When I moved from being a contemporary art dealer to a photographer dealer back in 1992, a whole new world was opened to me. I was working at what was once considered one of the most important photography galleries in the US, G.R. Hawkins, who, along with a few others, brought photography to a collectible art form in the late 1970s and 1980s. At the time there were very few photo specific galleries and auctions for photography had only started in two decades earlier- the first in America was at The Swann Galleries in 1952.
At Hawkins gallery, I immersed myself in the study of the history of the medium, which, with photography coincides with the history of our American culture. I took graduate degree classes and like to consider I became somewhat of a novice scholar in my own right, with my own love and emphasis on Post-War American Photography such as Robert Frank. One of the first photographs I saw, and sold, was a Detroit publishing company “photo chrome” which was dazzling, beautifully colored, and completely imbued with how America looked over 100 years ago
I own a small collection; the images can sell for $250 or so; but Taschen released not too long ago this magnificent book called American Odyssey. It is brilliant on multiples levels and really takes one back to the entire period of time from 1888 to 1924- a pivotal period for the growth of America.
These rediscovered Photochrom and Photostint postcard images from the private collection of Marc Walter were produced by the Detroit Photographic Company between 1888 and 1924. Using a photolithographic process that predated the autochrome by nearly 20 years, they offered people the very first color photographs of The United States.
Mark Seliger is one of my best friends, who happens to be one of the greatest celebrity photographers working today. He has done decades of work for Rolling Stone and most recently Vanity Fair among many other notable achievements, not least of which is his brilliant band RUSTY TRUCK that everyone should go and listen. One of Mark’s best-known images is of Heidi Klum. I have written about the original Joe Shere photo. This is a take off some info on the original shot, which has been one of the great Jayne Mansfield/Sophia Loren images of all time
Romanoff’s Restaurant was the setting of an unforgettable image featuring Italian bombshell Sophia Loren sizing up her American counterpart Jayne Mansfield with a look of disapproval and a hint of envy for the generous cleavage displayed by Mansfield with confidence and nonchalance. So what was Sophia Loren really thinking in that moment? She told Entertainment Weekly an account of that night in 2014 saying,
"She came right for my table. She knew everyone was watching. She sat down. And now, she was barely… Listen. Look at the picture. Where are my eyes? I’m staring at her nipples because I am afraid they are about to come onto my plate. In my face you can see the fear. I’m so frightened that everything in her dress is going to blow—BOOM!—and spill all over the table."
The iconic image perfectly epitomizes not only the glitz and glamour of a bygone era, but the dichotomy of female relationships; vanity, jealousy, both confidence and insecurity. Mark took these themes and added a touch of humor when he appropriated this photo using Heidi Klum to invoke famous beauties of the postwar era at they’re most iconic.
Playful, sexy, animalistic (and affordable) , informs much of Miss Van’s body of work. The French did invent 'joie de vivre,' which is exactly what we feel from looking at Miss Van's beautiful ballerinas, renaissance women & masked muses. But who is Miss Van?!
Miss Van, aka Vanessa Alice Bensimon (also known as Vanessa Castex), born in 1973 in Toulouse France, is considered one of the best known painters of the graffiti scene. She started wall-painting at the age of 20, in 1993, initiating the feminine movement in Street Art.
Miss Van has travelled the world painting her instantly recognizable women on the streets, as well as on canvas. She has exhibited extensively for decades worldwide in Europe, USA and Asia. Miss Van’s recent artistic pursuits have taken her to Los Angeles, Miami , Spain and Brazil, which hallmarks a recent return to street art, after several years spent solely painting in the studio, charging her new works with increased depth, emotion and an elevated romantic darkness and delicacy. Her iconic sultry female characters reappear in sensual yet dark animal masks and evolving environments. In a gauzy romantic compositions, they carry a surreal quality of burlesque, resonating with a beautiful synergy of rawness, softness and emotion. Miss Van stated recently in Juxtapoz Magazine, “I’m evolving and growing up with my paintings. It’s the only way, when you paint with emotions and feelings. I’m trying to be true with myself.”
Bailarinas 6,mixed media on wood, 36.25 x 24.75 inches
Bailarinas 7,mixed media on wood, 36.25 x 24.75 inches
One of the highlights of this past year in New York was the much celebrated Jeff Koons Retrospective at the Whitney Museum, which seemed to draw in huge crowds and mostly applause.
One of my favorites has always been his Balloon Dogs- because I love dogs, and love colorful balloons.
I was shopping online one day browsing at some new “Sale of the Day Site," and I saw the Balloon Dogs! Obviously replicas, in varied sizes (small, medium and large) colors. Well I went crazy and had to buy them all! They were relatively inexpensive (immensely inexpensive compared to the $25k-30k price tag now on the blue and red original editions that I sell quite frequently)
When Hamburg Kennedy was invited to participate in last years Affordable Art Fair, I thought to bring these beauties with me and have them on the table. It was as if I was giving away free diamonds- after doing about 50 art fairs over the last 3+ decades, I have never had quite a buzz around my booth. I was not even selling them but giving them away to clients and charging very little for some who begged to buy them. It made me quizzical about the power of these sculptures and why people love them. Is it because they know it is a Jeff Koons replica or would they love it regardless if they had any name or image recognition?
He has broken a world record for a price paid for a single artwork by a living artist. "Balloon Dog (Orange)" fetched $58,405,000 at a Christie's New York auction. The description of the work in the Christie's catalogue calls it "one of the most recognizable images in today's canon of art history," and "the most beloved of all contemporary sculptures."
I am still unsure but one thing I know is that he was able to do something in contemporary art in the latter part of the 20th century that has to go down in history and heralded in a whole new type of Pop Art that he inherited from Andy Warhol. Koons crafts a singular brand of luxury, peppered with human experience and hints of universal truths that have the power to allure an audience and cancel out the intimidation factor that so often construes art to be an upper-class commodity or conceptually incomprehensible. While the work is a summation of fertility, childhood, and a mind space free from judgement, he is using his influence and resources to bring art to a wider audience, where prior knowledge, education, and networking is not necessary.
We at HKP can never get enough of animal photography. So of course we immediately fell in love with the whimsical, yet elegant animal photographs of William Curtis Rolf. Zebras in the veranda, an elephant gracefully descending a grand staircase-William’s life-long affection for European life styles of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries bring a sense of refinery and gentility to his imagery. His photographic sensibility is sought after by collectors, designers and art directors throughout the globe- at surprisingly affordable prices for such exquisite and in-demand prints. You can see from our sister site-Peach Editions- which carries investment-quality, limited-edition photography, at price-points accessible to the online community- that beautiful art doesn't have to break the bank. Gorgeous animal photography + affordability makes William Curtis Rolf a winning combination.
Brooklyn had a place in our hearts long before it was hip. Sure, it's got rough spots, but that's part of its charm. And with a new decade dawning and big changes afoot, we think there's more than ever that makes Brooklyn the borough to beat.
Its art scene is booming; it's the city's go-to spot for restaurateurs and entrepreneurs; and it's a place where Old World flavor meets cutting edge taste. Most recently the cultural phenomenon GIRLS-The comedy-drama, about a group of twenty somethings, that follows in the stilettoed footsteps of Sex and the City, has given Brooklyn the attention it deserves A canny tourism company is already planning a bus trip around significant sites. But while Carrie and friends frolicked in Manhattan, Hannah lives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, sharing an apartment that epitomizes the reality of post- collegiate life in NY. The walls are thin, the fridge has seen better days and there's not a designer bag in sight. The girls of Girls love New York for what it is: grimy, expensive, absurdly fun and bursting with potential.
Manhattan has always told the story of aspiration and wealth Brooklyn is telling the story of a really upwardly mobile person.
Brooklyn offers a tantalizing array of locations, from the Victorians of Ditmas Park — which can stand in for any suburban neighborhood — to the working-class-looking streets of Greenpoint to the charming storefronts in Carroll Gardens, perfect for period shoots.
There’s cobblestoned Dumbo; the mean streets of East New York; the mansions of Brooklyn Heights; the tree-lined avenues (and, miracle of miracles, driveways)of Park Slope, the glories of Prospect Park; the soaring container cranes of Red Hook; the unnameable, party-colored, aromatic ooze of the Gowanus Canal.
