Tag Archive | "Bastienne Schmidt"

A Tribal War Dancer, a Beekeeper, a Slew of Artists and More at PechaKucha at the Parrish Art Museum

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Michael Halsband's photograph of Andy Warhol & Jean-Michel Basquiat #143 New York City, July 10, 1985. Mr. Halsband is one of 10 presenters from various fields who will present at PechaKucha Night Hamptons at the Parrish Art Museum Friday, June 13. Image courtesy of Michael Halsband.

Michael Halsband’s photograph of Andy Warhol & Jean-Michel Basquiat #143 New York City, July 10, 1985. Mr. Halsband is one of 10 presenters from various fields who will present at PechaKucha Night Hamptons at the Parrish Art Museum Friday, June 13. Image courtesy of Michael Halsband.

By Tessa Raebeck

When Michael Halsband announced, “I’m into photography,” to his parents at age 10, they promised to buy him a camera if he was still into it in a year. A few years later, he had gained admission to the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, photographed the likes of Andy Warhol, David Byrne and Klaus Nomi (the latter for his senior thesis)—and earned that camera. A year after graduating, he was photographing Keith Richards for the cover of Rolling Stone.

Mr. Halsband will be one of 10 presenters at the eighth edition of PechaKucha Night Hamptons at the Parrish Art Museum this Friday, June 13. The program, now in its third year, introduces the community to some of its most intriguing members through rapid-fire presentations about living creatively on the East End. Each speaker shows 20 slides for 20 seconds, sharing a life of creativity in six minutes and 40 seconds.

Organized at the Parrish by Curator of Special Projects Andrea Grover, who recently won a major award given for innovation, PechaKucha presentations began in Tokyo—PechaKucha means “chit-chat” in Japanese—in 2003 and are now given all over the world in over 700 cities.

Friday’s presenters include May Castleberry, who edits and produces hand-bound books for the Library Council of the Museum of Modern Art; artist Mirella Cheeseman, creator of the food and culture blog Santosha; painter Sabra Moon Elliot; Mr. Halsband; artist and educator John Messinger of East Hampton; Greenport oyster farmer Michael Osinski; Shinnecock Indian Nation member James Keith Phillips, who is a writer, celebrated Eastern war dancer and licensed clinical social worker; mixed-media artist and award-winning photographer Bastienne Schmidt; Ezra Thompson, a featured artist at the 2013 “Artists Choose Artists” exhibition at the Parrish; and beekeeper Mary Woltz, founder and owner of Bees’ Needs.

After his Keith Richards cover shoot, Mr. Halsband was asked by Mick Jagger to join the group as the tour photographer for the Rolling Stones’ 1981-82 “Tattoo You” North American tour. Several years later, he created his most iconic photograph, a portrait of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat wearing boxing gloves. He spent the next decades making album covers, photographing fashion and portraits, and working on international ad campaigns.

As of Monday, Mr. Halsband had not pinned down his strategy in fitting a portfolio onto 20 slides that spans more than three decades and the stories that would naturally come from going on tour with the Rolling Stones, directing a Li’l Bow Wow television commercial or creating a series of pin-up photograph and portraits of strippers and sex industry workers.

Raised in New York City but having grown to love the East End, Mr. Halsband is also a filmmaker and surfer. He founded Surf Movie Night in East Hampton and juries the Atlantic Vibrations film program at the Parrish, which premiered last summer. On Friday, however, he will focus on the hobby he found when he was 10: photography.

“I’ve taken on such a big monster by just even trying to encapsulate my life into six minutes and 40 seconds, so I feel like I would be cheating people if I started showing any film,” he said, adding he would give “background stories of the images and how I came to take them, the adventures I had.”

The portfolios and areas of expertise of the presenters are as varied as the roster itself. Mixed media artist Bastienne Schmidt works with photography, drawing and painting in her Bridgehampton studio.

Ms. Schmidt’s presentation will focus on “the sense of personal space that we create,” she said Monday, adding she will speak of her latest book and accompanying exhibition, “Topography of Quiet,” opening June 28 at Ille Arts in Amagansett.

“I grew up in Greece, Italy, Germany and the United States, so for me it’s always a very important concept to really be in a place and to be inspired by it. And to take something with me from that place, but also to create topology to compare things and structures, because every place is so different,” she said.

The rapid-fire format of the PechaKucha presentations, Ms. Schmidt added, “really makes you revisit how you want to present something, because it’s not necessarily about, ‘Oh, I want to show my 15 most beautiful paintings. It’s more like, you take the audience onto a journey.”

“It’s a great way to introduce somebody from the community, to know what they’re really about and it makes you curious to know more,” she added.

There is much to learn about each of the 10 presenters Friday. Beekeeper Mary Woltz calls “the girls,” her bees, the hardest working members of the food chain.

“Powwow season is in full swing,” tribal dancer James Keith Phillips said in an email Monday. A member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation, which has one of the 10 great powwows held in the United States, according to USA Today, Mr. Phillips is also a writer and social worker.

