The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Sunday, June 24, 2018

The experimental vision and spirit of the Fotoform group is on view at Howard Greenberg Gallery
Vera Lutter, Clock Tower, Brooklyn, June 29, 2009. Unique gelatin silver print, 19 x 19 1/4 inches.

NEW YORK, NY.- In 1949, a group of avant-garde photographers got together in Germany to resusitate creativity in photography, which had been deemed degenerate by the Nazis. Founded by Otto Steinert, the group became known as Fotoform. By picking up where the Surrealists and the Bauhaus left off, Fotoform became a movement and spread internationally.

The experimental vision and spirit of the Fotoform group is on view in The Mechanics of Expression: Vera Lutter, Sameer Makarius & Otto Steinert at Howard Greenberg Gallery from April 6 – May 13,, 2017. The exhibition explores work by Steinert and his Fotoform group, as well as Sameer Makarius (1924-2009) who formed a photography group in Argentina, and contemporary artist Vera Lutter. Although living in different countries at different times, the artists exhibit a similar visual vocabulary.

From its origins, the medium of photography has held out the promise of enhanced vision, of eyes outside our bodies, in the words of Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. It has enticed its practitioners into realms of experiment and speculation, and inspired them to produce works that are equal parts science and self-expression. Even as the medium evolved artistically toward a documentary precision and a fidelity to appearances, it developed an alternative history, a tradition of testing the boundaries of the visual. The artists in the exhibition have carried that tradition forward in dramatic ways. They have given free rein to photographic processes, embraced abstraction, explored extreme ideas of form, and adapted the oldest photographic tools to new uses and formats.

Profoundly influenced by Moholy-Nagy, Otto Steinert (1915-1978) led an effort after World War II to revive the investigative essence of Bauhaus photography. Forming the Fotoform group in 1949, Steinert organized al series of exhibitions that broke with the conventions of documentary realism that largely defined the medium. Championing what he called subjective photography, Steinert and the Fotoform artists sought to reforge the links between photography’s experimental, nonobjective elements and the inner experience of both viewer and photographer.

Egyptian-born Sameer Makarius (1924-2009) established his own photography group, Forum, in Buenos Aires. Makarius was one of Argentina’s premier documentarians but also one of the medium’s most radical practitioners. Also influenced by Moholy-Nagy, he merged painting and photography through the use of cliché verre – creating his own abstract negatives on glass.

The contemporary work of Vera Lutter (b. 1960) has embodied this experimental spirit in photography by looking forward and back simultaneously. Lutter has revived the prephotographic device of the camera obscura to create large, one-of-a-kind negative pinhole images of New York City. Her focus on industrial sites evokes a city of labor and production, but one long since undergoing transformation.

By playing with reality, the photographers at times cause the viewer to question what they are seeing. In the exhibition, Steinert’s experiments with textural vaselike forms turned horizontal from 1955-56 are juxtaposed with his early 1950s industrial smoke stacks. An extraordinary level of experimention can be seen in Makarius’s 1961 amorphous splattered abstractions. Lutter, who credits the Fotoform group as an influence, is represented by her depiction of bold architectural forms in her 1996 Fulton Ferry Landing and 2015 Brooklyn Bridge photographs.

The photographers in The Mechanics of Expression: Vera Lutter, Sameer Makarius & Otto Steinert offer viewers a new role – as explorers of visual worlds far beyond the range of normal seeing. As Steinert wrote, “Photography gives us for the first time a feeling of the structure of things with an intensity which the eye, limited by its accommodation, had hitherto been quite unable to perceive.”

For Vera Lutter, New York is a recurring subject in her photographs. She employs the technique of the camera obscura, or pinhole camera, in projects around the world where she has photographically rendered architecture, shipyards, airports, and abandoned factories, focusing on industrial sites that pertain to transportation and fabrication. Vera Lutter was born in 1960 in Kaiserslautern, Germany. She graduated in 1991 from the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich, and received her M.F.A. in 1995 from the School of Visual Arts, New York. Lutter’s photographs are in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, among others. She currently lives and works in New York City.

