Soth’s art is motivated less by the need for cohesion than by attentiveness to a moment that seems full of poetic possibility.
Wandering through the various lives visited by Soth’s images, it is easy to understand the political and cultural schisms in our country.
LONDON — A British science museum feels like a strange place for a photography exhibition about 21st-century America.
“Moving through the world brings the world alive,” Alec Soth told Hyperallergic. “I considered myself a photographer for about a decade before I seriously started traveling. Once I hit the road, everything changed. I found I could more deeply connect with the people and places I encountered.”
SAN FRANCISCO — Alec Soth’s latest multi-year investigation of life in the hinterlands of the United States is a refined version of the now venerable notion of the photographic road trip.
The Aperture Foundation, created in 1952, did much to alter photography’s reputation at a time when it was not yet considered art. Sixty years later, for the current anniversary exhibition, Aperture Remix, the foundation commissioned ten photographers — Rinko Kawauchi, Vik Muniz, Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs, Martin Parr, Doug Rickard, Viviane Sassen, Alec Soth, Penelope Umbrico, and James Welling — to revisit and respond to one of its publications, an issue of Aperture magazine or a photography book, that inspired their own work.
“One picture leads to another,” Alec Soth tells the two filmmakers in Somewhere to Disappear (2011), a documentary that follows him around during the last two years that he worked on his photographic book, Broken Manual (2006-11). Later, in the film, he says: “I want to be carried.” Soth yearns for a subject to overwhelm his curiosity, leading him into places and situations that he couldn’t have otherwise foreseen. Photography is his means of discovering both the self and the Other, and where the two meet. It is how he finds “a path through the world.”
Despite the 2010 New York Art Book Fair getting quite a fair amount of press attention, photographer and fair participant Alec Soth feels that it wasn’t exactly the right kind. His criticism lies not with the fair itself nor with its PR, rather, his opinion that critics don’t often go out of their way to review art books in detail. A post on his nascent publishing outfit, Little Brown Mushroom’s, blog has the details.
The Art Chicago preview had all the energy of a funeral home decorated in an array of polite artworks in gilded frames but NEXT, Art Chicago’s ersatz “alternative fair” for “emerging” galleries and artists, certainly had a buzz about it.