Artist John Messinger grew up in East Hampton and was the Watermill Center’s 20th annual International Artist in Residence. His recent works include “Facebook Makes Us Lonely” and “Learning to Meditate.”

To answer the first question he ever heard, his father’s panicked, “Is he breathing?” when he was born in a Volvo in Midtown Manhattan traffic, Mr. Messinger went on a trip exploring the country, resulting in “Learning to Meditate.”

“Throughout the course of my trip, I learned, and have been relearning each day since, that meditation, like art, will never provide me with the whole picture,” Mr. Messinger said on his website. “Notions of truth, like our views of self, are too big, too mercurial, too slippery to hold. Instead, our thoughts, like images, must be accepted as fragments, that when considered and held together in light, can sometimes offer us an alternate perspective.”

Perhaps those fragments will be in 20-second intervals Friday.

PechaKucha Night Hamptons, Vol. 8 at the Parrish Art Museum is Friday, June 13, at 6 p.m. For more information, visit parrishart.org or call (631) 283-2118.

Pictures From Home

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By Emily J. Weitz

It’s one thing to look at the striking images that fill Bastienne Schmidt’s new photography book, Home Stills. It’s quite another to sit side by side with her and go through the book, one page at a time, and pick her mind about what she was thinking when she captured these moments, which stand alone almost as powerfully as they do together.

When Bookhampton hosts a book signing with Schmidt next Saturday, the public will have the opportunity to do just that. The artist plans to take guests through a guided tour of the work, revealing a multi-dimensional significance to each image.

Schmidt has work on exhibit at some of the most prominent museums and galleries in the world, including MoMA, the Brooklyn Museum, and the International Center for Photography in New York. Home Stills is Schmidt’s third book, and, like her other works, it addresses the concept of home. But each book is starkly different, influenced wholly by the different stages of Schmidt’s life.

American Dreams is about trying to make this country — which was foreign to German-born Schmidt — home. Shadow Home is about Germany, “which I left when I was nine,” she says. “It’s about departure from home.”

But Home Stills offers yet another take on the recurring theme.

Home Stills was this coming home, when you create a family you create a home regardless of nationality — you create a home with another person… I’ve come full circle,” she says. “I am now a mother and ‘housewife.’ [The goal of Home Stills is] to show that a life close to home can be as fascinating, strange, and alienating as anywhere else.”

It’s the way she looks through the camera that makes it fascinating. Schmidt finds beauty in a toy soldier, symbolism in the snake-like tube of a vacuum cleaner. But perhaps the most powerful technique that conveys her message is in the layering.

“My work deals with layers,” she says. “Looking through something and not being able to totally see it clearly… Women have a lot of different angles and complexities to understand.”

To achieve this, Schmidt often photographs herself as the “everywoman.” You never quite see her face, whether she’s looking away or obscured by some carefully chosen fabric like a doily, a sewing pattern, or colorful yarn, as seen in “Strings Attached.” This layering, she says, represents “hiding of the real personality because you only see a fragmented image.”

This fragmented image, the silhouettes and shadows she plays with, convey the woman that is there and not completely there.

“I think it touches a deep chord with women today,” she says. “The emancipated woman – we want to have our fulfilling careers and be with our children… I create a character that’s a stand-in for many women. Women need to be very flexible with their roles,” she says.

Schmidt explores these roles — the sexpot, the little girl, the career-woman, the mother — not only in her photography but with other forms of expression as well.

“I like the personal narrative you can create in a book. I incorporate drawings, photos and film stills. I collect sources and then use time as a process to distill things,” she says.

In order to capture the images she wants, Schmidt uses tripods and works with a digital camera and film camera side by side. She uses the digital camera as a reference point, and this way she can be sure she’s gotten the right angle, even when she herself is in the photo.

“I also love the half-bird’s eye,” she says, pointing to a shot of her “everywoman” in a white dress padding through the snow (Walk in Snow). “Elevate yourself to see the picture more clearly.”

Schmidy has been living in Bridgehampton with her family for the past nine years, since she and her husband built their house on a plot of farmland.

“Living here you are struck by the landscape,” she says almost as an admission. “And that’s part of it. The clear lines and the strong colors. But there’s a duality to life out here… We live in a place where a lot of things touch each other but you have to look carefully to see what it means.”

Schmidt references a photo where her “everywoman” sits on a funky old chair in a thrift store in Patchogue (“The Yellow Dress”), and another where she walks past a Latino man standing in a giant hole on a tree farm (“Tree Farm”). These are aspects of our culture that can’t be captured by landscape alone.

“Sometimes I just roam around looking for old beauty salons or laundromats, strip malls from the 1970s. I find reminiscences of popular culture that treated women in a certain way. Working with a camera, you know anything you document is going to be gone one day. I am just recording the pre-eminent death.”

Bastienne Schmidt will preview and sign her new book, Home Stills, on Saturday December 4 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Bookhampton in East Hampton. Visit her web site, www.bastienneschmidt.com, for more information.