21 June 2007

a new american portrait (NYC Opening)

press release :: a new american portrait

NEW YORK, NY - Jen Bekman is pleased to present A New American Portrait, a group exhibition of photographs featuring artists at the vanguard of contemporary portraiture in America. Co-curated by Ms. Bekman and Jörg Colberg, editor of the influential fine art photography blog Conscientious, the exhibition will be on view from June 22 – August 3, 2007 at jen bekman, located at 6 Spring Street between Elizabeth and Bowery, New York.

Jen Bekman will host an opening reception for the artist on Friday, June 22, from 6:00 – 8:00pm at the gallery.

A New American Portrait features photographs by Christine Collins, Jen Davis, Benjamin Donaldson, Amy Elkins, Peter Haakon Thompson, Todd Hido, Alec Soth, Brian Ulrich, and Shen Wei. Their portraits, environmental, posed, and self-portraits among them, express the wide range of practice in modern American portraiture. Mr. Colberg observes: “A portrait lives in the interaction between the photographer and the sitter, a relationship which banishes any notion of objectivity. The work included in this exhibition explores, and at times exposes, this fragile intriguing dynamic.”

These photographs illustrate the inherent contradictions in contemporary portraiture, as seen from a distinctly American point of view. While they appear to be "honest" representations, some revealing and confessional, in truth the subjects exist within narratives and environments carefully constructed by the photographers. Gallery director Jen Bekman comments, “Alec Soth's Bonnie smiles sweetly while holding her photograph of an angel, serene in her faith, having just shared a Bible passage with Soth condemning people to hell for their sins. Soth's presence, however, remains as it does in all his work: compassionate rather than condescending. In an untitled portrait from Ulrich's Thrift series, a young girl assumes a Classical pose amid the glare and chaos of a shopping mall. Hido's portraits are suffused with sadness and sexuality, ripe with a mysterious narrative. Davis's self-portraits brutally confront our abiding obsessions with thinness and desirability. The eighteen portraits in this exhibition explore potent themes and emotions which shape contemporary America: sexuality, gender, desire, heroism, consumption, fear, class, hope and loneliness are all in the mix.”

A New American Portrait at jen bekman, 6 Spring Street.
Hours: Wednesday - Saturday, noon – 6pm or by private appointment.

For images or more information, please contact Michael Duong: 212.219.0166 or press@jenbekman.com.



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