These are mostly my personal choices for this past year, although I have been asking others for their choices/feedback by email and on the Vintage Photography group on LinkedIn, etc. By the way, please feel free to join this group and its active discussions at: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Vintage-Photography-3797771?goback=.gmp_3797771 , although you will have to join LinkedIn first.
Undoubtedly there will be disagreements with many of my choices (after all, these are admittedly very subjective), but I sincerely think that these are some of the most influential in their given category. "Best" is a more difficult and subjective decision and is also very situational; in other words, for example, many dealers could have wonderful pieces in these categories but are not listed as most influential in them. Other galleries and dealers may also be excellent sources, but because their inventory and interests are more evenly spread out, they did not make our more specific lists. Finally, other factors besides the quality of work offered were factored into the decision, including publications, lectures, leadership, availability/activity for this period, programs, etc.
Many named for their category are clearly the cream of the crop in a general way--at least over the last 12 months. Some other sources that are not cited may have had stronger records in the past, or may have stronger ones in the future. One editorial disclosure: I own Vintage Works, Ltd., which I have named--legitimately, I feel--below in three categories. We list at most shows as Contemporary Works/Vintage Works.
I was tempted to do a "worst" list, considering some of the photography shows, etc. that I've seen recently, but decided to spare the offenders. But just an aside to certain French curators: don't hang lots of tiny photos right next to each other and then give visitors a plastic sheet as a magnifying glass so that they can block other viewers from seeing the work--if that were even possible in the near pitch blackness and overcrowded conditions.
I'm sure I will get a lot of additions, opinions, ideas, critiques and responses to this list--both negative and positive. Consider that I am stirring the pot, so to speak, to get people and institutions thinking about striving to get better, including those both on and off the list. Certainly send me your email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org , and I will add it to the article. Please check those responses/discussions out at the I Photo Central news and archives section at:
International locations are noted. Other sources are based in the United States unless otherwise noted. I skipped a European/International curator selection only because my knowledge is somewhat limited in this area, although I know some very good ones. I expect we'll restructure this list and add that category next year, as well as changing up the selection process a bit.
Hans P. Kraus, Jr., Inc.
Also Robert Hershkowitz, Ltd. (London and Sussex), Daniel Blau Photography (Berlin and London), Alain Paviot (Paris), Charles Isaacs, Serge Plantureux (Paris), Vintage Works, Ltd., Lee Gallery and Marc Pagneux (Chanteloup, France)
Surrealism and Experimental Photography
Galerie 1900-2000 (Paris) and Ubu Gallery (New York and Berlin)
American 20th-Century Modernism and Between-the-Wars Photography
Howard Greenberg Gallery and Stephen Daiter Gallery
Also Paul Hertzmann, Inc., Lee Gallery and Weston Gallery
American Mid-Century (1940s-1970s) Photography
Etherton Gallery, Fraenkel Gallery, Pace/MacGill and Stephen Daiter Gallery
Also Silverstein Gallery, Robert Mann Gallery, Robert Koch Gallery and Howard Greenberg Gallery
European 20th-Century Photography
Howard Greenberg Gallery, Kicken Berlin, Galerie Johannes Faber and Vintage Works, Ltd.