The borough boasts countless ethnicities, creeds and religions. It’s somehow wildly bustling and unselfconsciously low-key at the same time.
Today we showcase some of our favorite images that capture the borough we know and love…
Marla Hamburg Kennedy is currently working on her newest publication- BKLN- a collection of contemporary Brooklyn photography. See her extensive list of published works here and look for BKLN on shelves soon.
Zoe Kravitz, Dev Patel, Robert Sheehan, Robert Patrick and Kyra Sedgwick star in The Road Within; a beautiful and honest portrayal of people suffering from mental health issues. Vincent, a young man suffering from Tourette syndrome whose mother (and primary caregiver) dies. His estranged father, Robert, is then forced to step in but he’s running for political office and doesn’t want his son on the campaign trail. So Robert puts Vincent in a clinic that’s run by the unconventional Dr. Mia Rose. Once there, Vincent falls in love with an anorexic woman named Marie and, together, they steal Dr. Rose’s car (and end up having to kidnap his OCD roommate, Alex). With Robert and Dr. Rose in hot pursuit, Vincent, Marie and Alex go on a life changing road trip to deliver the ashes of his mother to the ocean.
Directed by Gren Wells, a former comic, the film sets out to destigmatize issues of mental illness. Just because these characters seem different on the outside, doesn't make them any different than the rest of us. We all have things we don't like about ourselves - or that we're embarrassed about. The Road Within is a poignant character study void of sentimentality yet truthfully showcasing the complexities of people suffering to live their lives each day the message is learning to embrace our differences as opposed to hiding them.
The film has already garnered critical acclaim winning Best Film, Alice Nella Citta, at the Rome Film Festival. Actors Dev Patel and Zoe Kravitz won Best Actor and Best Actress at the Napa Film Festival, and director Gren Wells was chosen by Varity as one of the Top 10 Directors to Watch in 2015.
Congratulations to our friends on these incredible achievements!
Hamburg Kennedy recently discovered and fell in love with the work Arno Elias; known first and foremost for his Buddha Bar music. What people don't know is that he is a brilliant artist as well as a musician. In his work, a latter day Peter Beard variation on the African theme.
Each of his black and white photographs of African wildlife (like Beard) is exquisitely hand colored becoming its own special mixed-media photographic painting that happens to be immensely affordable. Music, philanthropy, fine art; Arno Elias is absolutely one of HKP's Top New Artists for 2015
For many tourists, and for many New Yorkers as well, Times Square is ground zero. Is is the neon heart- flashing lights, Broadway shows, megastores, and sheer spectacle
If you haven't been to Forty Second Street in the past four years or so, you're in for a shock. "The Deuce" as its denizens used to call it; has been cleaned up in the past few years. Even old-time New Yorkers are amazed when they visit this work-in-progress.
From 42nd to 47th Street, with Broadway and Seventh Avenue running through it, Times Square is really a series of several small, open squares rimmed by New York's theater district to the west, and giant hotels and skyscraper office buildings on all sides. These buildings are the foundation that supports the biggest concentration of bright lights in the Big Apple - the logos, neon signs and billboards of Times Square.
While there's a growing presence of Disney and Theme-Park Cafes, there's still a lot about this area that represents the real New York.
We hand selected a few of our favorite works from 20th c to contemporary photography the captures the true spirit of Times Square:
The main purpose of film stills /publicity stills from the Silent Period through Golden Age of Movies was to help studios advertise and promote their new films and stars. A “still” photographer worked on set although was not directly involved in the making of a film. The movie studio included these images in press kits, sent to movie theaters to help them promote the latest offerings, and to publicize the film and actors via magazines, newspapers and other media. The most popular kinds of film stills are those portraying glamour, menace, or gag interpretations. It can sometimes be very difficult to identify original, collectible material since there is a huge market specializing in both standard re-issues and later printings.
There is one man who can knows more about collecting rare vintage film posters- Ralph DeLuca.
A former private investment consultant, Ralph DeLuca hardly batted an eye when he bought a vintage poster from the 1932 cult movie "Freaks" at auction in March, 2009 for more than $100,000. The poster had cost $10 in the early 1970s. Featured on ABC, BBC, and more, Ralph Deluca elevates the term “collector,” to a new status. A sample of his vast and varied collection below: