Friday night was a busy one with the opening of A New American Portrait at jen bekman, Zoe Strauss‘ closing party for If You Reading This at Silverstein, and Paolo Pellegrin‘s Double Blind reception at CVZ Contemporary all happening in the same evening.

Somehow, due to the timing of these events, I managed to attend all three.

Destination #1, 6-8pm: A New American Portrait opening @ jen bekman

Jörg Colberg chats with Lesley Martin outside of the opening for A New American Portrait
© Joe Holmes

The exhibition had an exciting turnout — so many present, in fact, that those interested in viewing any of the photographs on the walls had to move in and out of the gallery in waves in order to be able to actually see the work. Jörg Colberg (co-curator of the exhibition and writer of the infamous Conscientious) and his wife and designer Karen Tozzi were in attendance. Jörg is as wonderful in person as I imagined — a super smart and friendly guy. I also had the pleasure of meeting those in the show, including a bit of conversation with Amy Elkins, Shen Wei, Peter Haakon-Thompson, as well as Alec Soth (winner of the ‘Best Dressed’ award, sporting his MoCP Fear No Art hat — awesome) and Brian Ulrich. Besides meeting many of the artists in the exhibition, I managed to chat with some other fine folks including Christian Patterson (photographer and Speak, See, Remember blogger), Edward Winkleman (gallerist and brain behind one of the internet’s most intellegent blogs), Bosko Blagojevic, Paddy Johnson (aka Art Fag City), Timothy Briner, Garth Risk Hallberg (author of A Field Guide to the North American Family), Richard Renaldi, Seth Boyd, and Marc Yankus (the forementioned Chinese food crew), and the hilarious Mr. Martin Parr!

All of the hard work that went into the show really payed off. And fortunately, for those of you who weren’t able to see the work on Friday (this may even include those of you at the jam-packed opening), it will remain up until July 28. Come and see it!

Photos taken at the opening have been posted online in Jen’s Flickr set.

Destination #2, 8:30-9:30pm: Zoe Strauss’ closing party for If You Reading This @ Silverstein

Crowd watching Zoe Strauss’ slideshow on the street outside of Silverstein
© Lynn Bloom

Zoe Strauss gave me a big hug after I introduced myself to her. Free drinks, popcorn, an outdoor slideshow accompanied by a fantastic mix of music and, of course, some of Zoe’s best photographs hanging inside to be admired. I let her know that her closing was absolutely wonderful, and meant it. It made me smile to see Zoe weaving between people, saying her “hellos,” and personally passing out pretzels to the crowd. And, indeed, truly refreshing to be at such a show in Chelsea, the crowd also seeming to enjoy the vibe. Jen Bekman even made her way over to Silverstein after her gallery’s opening to show Zoe some love.

While talking outside, Alec introduced me to his assistant Eric William Carroll (AMP) who, officially, has the greatest job ever. Shen introduced me to Amy Stein, who it was also a pleasure to meet. And at Zoe’s closing I met up with friend and photographer Greg Wasserstrom to head to the final destination of the night.

Bravo, Zoe, bravo!

Destination #3, 10-12pm: Paolo Pellegrin’s Double Blind reception @ CVZ Contemporary

(from “Double Blind)
© Paolo Pellegrin

One of the events to celebrate the 60th birthday of Magnum (as part of Magnum Festival ’07) was an exhibition of Paolo Pellegrin‘s photographs taken last summer in Lebanon while on assignment for The New York Times. About the work:

Paolo Pellegrin intimately captured the Lebanese population in the face of the ceaseless Israeli air strikes, revealing the despair of families and friends witnessing the deaths of their loved ones whilst around them their homes were destroyed. In particular Pellegrin documented the aftermath of the attack on the village of Qana in southern Lebanon; including many of the victims’ children, he reveals the immense suffering of the civilians.

Despite the serious nature of the photographs, Greg and I managed to have a laugh with Alec while Brian got a lecture on art by a lady with, well, a bit too much THC in her system — she admitted it. Shortly after we finished chatting and our free drinks, we made one final sweep of the show, said our “goodbyes” and called it a night.

My only regret of the evening: not staying long enough to see Alec dance.


  • Daaaang, son! Look at you name-drop! Haha. What a great weekend!

  • Nolan, I met so many e-friends. How come you weren’t there?

  • That’s a good question!

  • Brian

    Shane, Was great to finally meet you and Greg. Though I think the lecture by said Lady amounted to the phrase “Syndee Scherman” 10 times in a row.
    ps. Alec does a mean moonwalk.

  • Marina

    Shit man, what did you talk about with Martin? Many a time have I imagined the conversations I would have with him. Also I really hope he has not heard my song because I would be pretty embarassed. I really wish I could meet him, because his voice and his body do not match and I want to figure out how that whole process works. You saying that you met Martin Parr is like, almost as crazy as saying that you met Bruce Springsteen.

  • Oh, I forgot to mention it — Bruce Springstein made a last minute appearance at jb. Haha, only kidding. Martin and I mostly talked about photo galleries that hang the work with numbers instead of artist names and he jested that with the numbers the work is “pointless.” Then we talked briefly about the show, the artists, and about Flickr and blogs. He was a good guy, really really funny.

  • Shane – Have enjoyed the virtual version of you for a while, so it was lovely to finally press the flesh. Enjoy your time in the NYC.

  • Zoe Strauss

    A. It was a pleasure to meet you, Shane. I was sorry I only got to talk to you for a second.
    B. I too am pining that I missed Alec dancing. Son of a bitch!


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  • Doodee

    Thanks for sharing

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