In the Art Rags

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Larry Sultan is dead. The photographer behind Pictures from Home passed away from cancer on Sunday at the age of 63. The SF Chron, NY Times, and LA Times have similar obits. In 1990, Catherine Liu (yes, that Catherine Liu) talked to Sultan for BOMB about his home movies project; in the interview, Sultan says: “I want to measure how a life was lived against how a life was dreamed.”

In 2004, Tessa DeCarlo wrote for The Brooklyn Rail about The Valley, Sultan’s project relating the porn industry in the San Fernando Valley. In Art in America, Mellisa E. Feldman wrote that in The Valley, “Harmony reigns where you would least expect it.” Original versions of Sultan and Mike Mandel’s 1977 Evidence book are hard to come by, so Electric Works published a new edition (good gift!) of the found-photo phantasma. Sultan was a true gem. He will be dearly missed.

Miraculously, following death threats and other manner of bad vibes, photographer Roger Ballen, who has been working as a geologist and analog photographer in South Africa for quite some time, is still alive. Phaidon has just published the tableaux-master’s eighth photography book, Boarding House. In Frieze, Sean O’Toole writes about everything Ballen. At a fantastic presentation at the School of Visual Arts in New York a few weeks ago, in conversation with Darius Himes, Ballen told the crowd that “what photography is saying to you is that time never repeats itself.”

In honor of the new, biographical retrospective at the Jewish Museum, Karen Rosenberg asks, Who was the real Man Ray? At LACMA on Fire: Does Los Angeles deserve “a much finer icon than a train hanging from a crane?” In Cabinet: Is chess literature? And CultureGrrl follows what’s being built.


Rumpus contributing editor Ari Messer was a frequent contributor to the San Francisco Bay Guardian from 2006-2010. Here is his web life. More from this author →