Posts Tagged ‘Miroslav Tichy’

Random Thoughts: The Photography of Miroslav Tichy … Hype or Art?

In Article, Black and White Photography, Photo Print Collector on July 22, 2010 at 10:15 am


Courtesy ICP

With a recent major show at the International Center for Photography and a Howard Greenberg exhibit alongside images by Josef Sudek, (as well as European shows) … one would think we have a new art “Superstar” in Tichy.

Miroslav Tichy is known for his voyeuristic street photos of women, the use of various homemade cameras …


… and a state of mental illness that leaves him incapacitated in trying to lead a normal life … all the markings of a true tortured artist practicing outside the bounds of acceptable art circles.

“Not so fast” says Lorraine Anne Davis in the latest issue of Black and White magazine. She intimates that the “hype” is a conscious effort by collection owner Roman Buxman to profit from a mediocre artist’s romantic and tragic history. The photos have questionable provenance and prints are often in very poor condition. She also points out that “Tichy flunked out of art school”. She cites Glenn Ruga of the Photographic Resource Center in Boston with his belief the photos are not “formally complex” and “not worthy of our attention.”

Our reaction is that photographic art is found in standalone formal images and/or through background information presented on a particular image’s history or story.

The “artist” being “marketed” is found throughout art history… with prominent debatable examples today found all over the art world especially since the adoption of  conceptual art as a critical framework (Golden Calf anyone?)

We find the issue raised about print provenance interesting given the history of poor or no record keeping by photographers/collectors until relatively recent times. Yes, the Tichy images are often damaged but is that part of the allure or not?

We believe the marketplace and the viewer is the ultimate judge of art’s value … a critic can definitely influence both but a technical approach to understanding an art phenomenon is limited in its purview.

On Site: Behind The Curtain – Tichy and Sudek at Howard Greenberg, NYC

In Black and White Photography, Exhibits, Gallery, Photographer on June 28, 2010 at 9:33 am

image image

 Miroslav Tichy and Josef Sudek

Two truly different artists but overlapping in their Eastern European sensibility, and “outside looking in” voyeuristic perspective, are on view at the Howard Greenberg Gallery.

Miroslav Tichy and Josef Sudek produced evocative images that are stylistically strong in their separate visions and certainly memorable.

Although Tichý’s classic art school training is evident in many of his photographs, to many, he is considered an outsider artist. . He produced countless images, using hand-crafted cameras that he made out of wooden boxes, spools, and other found objects, with lenses crafted from old eyeglasses and plexiglass. With a camera hidden under his clothes, he roamed the streets of Kyjov photographing the women he encountered, always from a distance, often from unusual angles. He captured their images in shops, bus stops, the town square, at the public swimming pool or sunbathing in their yards in the nude or in bikinis.

In a celebrated career that spanned nearly seven decades, Josef Sudek, created a world of shadow and light. Working from the early part of the 20th century up until his death in 1976, he produced ethereal landscapes, modernist still lives, and sweeping panoramas of the city of Prague and beyond. His studio was the backdrop for the creation of two of his most important bodies of work: The Window of My Studio (1940-1954) and Labyrinth (1948-1973). His photographs from these series represent the symbiosis of his artistic concerns, his poetic sensibility, and his original aesthetic approach.

On the heels of a major Tichy exhibit at ICP, this show further examines his work in contrast (and comparison with) the mastery of Sudek. A very intelligent approach to viewer involvement and education. Greenberg’s many years of focus on Czech photography is well executed here.

Now through September 3.

For more information: Howard Greenberg