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FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY: THE COLLECTING GUIDE
WHAT IS FINE ART
PHOTOGRAPHY?
A closer look at this rapidly
evolving field

THE CURATOR'S EYE
Curator Kevin Moore weighs in
on the how-to's of collecting

TAKE THE TOUR
Christie's expert Sara
Friedlander shares seven
artists you need to know, now

In the 1970s, a loosely knit group of artists emerged who were inspired by a range of ideas and imagery including Conceptualism, popular culture and mass media. Known as the Pictures Generation, they abided by the notion that "painting was dead" and chose to pursue new sources of media, from photography and film to video and installation art. Appropriating from the bombardment of imagery surrounding them, their works tackled issues of memory, identity and perception, as well as society’s influence on the development of these themes.

Their work has become known as "fine art photography."

Cindy Sherman, Louise Lawler, Richard Prince, Thomas Struth and Andreas Gursky are among the preeminent fine art photographers who use the camera as a means to an end for their artistic practices. While their formal and stylistic concerns vary greatly, these artists share a common approach to the camera. Instead of a device for scientific, commercial, or journalistic purposes, the camera is a tool through which to document complex aesthetic ideas through careful control of composition, focus, lighting, posing and editing.

The story of fine art photography is still being written, making this a particularly thrilling time for prospective collectors, longtime devotees, and the culturally curious to explore this rich and dynamic field.

Name: Kevin Moore
Profession: Scholar, curator Last Art that "Hooked" Him: "A video by James Nares at the Met called Street, a mesmerizing slow-motion pan of people on the street. It’s a slow-moving tableau of humanity, a study in slowing down and seeing what’s all around you."
Current Obsessions: "French indie bands singing in English.’"
Up Next: "A summer show called ‘Alchemical’ that I’m curating for the Steven Kasher Gallery in New York."
Follow Kevin on Instagram:
Name: Sara Friedlander
Profession: Specialist and Head of Afternoon Sale, Post-War and Contemporary Art
First Art that "Hooked" Her: Van Gogh’s Wheat Field with Cypresses, at age 3. "I started crying hysterically and screamed, ‘Oh grandma, that’s so scary!’ The guard at the Met asked us to leave."
Dream Acquisition: "Anything by Louise Lawler."
Up Next: "Hong Kong, Venice and Basel, then the Berkshires for a much-needed vacation."
Follow Sara on Twitter:
INDEPENDENT CURATOR KEVIN MOORE RECENTLY CHATTED WITH OUR OWN SARA FRIEDLANDER ABOUT THE EXPANDING DEFINITION OF "PHOTOGRAPHY," THE HOW-TO’S OF COLLECTING, AND WHAT MORE TO EXPECT OF THE MEDIUM IN THE DIGITAL AGE.
SF: What is it about photography that first captured your interest?
KM: I’ve always loved photography for its selfcontradicting ability to show both realism and fantasy.

SF: What distinguishes the work of fine art photographers and what do you think this means in the context of contemporary art?
KM: When you look at the work of artists like Cindy Sherman or Jeff Wall, for example, it has to do with the complexity of thought behind an image. In the beginning, photography was about capturing something specific – a decisive moment, an urban scene, a picturesque landscape – but today we look to photography for more layers of meaning. We expect ambiguity and commentary. We live in a questioning age, and photography increasingly reflects that.

"Photography is breaking out of its old forms as a single picture on the wall and becoming series and installations and moving images and hybridized images."

SF: What basic advice do you tell your clients when they first start to collect?
KM: Try first and foremost to understand your own tastes and interests. Who are you in relation to the world around you? Do you like minimal architectural environments? Provocative and/or funny pop culture stuff? Exquisite beauty? Powerful ideas? And then you have to answer more specific questions, such as: Who are the best artists? What are their best works? And then the more nuts and bolts questions, such as: What is the edition size? Are there other editions and what is the most appropriate scale for a given image? All of this is easier, obviously, if you take some time in the beginning to figure out what it is you most love.

SF: Collectors often ask me about the value of a photograph versus a painting, as there are so many factors to consider.
KM: It’s certainly about quality, which has something to do with the complexity of the artist’s ideas, but perhaps more importantly, the fineness of the execution. Even when an artist such as Richard Prince appropriates another image and calls it his own, the success depends on the beauty of the original image and Prince’s treatment of it. And the rarity of an image determines value too, of course. How many prints were in the edition? Is it sold out? Are other prints placed in museums, etc.? It isn’t an exact science but these are all clues.

SF: What should new collectors know about the care and handling of photographs, especially given contemporary approaches to mounting, framing, etc?
KM: Photographs aren’t necessarily "fragile" but they are works on paper and paper is sensitive to light damage: fading, curling, etc. Color photographs, especially before a certain vintage – let’s say the mid-1990s – are especially vulnerable and should be kept out of direct sunlight. Large prints by Struth and Gursky are often face-mounted, which is a beautiful form of presentation but comes with its own problems: if the surface of the plexi is scratched, the artwork is considered seriously damaged. So you want be sure you have the right environment for taking care of photographs – a space with some light and people controls.

SF: How important is the amount of digital manipulation that a photographer uses, and should collectors consider this when evaluating a work?
KM: Digital manipulation is a useful tool and no different really than the old practices of dodging and burning, montage, combination printing, etc. The choice for an artist to go digital or not digital is not a moral decision.

Lot 6

ANDREAS GURSKY (B. 1955)
Ocean V
chromogenic print
136 1/2 x 98 3/4 in. (340.9 x 249.4 cm.)
Executed in 2010. This work is number four from an edition of six.
$500,000-700,000
"The choice for an artist to go digital or not digital is not a moral decision."

SF: The medium has evolved dramatically in its short existence (compared to painting). What’s next?
KM: Everyone’s throwing around this word "expansion" and I’m as guilty as anyone, but it’s a useful way of thinking about it: photography is breaking out of its old forms as a single picture on the wall and becoming series and installations and moving images and hybridized images. The boundaries are blurring between photo and the other mediums, and you might say between photo and the world, as we live more and more in virtual spaces – in front of screens, with headphones, and with more interactive technologies.

SF: What is your favorite work from Christie’s upcoming May sales?
KM: I love Struth’s humanity, all those awkward tourists in those sublime spaces. The Gursky Ocean is unusual and powerful, very romantic, epic, which is my own personal thing. And who doesn’t love Cindy? But I’m really fond of the Sherrie Levine series after Van Gogh, not so much for her idea of appropriation as for the Van Goghs. Even in black and white they’re compelling. And you can have two great artists in a single work – good value. And try getting a real Van Gogh.

MEET THE CURATOR: KEVIN MOORE
Kevin is a scholar and curator of both museum exhibitions and private collections. He earned a Ph.D. in art history in 2002 from Princeton University and has worked in curatorial departments at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University. His recent exhibitions include Real to Real: Photographs from the Traina Collection (de Young Museum, San Francisco, 2012) and   Starburst: Color Photography in America 1970-1980 (Cincinnati Art Museum, 2010).
Every movement has it trailblazers – the Cubists had Picasso, AbEx had Pollock and de Kooning, and Pop, of course, had Andy. In the world of fine art photography, here are seven artists who have consistently challenged the boundaries of the medium and, as specialist Sara Friedlander explains, changed the course of art history, one picture at a time.
TAKE THE TOUR
1 /
Sherman

"A pioneer of the Pictures Generation, Sherman was among the first artists to work as a one-woman studio - director, actor, photographer, customer, set designer, lighting specialist, and make-up artist - expertly controlling and executing every portion of her creative concept. Untitled #85 comes from her Centerfolds series created in response to the spreads made famous in Playboy. Performing the role of an emotionally suggestive yet ambivalent teen, here she reclaims the layout where women were traditionally sexualized."

2 /
Struth

"Struth’s Audience series investigates the individual and collective experience of viewing art in the context of museums around the world. My favorite part of this work is the mother-daughter pair at right, which captures the child-like emotions we have all felt in front of a work of art – confusion, wonderment, sometimes boredom. This work is being sold by the artist directly to benefit the incredible Human Rights Watch."

(Above)
Lot 585

PROPERTY SOLD ON BEHALF OF HUMAN
RIGHTS WATCH
THOMAS STRUTH (B. 1954)
Audience 2, Florence, 2004
chromogenic print face mounted on Plexiglas
71 1/8 x 92 1/2 in. (180.6 x 234.9 cm.)
Executed in 2004. This work is number one from an edition of ten.
$120,000-180,000

(Left)
Lot 67

CINDY SHERMAN (B. 1954)
Untitled #85
24 x 48 in. (60.9 x 121.9 cm.)
Executed in 1981. This work is number one from an edition of ten.
$600,000-800,000
Lot 436

LOUISE LAWLER (B. 1947)
Last Supper and Other
diptych--Cibachrome print mounted on aluminum
overall: 29 1/8 x 28 1/2 in. (74 x 72.3 cm.)
Executed in 1999-2000.This work is number one from an edition of five.
$20,000-30,000
Lot 492

SHERRIE LEVINE (B. 1947)
After Van Gogh 1-7
seven elements--gelatin silver print
each: 10 x 8 in. (25.4 x 20.3 cm.)
Executed in 1994. This work is number five from an edition of five.
$60,000-80,000
3 /
Lawler

"Known for taking photographs of iconic artwork in situ, Lawler poses fundamental questions about the way we look at art. I think collectors are drawn to her work because it recontextualizes the ‘familiar’ – in this case, wellknown works by Warhol, Basquiat and Hirst – and suggests that its meaning is subject to the setting in which it is displayed."

4 /
Levine

"In our digital-savvy age, the notion of taking pictures, and pictures of pictures, is nothing new. But when Levine started doing this in the 1990s, the idea was completely innovative. This rare complete set after Van Gogh was based on a book of artist plates that Levine encountered at a library in Paris. The resulting images – pictures of pictures of artwork – capture the ‘essential’ qualities of Van Gogh’s work, mediated here by the artist’s camera."

