Born in Cleveland, OH, in 1963, Todd Eberle is a professional photographer and artist based in New York City. He is currently photographer-at-large forVanity Fair. First celebrated for his photographs of Donald Judd’s works and architecture, Eberle is best known for his interpretive work comprising of iconic subject matter such as art, architecture, interiors, design, and portraits. Turning his lens on these subjects, Eberle presents the disparate images that make up international architecture, landscapes, and society. His vision is united by a minimalist aesthetic; a potent mix of control, symmetry and proportion.
We caught up with him to find out more about his photographs, the lessons he has learned throughout his career, and his brand new book, Todd Eberle: Empire of Space.
Todd, Working for Vanity Fair has given you the opportunity to shoot some great events, places and people. What are a few of your personal favourites?
Probably my “Modern’s Masters” portfolio in which I made portraits of the last of the great Modernists: Philip Johnson (which was his last portrait), Oscar Niemeyer, Florence Knoll Bassett, Phyllis Lambert, Dieter Rams, and Dan Kiley. The combined age of the subjects in that portfolio was over 1,000 years.
Some of my other favourites are my portfolio on portraits of painters, “Gotta Paint” in which then little-known artists such as Cecily Brown and John Currin were launched into their ‘superstar’ careers; John Pawson’s monastery in the Czech Republic, Disneyland’s 50th anniversary I got to make with Dave Hickey who wrote the essay in my book, Donald Judd’s work in Marfa, Texas. Most of the stories I’ve had in Vanity Fair were my ideas, so I’m personally attached to most of them. It’s why I make little distinction between my ‘personal’ work and my ‘commercial’ work. Those lines are as blurred as my subject matter.
Empire of Space is your first book. Given your expansive back catalogue, was it difficult to narrow down which images you wanted to include? What process did you go through to choose your images?
Walker Evans’ posthumous book, First and Last, was the inspiration for making pairings of images in my book. The most liberating part of it was it allowed me to mix my expansive range of subjects. Once I settled on making the juxtapositions of pairs of disparate images, it helped me to focus it exclusively on finding two images that had something in common. I think I came up with about 400 or so pairs that got edited down to 125 or so in the book.
What attracts you to want to photograph something? Your scope is very broad – from architecture to society. Is American life the common thread that holds it all together?
It doesn’t really matter to me if it’s a building or a person as long as I can tell some kind of a story that means something to history. My book has a lot of “American” subjects, and that’s something I’m certainly obsessed with, but at the end of the day, it’s all instinct. Drag queens, flowers, architecture, the art world, artists, architects: as long as a subject interests me, I can become obsessive about it. All those subjects have always held my interest, and will continue to.
You were able to photograph the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. What are the challenges around shooting something on that scale? Do any other assignments stand out as especially challenging?
At CERN, it was not being able to get back far enough to effectively capture the scale, as the spaces are 300-ft underground and packed tight. As long as I get a decent amount of time-and sometimes don’t for whatever reason, I have to make the best of the circumstance. I have made something out of a five-minute window of opportunity, but it’s certainly not ideal.
After a shaky start-I got kicked out of art school in 1985, and never trained formally in photography, so I’ve gotten quite fast at making photographs in the nearly 30 years I’ve been making them. My biggest problem is editing after the shoot. I make a lot of material and approach many things as if they are book projects, so it’s sometimes difficult to get rid of images.
What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned as a photographer?
To have had the sense to discard the somewhat successful fashion photography career I once had. I knew the art and architecture I was starting to photograph actually made for material that means something over time, and a fashion photograph for the most part, are completely useless once they are published. And besides, Avedon, Penn and Newton had already made their marks, and they were indelible. How can one stand up to that pantheon of talent? In committing to subjects of my own interest and choosing, I’ve been able to build something of my own, I think. Which other photographers do you admire?
Walker Evans and Irving Penn-both of whom had no boundaries when it came to their subject matter.
Can you give us a sneak peek into what you’ll be talking about at the AGO?
I will show some of the pairings from the book and talk about some of the memorable stories behind them. I might also talk about how some photographs are not ‘what they seem’, and that the viewer should not necessarily take some of mine at face value.
Join Todd Eberle at the AGO this Friday, October 21, for a brown bag lunch and talk. Tickets cost $29 ($23 for members) and include your lunch!
Back again for my second live blog of the day. This time we’ll be hearing what a selection of Toronto’s finest have to say about our city. Is it beautiful? Could it be beautiful? Or do we have to resign ourselves to aesthetic mediocrity? Here’s some info about the event…..
“Four prominent Torontonians in two teams will be debating what it takes to make Toronto beautiful, and whether we have the infrastructure, ideas, and resources to do so. This will encompass politics, the arts, architecture, the business community, culture, and Toronto’s local communities. Featuring Jack Diamond and John Barber vs. Nick Mount and Stephen Marche with moderator Amanda Lang and provocation by Denise Balkissoon, Yvonne Bambrick, Matt Galloway and Albert Schultz.”
You can also follow The Walrus’ @davidpleonard for tweets from event, and you should also check out their Toronto Project Soapbox Site for lots more hot Toronto debate. Our liveblog starts at 7pm EST – stay tuned! – Holly, Internet & Social Media Content Coordinator.
Jack Diamond = AD
John Barber = JB
Nick Mount = AM
Stephen Marche = SM
Amanda Lang = AL
18.54 Really busy already – think we’re in for a lively night!
19.00 Opening remarks from the AGO’s Adult Program Coordinator, Gillian McIntyre. ‘We really want the AGO to be a forum for discussion and to play a role in this city. TOnight is out live on Walrus TV.
19.02 Shelley Ambrose, publisher, The Walrus is telling us about the magazine. The foundation has a mandate to stir up debate – the cover of this issue features a story about the state of Toronto – the beginning of a conversation that continues here and on Soapbox. The hashtag for tonight is #TODebate.
‘If this is your first walrus debate, do not be fooled by the position they have have been asked to take. Not all of our debaters necessarily agree with what they are arguing.’
19.06 AL ‘My role is a neutral one… An interesting exercise for a working journalist.’
‘Be it resolved that there be mention of ferris wheels.’ – gets a laugh from the audience.
The speakers are being introduced – architect Jack Diamond, journalist and committed cyclist John Barber (for the motion) and fiction editor of The Walrus, Nick Mount and novelist Stephen Marche (against)
19.12 JD ‘I want to make it clear that we’re not talking about it’s liveability. We’re talking about beauty. There’s general consensus that cities like Paris and Dublin are beautiful – why? They are lucky enough to be built at a time when architecture of fine detail was prevalent. When you lift your eyes in these cities, your heart is also lifted.
19.14 In Toronto… The constitutional arrangement is not about to change anytime soon. The likelihood of provincial politicians giving up fiscal power to the city is as likely as our opponents winning the debate!’
‘Presbyterian narrowness and architectural mediocrity’ – JD describing Toronto.
19.17 NM ‘After the first world war a group of artists refused to produce beautiful art for a society they felt turned Europe into a wasteland. Art would no longer be beautiful – Duchamp’s toilet is the most influential art piece of the 20th century art. Beauty is not the point. Ugly is the new beauty. Where art led, cities followed. Most North American cities were built at a time in which educated taste was hostile to beauty. But there is an emerging trend towards beauty – places like the Brickworks, Dufferin Grove.’
‘There is nothing inevitable about our tastes or out cities – Toronto can be beautiful if we want it to be.’
19.23 JB ‘Toronto has an affinity for ugliness built into it’s DNA. JB is showing ugly photos of Toronto.
‘It dwarfs any other aspect of the city. I can’t imagine saying this is beautiful. This is Toronto the ‘good enough.’ Toronto is about harmony, affordability. Democracy is not a beautiful thing – it is messy.’
19.27 SM ‘Every city has horrible suburbs, including Paris. The point of this debate hinges on the word never – never is a long time. I think it’s an impossible argument to make – even compared to 10 years ago the city is unrecognisable.’
‘The beautiful city we could build comes from money and talent and will. I believe we have all three.’
‘Torontonians care for beauty now. Even Rob Ford, with his limited imagination, understood that something beautiful needed to happen with his ferris wheel. Beauty is an essential part of living in an urban metropolis.’
19.32 JD ‘Noone questions the fact that people want it to be beautiful. The question is about the money. We have the huge millstone of what we have already built. The circumstances are such it is not possible to achieve.’
19.34 SM ‘If we get as good as New York, everyone in this room would be happy with it.’
19.36 JB ‘The images I showed you are of a city of becoming.. Created by people who arrive in the city and want to get a hold on something.’
19.37 JB ‘Contemporary cities are ugly. Apart from in North Korea.’
19.40 SM ‘Postmodern architecture is very well represented in Toronto and it’s very beautiful.’
19.42 AL opens up the floor to the provocateurs.
‘We have to reframe the debate – how can we put the beautiful software on top of e hardware of the city, if the hardware is unchangeable? What can we do with the human infrastructure to make this a beautiful city.’
JD ‘The growing disparity in incomes is the root cause of a great deal of problems.’
JB ‘I believe physical beauty doesn’t much matter – it’s misconstrued by rich people.’
19.49 SM is defending beauty. ‘There are no reproductions of Damien Hirsts in hospital gift shops. Beauty brings us together in times of grief and times of joy.’
19.52 PRovocateur 2, Yvonne Bambrick.
‘As a cyclist I’m interested in th way people move between the beautiful spaces in the city.’
JD ‘Toronto doesn’t favour the pedestrian. Narrowing the roads is progress in my view – we lack the finesse here. In winter we provide little protection above ground. Imagine Toronto with protected streets? We don’t respond to the city by responsive context.
SM ‘It doesn’t mean we can’t improve – I do not find the car to be incompatible with beauty.’
19.57 JB ‘The lack of ambition here is terrible – Toronto could be Amsterdam for cycling but we dont confront the issues.
19.58 Provocateur 3 – Matt Galloway
‘I’ve had beautiful moments in this city waiting for a haircut – get out of the downtown core and pay more attention. We talk down about the city enough – we don’t talk about what is beautiful at a grass roots level. Do we need to change how we think before we are able to be beautiful?
JM ‘We have this thing where we say we’re either Paris, France or Paris, Ontario. BOth of this ideas are excuses. We need to use talent and political will to create beauty.
JB ‘I agree now is the moment… But it’s not happening.’
20.02 Provocateur 4 – Denise Balkissoon
‘The New York Times said Toronto has no street fashion – what is the individual responsibility for beauty?’
JD ‘We have heterogeneous taste in Toronto – which means we don’t have a conventional beauty.
20.06 Final Provocateur – John Lorinc
‘Have we been paying attention to beauty in the wrong spot? Should we be thinking about the ravines?’
SM ‘we’re going to be built on the terms of the 21st century. Just because we’re not Medieval doesn’t mean we can’t be beautiful.’
AL is sharing the Soapbox question – is public space without art a missed opportunity?
NM ‘We surrendered beauty to billboards.’
JD ‘Art needs to be designed with the space, with the buildings – set pieces that work well frame the vista. I don’t think dumping it is a solution.’
It’s now time for questions from the audience….
‘Can you imagine a person from Vancouver or Newfoundland saying, ‘ahhh, beautiful Toronto?’
JD ‘No, but they come for the film festival.’
SM ‘I think people do say that – the fluidity is a beautiful and unique aspect of Toronto.’
JD ‘We dont develop a huge base in schools for the arts – we kill it. There’s no opportunity to develop.’
SM ‘We’re living in a renaissance – I disagree there’s no matrix for artistic activity in the city.’
