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The Cleveland Museum of Art is about to go over a minor cliff in terms of special exhibitions.

"Forbidden Games," the big fall show on Surrealist photography, comes down Jan. 11. The exhibition on the Toussaint L'Ouverture series of Jacob Lawrence ends Sunday. And the museum's exploration of Frederic Edwin Church's "Twilight in the Wilderness" and his love of Maine closes Jan. 25.

Never fear. The museum is bridging the impending gap in exhibitions with two fresh offerings in its photography and video galleries.

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Henri Cartier-Bresson’s iconic photography book, “The Decisive Moment,” has been republished, 62 years after the highly influential collection of his early work was first released.

The new publication by the German publisher Steidl is a facsimile of the original book, with 126 photographs taken by Cartier-Bresson between 1932 and 1952 and an elegant collage cover by Matisse.

“It is a book that has already gone down in photography history, and that will continue to do so,” said Irène Attinger, head of the library and bookstore at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, a contemporary photographic art center in Paris, which now has both original and republished copies of the book.

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Monday, 29 December 2014 11:08

The Hood Museum Receives Two Major Gifts of Art

It was a very good year for the Hood Museum of Art. In 2014, the Dartmouth College institution received two major donations of artwork from alums. The college was already an art lovers' destination, offering such attractions as the stunning "The Epic of American Civilization" mural by José Clemente Orozco in the Baker Library. Exhibits included the likes of Picasso prints, aboriginal paintings, and the recently closed "Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties." The gifts of contemporary photography from Nancy and Tom O'Neil (class of '79) and of European and American art from the late Barbara J. and David G. Stahl (class of '47) add nearly 160 pieces to the Hood's permanent collection.

It's not every day — or year — that a college art museum can boast such acquisitions.

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"In Focus: Play," on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center from December 23, 2014 through May 10, 2015, presents photographs that explore how notions of leisure and play have been represented over the course of the medium’s history. The nearly thirty works from the Museum’s permanent collection highlight a wide range of amusing activities, from quiet games like chess to more boisterous forms of recreation like skateboarding and visits to amusement parks and circuses. All of the photographs included in the exhibition illustrate the many ways people have chosen to spend their free time. The images also demonstrate inventive and improvised approaches, like unusual vantage points and jarring juxtapositions that photographers have employed to help capture the spontaneity of playfulness.

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“175 Masterworks To Celebrate 175 Years of Photography: Property from Joy of Giving Something Foundation" auction held at Sotheby's New York on December 11th and 12th, broke the world record for a photography auction. The sale was drawn from a collection gathered by the late American financier Howard Stein. The auction grossed the grand sum of $21,325,063, or £13,591,629 - beating its presale estimate of $13–20 million, or £8.2 - £12.7 million. The sale greatly surpassed the previous record, set in 2006 by a Sotheby's sale of photographs from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, which reached the total of $15 million, or £9.5 million.

The auction also set a number of artist's records. The top lot, an impressionistic view of Venice by Alvin Langdon Coburn ("Shadows and Reflections, Venice," 1905) fetched the staggering sum of $965,000, or £614,726.

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A pair of feet dangle from the top half of the frame — two unremarkable men’s shoes topped by trouser legs caught mid-flap in an insistent breeze. Far below lie the diagonals and verticals of a building and its back lot — rows of blacked-out windows, regimented lines of trees. And though the plain logic of the photograph, titled “Seconds Before Landing,” from Willi Ruge’s 1931 documentary series “I photograph myself during a parachute jump,” tells you that one thing is hurtling toward another, the work gives off a strange sense of suspended motion, an anxiety that won’t quite be dispelled by any impending landing.

Plenty of the 300-plus images in MoMA’s expansive new exhibition, “Modern Photographs from the Thomas Walther Collection, 1909-1949,” feel especially weighty with symbolic import — like Herbert Bayer’s “Humanly Impossible (Self-Portrait),” 1932.

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Thursday, 18 December 2014 10:22

The Director of Paris Photo Steps Down

Julien Frydman, head of the French and Los Angeles-based art fair Paris Photo for the past four years, has announced that he will leave his post as director in late January 2015. The announcement comes just a month after the 18th edition of Paris Photo, and five months before the third edition of Paris Photo Los Angeles.

“The reason why I am leaving at this particular moment is because I've had a job offer," Frydman told artnet News over the phone on Tuesday morning. "Paris Photo hosts a fair every six months, so it was always going to catch me in between fairs."

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Recent additions of artwork representing medieval Europe, the Ancient Americas, 20th-century photography, and contemporary art further enhance the Cleveland Museum of Art’s permanent collection. World-renowned for its quality and breadth, the collection represents almost 45,000 objects and 6,000 years of achievement in the arts.

The latest acquisitions include a Virgin and Child, a rare 13th-century wooden sculpture from the Mosan region of Europe; a Standing Female Figure, a clay figure representative of the Classic Veracruz period on Mexico’s Gulf Coast; and Just the two of us, one of contemporary artist Julia Wachtel’s first paintings to employ cartoons. The museum also announced the addition of eight photographs by Ansel Adams, a gift from Frances P. Taft, a longtime museum supporter and trustee.

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Sotheby’s New York will host two highly-anticipated design auctions this week. “The Jon Stryker Collection: Masterworks of European Modernism,” will take place on Tuesday, December 16, followed by the “Important 20th Century Design” sale on Wednesday, December 17.

“Masterworks of European Modernism” will feature works from the collection of Jon Stryker -- an American architect, philanthropist, and activist. In 2002, Stryker teamed up with Peter Shelton and Lee Mindel of the New York-based architecture and interior design firm Shelton, Mindel & Associates to renovate his former apartment at the “Prasada,” a Beaux-Arts luxury apartment building overlooking Central Park in Manhattan. With help from Shelton and Mindel, Stryker created a stylish and modern space within the historic building to showcase his collection of European and Scandinavian twentieth-century design and photography.

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The Norton Museum of Art announces the opening of the exhibition, "Coming into Fashion: A Century of Photography at Condé Nast." Essentially a hip, visual history of the evolution of fashion photography, the exhibition runs through Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015. The Norton is the first (and at this time) only venue in the U.S. where the public can see what Norton curator of photography Tim B. Wride describes as, “this visually stunning and historically important show.”

Originating in Europe, culled from the Condé Nast archives, and organized by the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, Minneapolis/Paris/Lausanne, "Coming into Fashion" includes 150 stellar images created by 80 of the world’s most renowned fashion photographers during a period of nearly 100 years. Most of these images appeared in the popular magazines, "Vogue," "Glamour," "Vanity Fair," and "W."

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