Sameer Makarius (1924-2009) was born in Cairo to a German mother and Egyptian father. He grew up in both countries as well as in Hungary during World War II, where he studied painting and sculpture. In Budapest in 1944, he exhibited at the First Non-Figurative Art Exhibition. He later settled in Argentina and was known as a pioneered a new understanding of photography. He founded a group of photographers known as Forum dedicated to promoting photography as fine art. He wrote the first essay published in Argentina on photography from 1840-1981 and published several books of his photographs. His work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Tate, London; and Museo de Arte Moderno de Buenos Aires.

Otto Steinart (1915-1978) was born in Saarbrücken, Germany. He studied medicine and was a medical officer during World War II. In 1947, he abandoned medicine to became a portait photographer. Lacking formal training, he was unbound by conventions and explored experimental techniques. As the founder of Fotoform, he promoted creative decision making. His group of photographers mostly focused on abstraction, using close-up images from nature or manipulating negatives and prints. He mounted numerous influential exhibitions of photography, taught photography, and became the director of the Staatilche Werkkunstschule where he worked from 1952 until his death in 1978. His work was recently seen at Tate Modern, London, in a 2015 exhibtion and is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Today's News

April 9, 2017

Comeback king or washed-up? British artist Damien Hirst's new show divides

Rare original Tintin drawing goes for $798,000 at auction

Christie's to offer The Metropolitan Opera Guild Collection

Victoria Miro announces new gallery in Venice

Display celebrates England's best-known 18th century actor

New sculpture, installation and paintings by Mat Collishaw on view in London

Exhibition offers a new look at photographs by women

First extensive retrospective exhibition of the Belgian multimedia artist Hans Op de Beeck opens in Wolfsburg

San Jose Museum of Art appoints S. Sayre Batton as Oshman Executive Director

Ottocento Art Gallery unveils important series of Alberto Maso Gilli's views of Chieri

The experimental vision and spirit of the Fotoform group is on view at Howard Greenberg Gallery

Eric P. Newman currency rarities on offer at Heritage Auctions

Artist Zak Ové brings 80 identical graphite figures to Yorkshire Sculpture Park

The Artegunea gallery in San Sebastián hosts exhibition of works by Begoña Zubero

Tori Wrånes holds her first major solo exhibition in Norway at The National Museum

Bogdanovich: My promise to finish Orson's last movie

Works by Jean-Luc Moulène on view at the Secession

Kunsthall Trondheim opens exhibition of works by Marjetica Potrč

New film on the art of America's Gilded Age released on DVD

Sunyoung Kim and Ute Van Der plaats win the second annual LOOT Acquisition Prize

Petrified wood, Australian gold nugget, gemstones and meteorites highlight Heritage Auctions sale

Queens Museum presents "Marinella Senatore: Piazza Universale / Social Stages"

First museum survey of paintings by American artist Maureen Gallace opens at MoMA PS1

Morgan Lehman opens "The Twenty by Sixteen Biennial Curated by Geoffrey Young"

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Porsche Super Speedster offered for first time in 50 years at RM Sotheby's Porsche 70th Anniversary Auction

2.- Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens opens 'Storytelling: French Art from the Horvitz Collection'

3.- Gauguin: Voyage to Tahiti stars Vincent Cassel as the famed French artist

4.- Stunning colored diamonds expected to dazzle at Heritage Auctions' Summer Fine Jewelry Auction

5.- US designer Kate Spade found dead at 55

6.- Vincent Van Gogh painting sells for over 7 million euros: Artcurial auction house

7.- Sir Stanley Spencer painting discovered hidden under a bed during a drugs raid

8.- Oxford's Bodleian Libraries unveil UK's first major Tolkien exhibition in decades

9.- Major exhibition at the Guggenheim explores decades of work by Alberto Giacometti

10.- World's largest freshwater pearl goes for 320,000 euros

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful