Accordingly, the Board is seeking candidates 
with the following qualifications:
• Working experience with, and a strong commitment to, 
the arts, particularly the photographic arts and their promotion.
• A capacity for and an interest in executive and administrative 

leadership of an internationally respected photographic arts 
and education organization in order to further its growth 
and development.
• A demonstrable ability and willingness to accept responsibility 

for financial development and fundraising for program and 
general operating expenses.
• A capacity for visionary thinking and action.

• A strong and demonstrable interest in the connection between 

the arts and social issues and a motivation to create high quality, 
 innovative visual arts programs that serve as a platform for the 
communication of ideas through art.
• An ability to motivate staff and coordinate well with a Board of 

The Board of Directors and FotoFest Co-founders are flexible with 
respect to the  expansion and direction of the structure and programs 
of the organization, but they expect an Executive Director to preserve 
the core values of the organization: internationalism — international 
programming and cross-cultural exchange; the inter-connection between
global and local interests and constituencies as a centerpiece of FotoFest's 
programming and administration; the interaction of art and social issues 
in FotoFest’s programming.The leader of FotoFest will be expected to 
maintain and expand the international network and programming 
initiated and developed by FotoFest and its founders over the past 30 
years. This programming includes a commitment to collaborating with 
Houston-area organizations and using FotoFest’s programs to benefit 
the arts and civic life in Houston. The leader of FotoFest will 
also be expected to continue FotoFest’s commitment to 
education - extending creative education to students of elementary to 
high school grade levels.

Qualifications: At least five years’ experience in management, resource 
and financial development, and programming in the arts. A record of 
success with fundraising and securing grants is strongly preferred.
To Apply:
Submit a letter of interest, curriculum vitae and three professional 

references by July 1, 2013. The information should be sent to or FotoFest, 1113 Vine Street, 
Houston 77002-4031, Attn: Marianne Stavenhagen.
Please note that the position will remain open until filled. All inquiries, 
applications or nominations will be held in the strictest confidence.
The headquarters of FotoFest is in Houston, Texas. The position is 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

PGH Photo Fair Speaker Series #6: Nora Kennedy and Peter Mustardo

As the PGH Photo Fair draws near, please join us for the final event in our Speaker Series as we welcome New York-based photo conservators, Nora Kennedy & Peter Mustardo.

Nora Kennedy & Peter Mustardo are at the very top of their field. Ms. Kennedy is the Sherman Fairchild Conservator of Photographs at the The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and on the adjunct faculty at New York University's Institute of Fine Arts. Mr. Mustardo is the co-founder with Ms Kennedy of The Better Image which is one among the top conservation firms in the world. At any given time, his studio is occupied with masterpieces from major museums and collections.

The talk will be held at The Carnegie Museum of Art Theater on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 4400 Forbes Avenue. The talk will begin at 7pm. Join us before for refreshments at a cash bar and take a peek at the "Oh Snap" photography show off the lobby of the museum. . This event is free and open to the public. Come support our final event and hear the latest updates about the opening of the PGH Photo Fair just one short week later! 

While conservation may seem like an arcane, "insider baseball" topic, it's not. To anyone who is interested in making, owning, or showing photography, it is a help to also know how to take care of the work in their possession.

Photograph Conservators Nora Kennedy and Peter Mustardo will describe their adventures preserving photographic works of art at The Metropolitan Museum and in private practice at The Better Image, respectively. Working closely for over thirty years, this professional couple has actively shaped the coming of age of the nascent field of photograph conservation and is currently involved in photograph preservation initiatives internationally. Go “behind the scenes” to learn about large-scale installations of a diazo collage by Francesca Woodman and Richard Avedon’s photomurals at the Metropolitan, and the recovery of works of both high and vernacular photography after ‘Superstorm’ Sandy at The Better Image. Discover the advantages offered by scientific analysis to unravel secrets of artist’s techniques and keys to the conservation of our photographic heritage as well as contemporary photographic art.

We learned from our last speaker, David Howe, that works from his collection that were damaged by the flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy are now being restored by Mr Mustardo and Ms Kennedy. It's an unfortunate coincidence that illustrated just how personal the field of conservation can be.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

10x10 American Photobooks at PGH Photo Fair

I'm thrilled to say that there will be a preview of the 10x10 American Photobooks project at Unsmoke Art Space during the PGH Photo Fair. My first encounter with the 10x10 concept was last year during the NY Art Book Fair at PS1 in NYC. Some folks connected with the library at the International Center of Photography (where I still have a supporting role) decided to do a pop up show of Japanese photobooks at a nearby space. They asked 10 experts in the genre to each nominate 10 Japanese books that they felt were important. The 100 resulting choices were all on display along with supporting text from the nominators describing why they loved these books. 

It was a huge hit. At the opening, luminaries from the photo and photobook worlds jammed in to see the books. It was such a success that folks from the Tokyo Institute of Photography asked if there could be another iteration in Tokyo. The ICP folks thought it would be funny to show Japanese books in Japan presented by Americans, so the American Photobooks idea was launched. Same concept, but this time 10 American nominators would choose 10 American photobooks each. There will also be a catalog with 10 additional writers (I'm happy to say I can count myself among the 10) and an online/blog presentation with some additional choices. 

The 10x10 American Photobooks Reading Room will be on the 3rd floor of the Unsmoke Art Space in the classroom which is being generously lent to us by Bibliopolis Books. 

There is also going to be a preview in New York with a panel:
NYC Preview of 10x10 American Photobooks
May 3 - 5, 2013
Opening reception: May 3 from 7 - 9pm
Ten10 Studios
10-10 47th Road
Long Island City, NY 11101
Panel Discussion on Sunday May 5 at 3pm
Fionn Meade, moderator – independent curator
David Senior – MoMA bibliographer
Christina Labey – Publisher Conveyor arts
Nicholas Muellner – Series Editor SPBH – self publish be happy

If you happen to be in NYC in the beginning of May, check it out.

You can read more abut the project at the website:

Also, their Indiegogo site (which was fully funded and now closed) has a ton of info about the project:

PGH Photo Fair continues to add exhibitors and content that promise to make it a very satisfying weekend for lovers of photography. I hope to see you there.....

Monday, April 15, 2013

David Howe shows a personal path to collecting

In our 5th installment of the PGH Photo Fair Speaker Series (and our 2nd in the intimate theater of the Warhol Museum), David Howe was expansive and personal in his description of his career as a collector and artist. The "aha" moment for me was David's explanation that he is often attracted to art that he wishes he had made himself. Of all of the the collectors I've heard discuss the idea of why they choose what they choose to buy, I've never heard this longing-filled perspective. I also liked his account of how his collection exists in perfection only in his mind's eye. I think that's an important point. How the collector visualizes his collection as a totality in a mental image is an important concept both about what drives the collector and how a collection exists in the world. David was soft spoken (yes, we will have mics for the next event), but his voice was large in illuminating the psyche of an important collector.

Next up, we have photo conservationists Nora Kennedy and Peter Mustardo. It cannot be overstated, these two are at the very, very top of their field. Nora is the chief photo conservator at the Met Museum and Peter runs The Better Image which is one of the top 3 or 4 conservation firms in the world. At any given time, his shop is occupied with masterpieces from major museums and collections. Sorry to say, some of David Howe's collection was damaged in Hurricane Sandy. Unsurprisingly, the damaged work that can be saved is at The Better Image.

While conservation may seem like an arcane, "insider baseball" topic, it's not. I have heard these guys speak about their field many times. Trust me, it's fascinating. Plus, anyone who is interested in making, owning, or showing photography should also know how to take care of the work in their possession.

It promises to be a great evening and the closing event of the PGH Photo Fair Speaker Series' first year. Come support our final event and hear the latest updates about the opening of the PGH Photo Fair just a short week later. The 6th PGH Photo Fair Speaker event will be in the lecture hall of the Carnegie Museum. More details on the PGH Photo Fair website

Monday, April 8, 2013

PGH Photo Fair Speaker Series #5: David Howe

Please join us for our next PGH Photo Fair Speaker Series installment as we welcome New York-based artist, collector, curator and founder of 601Artspace, David Howe. Following on the heels of the fascinating talk given by Fred Bidwell last month, we continue to explore the myriad ways that a collector can approach collecting. 

The talk will be held at The Andy Warhol Museum on Wednesday, April 10, 2013. Join us for refreshments and a cash bar at 6pm followed by our talk at 7pm. This event is free and open to the public.

Mr. Howe has been a photographer and a stock-market investor since childhood. In college he directed plays, studied cinema, and then for more than a decade continued professional work in film, cinematography, and lighting. He then left the moving image world for the stock market and started a family. In the mid-nineties, he began collecting visual art, concentrating on contemporary art, video, and photography. He sought out dialogs with artists whose work he admired, such as Jeff Wall, Thomas Struth, Andreas Gursky, and Hiroshi Sugimoto.

In 2002 Howe returned professionally to camera work, enthusiastically embracing digital media. He studied at the International Center of Photography, New York, intensifying his visual awareness and engaging critical issues and discourses in contemporary art and media. Howe’s studio is in Bushwick, Brooklyn, where he generates his artwork and research. He travels frequently across the United States to photograph, make studio visits, and to continue informing his practice.

As Mr. Howe’s collection began to include large scale contemporary photographs, he leased space in the historic Starrett-Lehigh Building in the Chelsea area of New York City. Construction of a gallery was completed in 2005, and the first show, for private viewing only, went up that same year. In 2008, an exhibition was mounted for the public, and the space was named 601Artspace.

Today, 601Artspace partners with artists, curators and other not-for-profit organizations to produce unconventional exhibitions, talks, film screenings and special projects within a non-commercial context. Its permanent collection acts as a catalyst for artistic and curatorial encounters. Through these interdisciplinary practices 601Artspace engages and investigates issues in the making, organizing, and reception of contemporary art.

I hope to see you there!

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