We were finally able to enjoy some culture this weekend with the viewing of Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, 1923-1937 on view at the Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale. As someone who did not know much about Steichen’s career beyond recognizing a few photographs it was interesting to find out more about his life and work.
The layout of the exhibit starts in the early 1920’s, where many of the portraits have a sepia and faded palette to the prints, from there it chronologically follows his career through the 1930s. His photographs of the 20s seem (at least to me) to be more straightforward and less dynamic than his later works. As the 20s gave way to the 30s Steichen’s photos have more depth, both in the blacks of the grayscale and the human interest displayed within the frame. His film noir treatment of light and the Art Nuevo, and especially Art Deco styling of his backgrounds, subject mater, and overall aesthetic really began to take shape as his career progressed.
Though probably known best for his female subjects, the way he shot his male figures are both epic and timeless. The photo of Gary Cooper in the late 20s reminds me of the Don Draper character from the AMC show Mad Men (see images above). My favorite photo out of the entire exhibit was probably the smallest on display. It was of a movie director or producer taken in 1930. The man (who I really wish I could remember who it was) is seated in a director’s chair with lighting and grip equipment serving as the background. The camera is positioned lower that the subject and the lighting is of an intense key light with mild fill …exceptionally powerful and stunning.
After viewing the exhibit you see how Steichen was able to influence fashion photography from that point on. The texture and shape he could create through the natural curves of his models coupled with the lines of the fabrics they wore were both dynamic and simplistic. Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, 1923-1937 was on display at the Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale from February 28 through April 11th, 2010. From Fort Lauderdale it makes it’s last scheduled stop at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, MO from May 15 – July 25, 2010.
It’s graduation season at the Art Institutes again, and once again I was not disappointed at the showing in Miami. The graduating class at Miami International University of Art and Design seemed a little smaller this quarter compared to last, but the work was equally as good. Interior design was set up outside the hall and the extra space allowed for a little less congestion throughout portfolio review. Fashion Design, Accessory Design, and Fashion Merchandizing had a good showing with a wide variety of styles represented. Graphic Design showed sound composition and design aesthetics. Juan Lopez from the Graphics Department caught my eye with some interesting 3D work.
Visual Arts had only two graduates this quarter, but both were very strong. Alejandra Cicilia showed her diversity in photography. She had some fantastic photos of construction workers in front of the Fontainebleau on Miami Beach, her fashion photography was well composed, and her nighttime photography has an amazing use of color. The work of Chantal Disler can be an event in itself. She takes watercolor, newsprint, and other mixed media and forms them into beautiful arrangements of harmony. Her branding seems to be set around birds in different forms and flight patterns. Her photography, drawings, and portraits all follow a free will aesthetic.
This quarter’s showing was very good. The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale had their portfolio review today at the Broward County Convention Center. Unfortunately I was unable to attend both, but wish graduates from both schools the best of luck!
Reproduced from an email by the Wolfsonian Museum:
The second and final Miami-Dade County public Budget Hearing is scheduled for this Thursday, September 17th and your personal messages to the County Commission about the value of support to cultural organizations is critical. Presently, if no positive action is taken, there will be “zero” dollars in the County budget for social service and cultural organizations.
We all recognize the arduous task before the County Commission; however, we have all worked so hard over the past two decades to build a vibrant cultural community that reflects the creativity, innovation, and generosity of our community. The arts have demonstrated their impact on quality of life, education, the economy, and job market, not to mention that almost all of the good news that comes out of Miami-Dade County is related to cultural organizations and arts events.
The severe reduction of County support of the arts will impact every cultural institution and the community it serves. It will result in the reduction of staff and seriously curtail most public, educational programs—exacerbating an already dire economic situation. Furthermore, the economic multiplier of this loss of funding is immeasurable, affecting numerous local businesses, service providers, and countless individuals. No one would argue that Art Basel and Design Miami, among other major conferences and events, have chosen to come to Miami, in part, because of its dynamic cultural scene.
If you have a strong opinion about the County budget, we urge you to attend the upcoming budget hearing and state your concerns.
Alternatively, if you are unable to attend the meeting, you may write members of the Miami-Dade County Commission to express your opinions or concerns. Visit http://artsactionalliance.wordpress.com/elected-officials/ for a list of Miami-Dade County Commissioners. Your individual letters about your personal experiences are more valuable than a form letter.