Also Alain Paviot (Paris), Robert Koch Gallery, Gitterman Gallery, Edwynn Houk, Michael Hoppen (London) and Galerie Priska Pasquer (Cologne)
Contemporary Photography Gallery
Fraenkel Gallery, Pace/MacGill and Weinstein Gallery
Also Rose Gallery, Bonni Benrubi, Nicholas Metivier Gallery (Toronto), Camera Work (Berlin), HackelBury Fine Art Ltd. (London), Hamiltons Gallery (London), Flowers (New York and London) and Edwynn Houk (New York and Zurich)
Cutting-Edge Contemporary Photography Gallery
Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery
Also Catherine Edelman Gallery
American Western Photography
Andrew Smith Gallery
Staley+Wise Gallery and Camera Work (Berlin)
William L. Schaeffer
Also Dennis Waters, Mark Koenigsberg, Vintage Works, Ltd., Charles Isaacs, Michael Lehr, Serge Plantureux (Paris), Frederic Hoch (Offwiller, France), Greg French and Bruno Tartarin (Paris)
Barbara Levine, Richard Hart and Stacy Waldman
Also Fabien Breuvart (Paris), Gargantua Photos/Steve Bannos, Joel Rotenberg, Wolfram Harmuth (Berlin) and Pixidiom/Norm Kulkin
The next two categories have changed incredibly over the last few years, with many physical bookstores going private or retiring, such as Dawson Books (now a private dealer), and other photography dealers and galleries dabbling in high-end photography books.
Arcana Books, Harper's Books/Harper Levine, Schaden.com (Cologne) and Chambre Claire (Paris)
Also Photo-Eye, Tristan Schwilden (Brussels) and Lead Apron
Photo Book Private Dealer
Dawson Books, Jeff Hersch, Andrew Cahen, and Charles Woods III
Also Steven Daiter Gallery, Paul Hertzmann, Inc. and Fred Pajerski
MULTI-DEALER PHOTOGRAPHY SHOW:
AIPAD's New York Photography Show
Neither Paris Photo nor Photo LA are currently even close in top galleries/dealers and important material on offer. Both have faded considerably in quality over the last few years, while AIPAD has come back from its financial problems very successfully. We will have to see if the other shows can come back, especially with Paris Photo getting new top management and a new venue recently (see the last newsletter). While not strictly speaking photography shows, watch out for the Armory Show in NYC (March), Art Week in Miami (December), Art Basel (June) and TEFAF at Maastricht (March), especially if you are interested in better contemporary and 20th-century modernism. These events often have as many dealers in photography and at a higher level than many photography-specific fairs, although you have to go to many more locations to see the dealers and their work.
MOST INTRIGUING AUCTION:
Binoche Auctions, Paris, June 2010
MOST INTERESTING (ON PHOTOGRAPHY) SMALLER MUSEUM:
Antwerp Museum of Photography, Antwerp, Belgium
MOST INTERESTING (ON PHOTOGRAPHY) LARGE MUSEUMS:
New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and the J. Paul Getty Museum
MOST INTERESTING (ON PHOTOGRAPHY) NEW MUSEUM:
Fotografiska, Stockholm, Sweden
MOST INFLUENTIAL AMERICAN CURATORS, 2010:
Sarah Greenough, National Gallery of Art; Malcolm Daniels, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Anne Tucker, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Keith Davis, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art; and Sandra Phillips, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
MOST IMPORTANT MUSEUM PHOTOGRAPHY SHOW OF THE YEAR:
Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris: Primitifs de la photographie: Le calotype en France, 1843-1860
MOST INTERESTING PHOTO EXHIBIT AT A MULTI-DEALER FAIR:
Hans P. Kraus, Jr., Inc. for its William Henry Fox Talbot exhibition at the 2010 Winter Antiques Fair
MOST IMPORTANT NEW PHOTO BOOKS OF THE YEAR:
--"Czech Photography of the 20th Century" by Vladimir Birgus and Jan Mlcoch
--"Primitifs de la photographie: Le calotype en France, 1843-1860" by Sylvie Aubenas and Paul-Louis Roubert
MOST INFLUENTIAL DEALER CATALOGUES OF THE YEAR:
--"About Sixty French Calotypes" by Robert Hershkowitz, Ltd.
-- Hippolyte Bayard: Photography and the Spirit--A Collection of Photographs from 1839-1849 by Daniel Blau Photography
--Teachers of the New Bauhaus by Stephen Daiter Gallery
BEST DEALER-SENT PHOTOGRAPHY CALENDAR:
Hans P. Kraus, Jr., Inc.