Audience Q ‘What is the appropriate role of the use of power?’
JD ‘It’s important not to have aesthetic police.’
NM ‘We need younger people, less white people, more women – architecture is dominated by old White men – it’s time to let the other kids play in the sand box.
20.21 Audience Q ‘Who is the decider if what is beautiful?’
NM ‘There’s not so much disagreement about what is beautiful. Empirical research shows that we all agree – across gender, race, age.’
AL We’re at time!
Gillian McIntire is back on stage to thank the participants. Thank you to everyone that tuned in to the blog – have a great evening!
This morning I’m going to be blogging from the media preview of Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde, the AGO’s new major show which opens on October 18. Opening remarks from the AGO’s Matthew Teitelbaum (MT), Elizabeth Smith (ES) along with Angela Lampe (AL), the Curator of Historical Collections, Musée national d’art moderne in Centre Pompidou. We’ll be kicking off at 10.20am EST. – Holly, Internet & Social Media Content Coordinator.
Yum. Mini buckwheat pancakes with caramelised apple and maple syrup.
I love this logo - so colourful!
09.55 Members of the press are arriving in Baillie Court, the Gallery’s event space. (Also available for weddings by the way!)
10.20 MT is on the stage. ‘There are 118 works by more than 20 artists. The exhibition is divided into five themes – In Search Of Roots, Artistic Advances in Paris and Russia, Return to Russia, Art and Revolution and Chagall’s World of Theatre and the Circus.’
10.20 MT thanking sponsors for coming together and helping us to achieve something we otherwise couldn’t have done and talking about our three shows that examine ‘great moments in 20th Century art.’ First Abstract Expressionist: New York, now Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde followed by Picasso in 2012.’
View from the back - Elizabeth Smith, Matthew Teitelbaum, Angela Lampe
10.23 ‘This exhibition says alot about roots, homes and artistic influence.’
10.25 ES ‘One of the most impressive things about this show is not only the iconic Chagall paintings, but works by figures like Kandinksy and others.’ (The show also features works by Deluaunay, Gontcharova, Malevitch and Rodtchenko – HK)
10.27 AL is talking about Chagall’s sources of inspiration, ‘Chagall was not an artist living in complete isolation from his peers… New abstract forms inspired his own art.’
10.30 ‘All the Chagall works you see in the show are from his own personal collection.’
10.32 MT ‘What was it about Paris that was so appealing for artists?’
10.33 AL Before World War One Paris was really the capital of art. In Paris there lots of possibilities to have studios, lots of social and cultural life.’
10.37 ES is talking about how the exhibition was set up, the ‘choreography of the display’. ‘We had to acknowledge that our space is very different, and a big emphasis at the AGO is on audience. We try and provide as much interpretive material as possible.’ Also talking about Constructing Utopia: Books and Posters from Revolutionary Russia (1910-1940), a show built from our own prints and drawings collection as a complement to Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde.
Amazing image from Constructing Utopia
10.41 Question from the audience – When did Chagall start doing stained glass windows?
AL ‘HE started in the 1960s, in France. He was already an acclaimed international artists.
10:42 MT ‘Picasso said that after Matisse died Chagall would be the great colourist.’
10.44 That’s it for the remarks – Everyone is heading down to the exhibition to see the artworks. Thanks for tuning in to the liveblog!
Chagall and the Russian Avant Garde opens on October 18. For more information please visit our Chagall microsite.
What: Art Chat Monthly (#ACM) is a Twitter chat with a new art topic each month. When: Thursday 13 October 11:00 – 12:30 EST Where: On Twitter – Follow @AGOToronto for more information or search for the hashtag #ACM Who:@AGOToronto and you! Art Chat Monthly (#ACM) is for everyone – from other galleries and museums on Twitter to arts professionals to artists to anyone interested in learning more and meeting other passionate art fans. Why: It’s a great, free way of meeting art fans from across the world. How: Starting at 11am we’ll be asking a series of questions around the month’s topic for you to answer, debate and discuss.
From 11am until 12.30pm EST on Thursday 13 October the chat host (us!) will be tweeting a question every 10 minutes for 90 minutes, using the hastag #ACM. Anyone can respond, also using the #ACM hashtag. What is a hashtag?
For example, we would tweet:
Q1 What is your favourite art gallery? #ACM
And you could tweet back:
A1 The Art Gallery of Ontario! #ACM
Simple! So what are we going to be talking about this month?
Our topic for the first ever Art Chat Monthly (#ACM) is photography. We’re not going to reveal our questions just yet, but we promise they’ll be thought-provoking! We were inspired by the two great photography exhibitions we’ve got going on in the Gallery right now:
One lucky tweep who takes part will win one nights accommodation at an awarding winning hotel courtesy of Starwood Hotel & Resorts and a pair of tickets to visit the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto!
We hope that you’ll help spread the word and join us for this great online event. For more information about Art Chat Monthly please email email@example.com
See you on Twitter, Thursday 13 October 11:00 – 12:30 EST
In this series of blog posts we’ll be looking at each of the artists shortlisted for The Grange Prize 2011: Gauri Gill, Nandini Valli, Althea Thauberger and Elaine Stocki. The Prize is Canada’s only major art prize where the winner is chosen by the public. Vote now. Each year four fine art photographers, two from Canada and two from a partner country, are nominated by an international jury of experts. This year, the partner country is India. The Grange Prize is a partnership between the AGO and Aeroplan.
“I’m purposely trying to be a little bit of a conundrum… my identity isn’t immediately so obvious. Who is this person photographing? Is she black, is she white? Is this a man, or is it a woman? Is she straight, is she gay?” Elaine Stocki, artist statement (video), The Grange Prize 2011
Elaine Stocki’s photographs began drawing critical attention when she was still an undergraduate student at the University of Manitoba. Now based in Brooklyn, she continues to hone a practice that challenges the expected limits of documentary photography by infusing its conventions with a constructed theatricality expressed in a voice uniquely her own. Working with subjects from a range of social standings –– Stocki creates compositions that explore the pressing issues of race, class and gender.
While her themes are age-old, her language is remarkable in its seamless merging of reality and fantasy, order and disorder, humour and tragedy. Stocki roots herself in the history of photography, but has devised an approach to the medium which allows her to create images that are consistently unexpected and unconventional and always provocative.
Elaine Stocki: At A Glance
Stocki was raised in Winnipeg in 1979. She earned two undergraduate degrees from the University of Manitoba before completing her Master’s degree in Photography at Yale University in 2009.
Her work, shot both in colour and in black and white, explores themes such as race, class and gender.
One method she uses to find subjects to photograph is by placing classified ads in newspapers and online in order to meet strangers.
Elaine has exhibited at the Deutsche Guggenheim (Berlin) and Zach Feuer (New York) as well as participating in Toronto’s CONTACT photography festival.
“Elaine Stocki takes photographs of people in Winnipeg and New Haven, sometimes meeting them through classified ads that she has placed online or in the newspaper. She particularly likes photographing groups of people. Her interests lie in the investigation of performance, spectacle and farce as tools for questioning and blurring the lines of gender, race and class. Stocki is seeking some sort of genuine expression of emotion in what is a contrived situation.”
Two rare collections on display in conjunction with Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde
(TORONTO – Oct. 5, 2011) Artworks from two special collections at the Art Gallery of Ontario – Prints and Drawings, and the Edward P. Taylor Reference Library and Archives – are showcased in Constructing Utopia: Books and Posters from Revolutionary Russia, 1910–1940. Opening Oct. 8, 2011, the exhibition runs until Jan. 15, 2012.
Using the major AGO exhibition Chagall and the Russian Avant-Garde: Masterpieces from the Collection of the Centre Pompidou, Paris as a departure point, Constructing Utopia examines the era of revolution in the Russian empire as the tsarist autocracy was deposed and replaced by a Communist government that enlisted the people in the construction of a utopian Soviet society. This all-encompassing political and social project is reflected in the striking art and design of the times.
Curated by Medeine Tribinevicius, AGO Gelber Intern, Prints and Drawings, and Donald Rance, AGO Reference Librarian, the exhibitionbrings into dialogue two exciting branches of graphic design: futurist and constructivist books, which speak to the formative artistic years of the avant-garde; and large-scale, dramatic posters, which demonstrate the impact of this ground-breaking art movement on the everyday visual culture of Soviet Russia.
The AGO’s collection of Russian posters is the finest public compilation of revolutionary posters in North America. The rare books are a recent Gallery acquisition (donated anonymously in 2009), and this marks the collection’s first public showing. Comprising over 100 works, the books and posters focus on portrayals of political figures and momentous events, as well as propaganda supporting the changes to mass education and literacy campaigns in the early years of the Soviet Union.
A lifetime of collecting and generosity honoured at the AGO
(TORONTO – Oct. 4, 2011) The Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) celebrates the long-standing patronage of Joey and Toby Tanenbaum with an exhibition comprising highlights from the masterworks the couple has donated to the Gallery over almostfour decades. Featuring 28 Old Master paintings and five sculptures, From Renaissance to Rodin: Celebrating the Tanenbaum Gift is currently on view in the Walter C. Laidlaw and E.R Wood Galleries and Walker Court.
“The AGO is fortunate to have been the beneficiary of the Tanenbaums’ generosity over the years, and to be entrusted as the custodian of such an extraordinary collection of works,” said Matthew Teitelbaum, the Michael and Sonja Koerner Director, and CEO. “Joey and Toby’s ongoing support of their hometown art museum and the spirit that drives their love of art have had a considerable effect in guiding the shape and scope of the Gallery.”
The Tanenbaums’ love of rich imagery and visual depth, high drama and narrative tone is evident in the works of the exhibition. Spanning from the 15th to the 20th century, paintings by artists including Jan Victors, Artus Wolfort, Luca Giordano, Antoine Coypel, Jean-Baptiste Jouvenet and Thomas Lawrence capture mainly Classical and biblical themes.
Kseniya Simonova, a contestant on Ukraine’s Got Talent, shows us that Chagall continues to inspire artists of all kinds. She is a performance artist who works in sand and this piece, titled You Are Always With Us, tells the story of a young couple separated by war. Simonova went on to win the competition and one million hryvna (around $110,000).
Have you seen any unusual Chagall-inspired artwork? Leave your links in the comments section below so we can check them out!
The Government of Canada recently introduced the Canadian Children’s Arts Tax Credit, giving parents the opportunity to claim the 15 per cent non-refundable Canadian Children’s Arts Tax Credit on qualifying expenses up to $500 starting in 2011 for each child who is under the age of 16 at the beginning of the tax year. The age limit is 18 for children eligible for the Disability Tax Credit and an additional amount of $500 will be provided in those instances. The credit will go towards fees paid that contribute to the development of a child’s creative skills or expertise in artistic or cultural programs.
Here at the AGO, the Children and Family Programs and Youth Studio offer an exceptional learning environment where children and youth are given the opportunity to do just that. Along with access to AGO’s galleries, collections, and new Weston Family Learning Centre, children and youth are presented with a variety of ways to learn and create.
* One-day family workshops, courses that are complimentary with admission, and programs that are part of school curriculum are not eligible for this tax credit.
To Qualify Classes Must Be:
Ongoing (either a minimum of once a week for at least eight weeks’ duration) or five consecutive days;
Suitable for children.
What Parents Need To Know
fees paid for the cost of memberships, registration, administration, instruction, and the rental of equipment is also included as an eligible expense.
Parents will receive an electronic receipt in January that will list: organization’s name and address, eligible program, fees paid and date received, full name of payer, full name of child and the child’s year of birth.