Less than a month after art lovers trekked through the snow to New York’s far West Side for the Armory Show, it’s time for another trip to Pier 94 for the AIPAD Photography Show. From emerging artists to 19th-century pioneers of the medium, the Association of International Photography Dealers fair covers the full range of photographic history. Since that can feel a bit overwhelming, here’s a guide to a few of the top contemporary names you might not know—but should.
MIMI PLUMB AT JENKINS JOHNSON GALLERY
Mimi Plumb’s photo series “Dark Days” was first created in the early 1980s when the artist was in grad school at the San Francisco Art Institute, but it didn’t see the light of day until more than 30 years later. Plumb revisited the work in 2015 when she retired from teaching, and found that the issues she was grappling with then were startlingly relevant once more.
“Mimi’s ‘Dark Days’ series continues to be relevant today because it forces us to realize how little has changed since she first photographed these moments,” says gallerist Karen Jenkins-Johnson. “The 1980s were a dark period in American history, plagued by hyperinflation, the AIDS epidemic, the Gulf War, an under-performing stock market, and the election of a former movie star as president. Today, global warming, a war in the Middle East, and the election of a reality TV star to the presidency have all contributed to a feeling of discomfort and unease, characteristic of the social and political climate from thirty years ago.”
From a group of onlookers watching a fireworks display to a woman clutching a bottle of beer, the majority of the subjects in Plumb’s stark, black-and-white photos are shot from behind. Their faces are rarely shown, imbuing the series with a foreboding sense of mystery.
Plumb’s contemporary prints start at $3,600, while her vintage prints begin at $6,800. Select photographs from “Dark Days” will be included in Plumb’s forthcoming book, Landfall, which will be published this summer by TBW Books.