Pop Filter Hot Pick: First-of-its-kind PGH Photo Fair
A first-of-its-kind Pittsburgh photography event
is ushering in the art fair season this weekend in East Liberty.
Pittsburgh has a long and storied legacy in terms of being home to, and serving as inspiration for, innovative photographers--from Teenie Harris and W. Eugene Smith, to Dorothea Lange and Aaronel deRoy Gruber--pioneering figures whose works and careers have recently been examined via major museum exhibitions, scholarly catalogues and documentary films.
Now, a homegrown fair is providing a place for hobbyists and collectors alike to gather among gallery owners and art dealers, peruse fine art, purchase original prints and publications, and learn more about the innovative medium. Premiering on April 21st and 22nd at the ever-evolving nabe's former YMCA, the PGH Photo Fair is set to transform the site's sprawling ballroom into a two-day celebration of fine art photography.
Making its debut as the first locally produced (and planned to be annual) fair to focus specifically on the presentation of photography within the contemporary and fine art markets, the new boutique art fair will feature six internationally recognized exhibitors. For sale pieces will include museum-quality prints and photo-based art spanning the history of the medium, from vintage 20th-century prints to contemporary photography and photographic book art.
Still searching for the right piece for that empty living room wall? Looking for that perfect wedding gift for the creative couple in your life? Thanks to the PGH Photo Fair
, you don't
have to fly to New York, Paris or London to find some of the medium's most coveted and cutting-edge pieces. Designed to appeal to novices and experienced collectors alike, the fair will provide opportunities for the public to browse original works, shop for affordable and rare prints and learn about the history and significance of photography from renowned experts in the field.
The fair also spotlights current redevelopment and community revitalization projects taking place in East Liberty by situating its first event in the future home of the 40-room boutique-style Ace Hotel
, a modern-bohemian destination that will bring a much-needed amenity to the centrally located historic neighborhood.
Free and open to the public, the unique event was founded by Pittsburgh-based photography collector, Evan Mirapaul, who worked closely with event sponsors East Liberty Development, Inc.
, boutique real estate firm Edile
and the Ace Hotel
"This brings the kinds of things Pittsburghers have seen in our museums for sale. You can get up close to them and have a discussion about them in personal ways. Each of the galleries will be thrilled to role up their sleeves and talk with people. I have noticed an incredible number of smart engaged viewers in Pittsburgh at museum programs and at artist-focused events, and I think Pittsburghers will really enjoy this kind of engagement. I chose these galleries based on the high quality of their work and for their accessibility. They have all exhibited at fairs all over of the world," says Mirapaul, who has been collecting photography for 20 years.
Founder of the photographic consulting and art project firm Fugitive Vision
, Mirapaul also has experience as a published writer, portfolio reviewer and a consultant to galleries, collectors and museums. After spending several years in Berlin--and decades in Pittsburgh--he began to notice some synergies between the two cities.
"In spirit, Pittsburgh and Berlin have a lot in common. They are both cities that were something else and are in the process of becoming something different. Part of that is in their architecture. Berlin has used its architecture to feed its art life, with many pop-up style fairs, shows and installations. I'd love to bring some of that to Pittsburgh. There are so many spaces conducive to that here," adds Mirapaul, who says that the Ace Hotel was an incredibly supportive partner. "I was absolutely looking at a space that could be something else. Ace supports the idea and the arts. They were so excited and eager to have it be part of the development of the hotel, and right on board."
Fair-goers will learn firsthand about the acclaimed NYC-based Aperture
foundation, which works to connect the photography community and its diverse audiences. Founded in 1952 by Ansel Adams, Minor White, Dorothea Lange, and other leading photographers, the foundation has expanded its mission to share photographic work via events and exhibitions, a print magazine and website, and prizes and publications. Proceeds from the sales of Aperture prints and portfolios will benefit artists, and help maintain the high quality of the foundation's publications and programming. At the Aperture booth, visitors will also explore the work of 2011 Aperture Portfolio Prize winner, Sarah Palmer.
Also featured will be NYC-based Gitterman Gallery
, which will showcase a broad selection of vintage black and white photography from the 1930s to the present. Highlighted will be work by NYC photographer Gita Lenz (1910 - 2011) and Chicago-based photographer Kenneth Josephson.
Bringing Toronto's photography scene to town will be Stephen Bulger Gallery
. Considered Canada’s "go-to destination" for photographs, Bulger Gallery hosts approximately 10 exhibitions each year and represents numerous leading photographers and important estates. At the PGH Photo Fair, the Gallery will exhibit new work from Alison Rossiter’s series Lament
, unique late 1960s-era prints by Dave Heath, and color photographs by Scott Conarroe.
European and American avant-garde, contemporary and documentary photography more your cup of tea? Be sure to stop by Stephen Daiter Gallery's
presentation of 20th- and 21st-century work from the Institute of Design, Photo League and New York School. Don't miss their vintage photographs of 1940s-era Pittsburgh by Alfred Watson.
Representing Pittbsurgh at the event is Lawrenceville-based Spaces Corners
. The first local shop dedicated to the photographic book as a contemporary art object, Spaces Corners will feature many of 2011’s critically acclaimed photographic books from notable indie publishers, such as MACK, London, The Ice Plant, Los Angeles and J&L Books, as well as an assortment of rare collectibles and small-run artist books.
"I am glad that this complements gets tithing happening in Pittsburgh, photo is a great way for people to get started if they have not yet with art collecting," says Mirapaul. "I look at this Saturday and Sunday as a kind of weather balloon. I think the ground is fertile ground for this here, and we will find out."
The PGH Photo Fair
takes place April 21st and April 22nd at 120 South Whitfield St. The fair is free and open to the public from noon to 6 p.m. on April 21st and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 22nd.
Read all the Pop Filter picks
Joseph Szabo, Hurt, Jones Beach, 1972, Credit line: Copyright Joseph Szabo, courtesy of Gitterman Gallery.
Maurice Tabard, Untitled (portrait montage), 1932, courtesy of l'Association des amis de Tabard and L. Parker Stephenson Photographs, New York.