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Photography exhibitions in London

PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2014 11:31 pm
by Garth Cartwright
Chris Stein at Somerset House has lots of large reproductions of Debbie Harry in the 1970s and early 80s as well as images of the NY Rockers Blondie were playing with and some street scenes. Stein has a good eye and there are some fine images here. He certainly understood how to capture Harry's beauty and droll wit. He's not as interesting a snapper as Dennis Hopper - whose cityscapes and Mexican landscapes were really pretty damn good -but he's a lot more affectionate and captures the NYC rock scene well.

Glenn E Friedman at 14 Henrietta St, Covent Garden. Big colour works that start with his mid-70s shots of teenage skateboarders (Glenn was also a teenage skater so shot his talented mates) then its Black Flag and Bad Brains and the US hardcore scene then Run DMC, Beasties, LL, PE so the Def Jam stars who took rap to a huge audience. Then a long silence before a few contemporary portraits of Chomsky, Cornell West and Pussy Riot (about the only women in this show - Friedmann is obsessed with aggressive young men). The skating shots are great - tho this is probably cos I was a skater as a kid. The punk and rap shots are pretty generic. But as far as a document on US male youth culture 75-88 it tells a few truths.

Art Kane at Snap Galleries 12 Picadilly Arcade. I've seen Kane's work reproduced before but never seen an exhibition of his work. He did fashion and rock in the 60s so took the iconic photo of The Who asleep beneath the Union Jack and Cream on the railroad tracks. A couple of interesting Stones shots here with a portrait of Brian Jones looking rather demonic. Kane's work involves saturated colours, very stylised and while it must have seemed radical at the time now it often appears quite dated. But in an affectionately overblown very-60s way.

The Combat Photography exhibition at Tate Modern involves looking at how war - or the remnants of war - is portrayed via photography. Thus there are a handful of images by Don McCullin - largely of occupied cities - and historic images from 19th C battles and then it moves towards more conceptual representations: images of decaying Nazi bunkers on the Normandy coast, street scenes of divided Berlin, a room full of colonial tat and how the British Empire's activity in Africa was portrayed via comics and newspapers etc. Big and meditative if somewhat too-clever-for-its-purpose exhibition.

I also went to see the William Burroughs exhibition at October Galleries. His shotgunned and then painted bits of board. Dire. As the collages of Genesis P Orridge - is anyone here a fan of this chap? I think old Bill realised that selling junk in art galleries would make you a lot more $$$ than writing cult novels so can't begrudge him doing so but his work is of very little aesthetic value. If very expensive!

All exhibitions are free - except for the Combat Photography one. If you go to any please post yr thoughts!