Lot 490A

PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED EAST COAST COLLECTION
RICHARD PRINCE (B. 1949)
Untitled (Cowboy)
Ektacolor print
40 x 27 3/4 in. (101.6 x 70.4 cm.)
Executed in 1992. This work is number one from an edition of two.
$400,000-600,000
Lot 3

ANDREAS GURSKY (B. 1955)
Klitschko
color coupler print face mounted on Plexiglas in wooden artist frame
81 7/8 x 103 in. (208 x 261.3 cm.)
Executed in 1999. This work is number one from an edition of six.
$700,000-1,000,000
5 /
Prince

"Prince’s ongoing fascination with advertising imagery originated in the mid 1970s, when as a young painter he earned his living as a news clipper for Time-Life. Fascinated by the images before him, he began re-photographing advertisements, cropping and enlarging the subjects to call attention to our cultural desires and the seduction of an idealized way of life. Untitled (Cowboy) takes its imagery from an advertisement featuring the Marlboro Man against the picturesque yet carefully constructed backdrop of the American West."

6 /
Gursky

"Gursky has demonstrated that a photographer can make or construct – rather than simply take – photographs about modern life and produce them on the scale of epic painting. The monumental Klitschko captures Ukrainian boxer Wladimir Klitschko’s triumphant match against Axel Schulz that earned him the 1999 European Heavyweight crown. Taking the gigantic interior of the sports arena and the crowd of people as his focus, Gursky masterfully captures the euphoria of the moment, yet maintains a quiet distance from its subject."

7 /
Graham

"Graham’s mesmerizing oak trees invite viewers into his ethereal and fascinating world. Experimenting with the camera obscura model, he presents the trees upside down as they would be viewed inside the early camera. But while a camera obscura would print the projected image in the negative, Graham uses a large format camera which prints photographs as positives. The resulting image is both familiar in its coloring, yet foreign in its orientation."

Lot 406

PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF
DONALD YOUNG
RODNEY GRAHAM (B. 1949)
Welsh Oak #1-7
seven elements--monochrome color print
mounted on foam board
five: 48 x 36 in. (121.9 x 91.4 cm.)
two: 36 x 48 in. (91.4 x 121.9 cm.)
Executed in 1998. This work is artist’s proof one from an edition of
seven plus two artist’s proofs.
$90,000-150,000
MEET THE SPECIALIST: SARA FRIEDLANDER
Sara is Vice President and Head of the Afternoon Sale in the Post-War and Contemporary department at Christie’s. With the company for over six years, Sara spent her first four in the warehouse cataloguing works of art and the next two seasons as the head of the First Open sale geared towards younger collectors. She is also a charity auctioneer. Sara graduated from Brandeis University with a BA in Art History, and went on to complete her Master’s degree in Fine and Decorative Arts at the Sotheby’s Institute in London. Artinfo recently named Sara in the "30-and-Under Crowd: The Art World’s Most Influential Young Figures."
1 – Frieze Art Fair, Randall’s Island Park
May 11-13
more info
2 – Claes Oldenburg: The Street and The Store, The Museum of Modern Art,
Through August 15
more info
3 – Punk: Chaos to Culture, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
May 9-August 11
more info
4 – Martial Raysse: 1960–1974, Luxembourg & Dayan
May 11-July 13
"This will be the avant-garde French artist’s first show in the U.S. in four decades, and it should be excellent. They’re focusing on rare early works in a variety of media."
- KM
more info
5 – Carbone, serving dinner nightly
"In addition to the mouth-watering Italian-American fare, go for the art. Curator Vito Schnabel has filled the walls of this new downtown eatery with an impressive array of contemporary works."
- SF
more info

Planning to be in New York this May? Sara Friedlander and Kevin Moore share five not-to-be-missed events to add to your calendar.

POST-WAR AND
CONTEMPORARY ART
AUCTIONS IN NEW YORK MAY 15-16, 2013 VIEWING MAY 11, 10 AM – 5 PM
MAY 12, 1 PM – 5 PM
MAY 13, 10 AM – 5 PM
MAY 14, 10 AM – 5 PM
MAY 15, 10 AM – 12 PM VENUE 20 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, NY 10020 CONTACT Sara Friedlander
sfriedlander@christies.com
+1 212 636 2100
PHOTO CREDITS: Cover: Cindy Sherman © 2013 Cindy Sherman. Courtesy Metro Pictures • Page 5: Andreas Gursky © 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Courtesy: Sprueth Magers Berlin London. Page 7: Cindy Sherman © 2013 Cindy Sherman. Courtesy Metro Pictures; Thomas Struth © Thomas Struth • Page 8: Louise Lawler © 2013 Louise Lawler. Courtesy Metro Pictures; Sherrie Levine © Sherrie Levine. Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery, New York • Page 9: Richard Prince © Richard Prince; Andreas Gursky © 2013 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn. Courtesy: Sprueth Magers Berlin London • Page 10: Rodney Graham © Rodney Graham. This page: 1. © All rights reserved by Frieze New York 2. © 1961-62 Claes Oldenburg. Photo: MoMA Imaging Services 3. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photograph by David Sims 4. © Alberto Ricci . 5. © Daniel Krieger.