The Association of International Photography Art Dealers held the 35th edition of its AIPAD Photography Show on April 16-19 at the impressive setting of New York’s Park Avenue Armory. Formed in 1979, the Association is dedicated to creating and maintaining high standards in the business of exhibiting, buying and selling photographs as art.
Despite photography as a medium being a newcomer to the fine art world, it has already started to establish itself and continues to receive great recognition. With some photography works selling for as much as $6.5 million – a new record that was set by Peter Lik’s “Phantom” – it seemed like an interesting time to visit the fine art photography show held annually by the Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD) in New York City last week.
To offer our readers an inside story on this year’s show we caught up with AIPAD’s Vice President and President-elect Kraige Block, who is also representing New York based Throckmorton Fine Art gallery during the show.
Ivan Petrov: How has the annual AIPAD Photography Show evolved over the years and what is new on exhibit in 2015?
Kraige Block: The annual photography show originally started out as a table-top art fair. At that time, photography was only starting to be recognized as an art form in itself. These days, in contrast, major museums have photography departments and are busy building up their photography art collections. For 2015 we have assembled the largest number of participants with 89 galleries and dealers offering the widest variety of works available.
IP: Several Cuban photographers are being highlighted at this year’s AIPAD show against the backdrop of thawing diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States. Over the years, have you noticed any trends or relationships between current events and the photography that gets featured and acquired at the AIPAD show?
KB: The world is feeling nostalgic about looking at Cuba. The country presents a time capsule few artists have been able to capture. We expect to see new and interesting work from Cuban artists using technological advances that were previously not readily available to them. The relaxation of sanctions is likely to make their work more interesting and relevant.
IP: Can you tell us about your relationship with New York City’s 92nd Street Y who will benefit from the funds your raise through our photography show?
KB: AIPAD has worked with different beneficiaries in the past. We see the 92nd Street Y as a tremendous match because of their incredible art program on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. We plan to earmark funds that will advance their after-school art education program. We are also working on teaming up with a major financial institution who would be interested in becoming our annual opening night sponsor.
IP: AIPAD tries to inspire the next generation of photographers. How much effort and resources do you devote to introducing young and innovative artists?
KB: To a large extent this depends on the participating galleries. About half of them are currently working with contemporary and emerging artists and relationships between galleries and photographers are often very personal. Although the AIPAD show may not necessarily be the best venue for photographers to network with each other, I would encourage young artists to look at everything. It also helps to have a business mindset and to have a good idea of how likely your work is to sell at the show. After all, it’s a big annual expense for galleries to travel here.
We hope this gives you a good glimpse into what the AIPAD Photography Show is all about. As for the size of a wallet to bring to the show for those considering taking home one of the masterpieces next year: the photographs at the 2015 show ranged anywhere from $200 to $500,000. What may be an invaluable element of the annual show is that it offers an excellent opportunity for both new art collectors and aspiring art photographers alike to develop their own eye.
Baltimore artists looking to establish themselves as fine art photographers can find a broad range of exposure and industry-networking opportunities, both at home and outside the city limits. Whether it’s events like the AIPAD Photography Show, or smaller exhibitions closer to home, such as the annual “For the Record: Artfully Historic DC” contest and exhibit launched this year by the Historical Society of Washington, D.C., there is no shortage of opportunities nor is there a limit to keeping your eyes open and to push your creativity.
Here is what caught my attention at the 2015 AIPAD Photography Show: