the literate lens

photography, writing and the spaces between

The Birth of Arbus

There are artists whose work is so raw, so emotionally direct, that it seems potentially dangerous. In 1938, the Surrealist artist André Breton described Frida Kahlo’s painting as “a ribbon … Continue reading

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Mother Lode: An Interview with Ali Smith

Mothers’ Day is just around the corner, and if you’ve had it up to here with chocolate hearts and perfumed soaps and schmaltzy messages on flowery greeting cards, you might … Continue reading

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Faces in the Crowd

A friend, visiting from California recently, remarked that New Yorkers are skilled in the “art of the swerve.” She was referring to that moment that happens when two people, approaching … Continue reading

July 11, 2016 · 3 Comments

Some Highlights from AIPAD

On a visit yesterday to AIPAD, the Association of International Photography Art Dealers fair at the Park Avenue Armory, my friend, the talented food photographer Evi Abeler, and I played … Continue reading

April 18, 2016 · 2 Comments

Diane Arbus, Howard Nemerov and Sibling Rivalry

For the poet Howard Nemerov, photography “was the enemy of all that was mobile and enchanting and fluid and lovely about our short time on earth.” It was slightly inconvenient, … Continue reading

April 1, 2016 · 6 Comments

Saul Leiter in London

Saul Leiter would have hated this article. Before reading a word of it, he would have deemed it “too much.” In the first essay in Saul Leiter, a new monograph that accompanies … Continue reading

March 11, 2016 · 10 Comments

Mission Total Immersion: Laura Poitras at the Whitney

Would you like your art with a side of politics, or your politics with a side of art? You don’t really have to choose at Astro Noise, a new exhibition … Continue reading

February 22, 2016 · 3 Comments
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