PHOTOFAIRS’ Public Program Emphasizes Maverick Artists, New Photographic Genres, and Surprising Installations

Dec 28, 2016 7:33PM

"Now is the time to envision what's next." 

Zack Kaplan, Executive Director, Rhizome


RANDOM INTERNATIONAL, Fragments, 2016. Installation view from the exhibition, Random International: On the Body, Pace Gallery, 537 West 25th Street, New York, September 23–October 22, 2016. © Random International, Courtesy Pace Gallery / Photography by Random International.      

·       The nation’s leading photography curators lend their expertise and opinions on the evolving medium

·       Contemporary West Coast and international artists appropriation of 19th century photographic techniques

·       Pace Gallery's (Palo Alto) West Coast debut of Random International’s newest installation, Fragments  

·       Tweet: New genre of unique, collectable photography emphasized in programs @Photo_Fairs #SanFrancisco announced

·       Tickets on sale now for PHOTOFAIRS | San Francisco, January 27-29 at Festival Pavilion, Fort Mason at

San Francisco, CA, December 16, 2016:  PHOTOFAIRS - International Art Fairs Dedicated to Photography - today announces the details of their public installations, panels and exhibitions at its inaugural US edition, opening to the public in San Francisco, January 27–29, 2017, and featuring international galleries from 14 countries. 

PHOTOFAIRS | San Francisco, presenting an international selection of modern and contemporary photography, will provide visitors with a variety of opportunities to learn more about the photographic medium. From installations by two artist collectives, Random International (Pace Gallery, Palo Alto) and Phenomena, (East Wing, Dubai), to panels, moderated talks and solo exhibitions, visitors to the fair will experience an environment rich in historic and cutting-edge contemporary photography.

Insights: New Approaches to Photography since 2000

PHOTOFAIRS | San Francisco audiences will have the opportunity to engage with some of the nation’s leading artists and industry experts as they discuss the medium, new genres, and maverick West Coast and international photographers’ unique influence on the art of photography.

PHOTOFAIRS public programs are anchored by Insights: New Approaches to Photography since 2000, an exhibition offering unique, non-editioned works for private sale, curated by Alexander Montague-Sparey, Artistic Director, PHOTOFAIRS and Allie Haeusslein, Associate Director, Pier 24 Photography, San Francisco. The Insights exhibition, presented in two parts, focuses entirely on cutting-edge artists using photography to push the boundaries of the medium. Insights is a particularly relevant platform for PHOTOFAIRS, as collectors are increasingly placing more importance on the collection of single-edition works.

Montague-Sparey comments. “For Insights, we have selected artists that exemplify this movement in photography, as a way of underlining contemporary approaches to the medium in the 21st century.  Photography has almost ironically come full-circle. Some artists are re-using analog techniques in new and fascinating ways to produce unique photographs, whilst others are inspired by painting and sculpture.  The premise of Insights and the artists featured give a nod to 19th century French photographers and the birth of photography as an artistic medium.”

Curated by Haeusslein, the first chapter of Insights highlights an exploration of the Western American landscape by leading West Coast artists including John Chiara, Chris McCaw, Sean McFarland and Meghann Riepenhoff. The exhibition’s second chapter, curated by Montague-Sparey, presents complementary artists from the USA, Europe, Asia and the Middle-East, including Sebastiaan Bremer, Dirk Braeckman, Liz Neilson, Ester Vonplon, and Susan Derges

Staged: Installations and Solo Exhibitions

Staged is a new PHOTOFAIRS initiative that explores the relationship between photography and other art forms, spotlighting carefully selected artists of particular relevance within the contemporary photography arena.  Solo and in-situ presentations in Staged include Random International, Phenomena, Jordan Sullivan and Scott McFarland.

For the first time on the West Coast, following its premier earlier this year as part of its Random International: On The Body exhibition, Pace Gallery, Palo Alto will present the London-based collective’s latest installation, Fragments.  Featuring almost 200 identical, small mirrors which, despite their flat and static appearance, collectively turn to face an approaching onlooker. Following the viewer as he or she moves, the mirrors’ surface plane distorts into varying, three-dimensional forms — a wave, or a curve, or a circle — causing the artwork to disperse of divided reflection.  Questioning how machines see humankind, Fragments marks a development with Random International’s ongoing exploration of identity and autonomy in the post-digital age. Light is a fundamental element of photography, which Fragments explores intelligently.

Phenomena is a site-specific installation and publication by the Copenhagen based artist collective of Sara Galbiati, Peter Helles Eriksen and Tobias Selneas Markussen, presented by East Wing (Dubai). Together the trio pushes the boundaries of contemporary photographic documentation in surprising ways.  Running throughout the fair, the installation is the result of their investigation into what lies behind different accounts of UFOs and extra terrestrial beings.  Are these stories a series of commercially profitable tall tales, a mass delusion with social consequences, religious myth, or a physical phenomenon?  Through the presentation of empirically collected materials, gathered during an extensive journey through Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona, Phenomena encourages viewers to take a critical, but open minded look at what they discovered.  *The artists will be present at the fair to sign copies of the accompanying publication.

CHOI&LAGER Gallery (Cologne & Seoul) and DIVISION Gallery (Montreal & Toronto) will present a special installation of Scott McFarland’s large-scale video work Shattered Glass, Sunny with cloudy periods, 2016. The work is a trans-mounted chromogenic print in a lightbox juxtaposed alongside a 4K video piece - both captured simultaneously using a digital camera. 

Through a dizzying mosaic of shattered glass can be seen a tranquil pastoral landscape of snow and trees. The fragments of glass at once reference the artist’s cultivated process of piecing together his works, the camera lens, and the root language of digital photography, pixels.

LA based writer and artist Jordan Sullivan, presented by

Rubber Factory (New York), will debut his latest work, Night Finds You at PHOTOFAIRS | San Francisco. Sullivan’s ethereal landscapes printed on translucent silk fabrics, are hung from the ceiling and appear free-floating, giving them a sculptural and ghostly presence. Their transparency allows the entire space to become part of the image, and allowing them to transform depending on what or who can be seen through them.  Created in 2016, each work is ​40" x 60" (inches) and a triptych of overlapping images.

PHOTOFAIRS | San Francisco’s Art Partner, XITEK, will present a special exhibition of new work by Chinese artist Wang Ningde.  One of China’s most exciting photographers, Wang will present the US premier of his latest work No Name at the fair.  The artist photographs brushstoke markings left by namesless people in urban spaces to create photographic artworks that are reminiscent of paintings in their appearance.  Wang Ningde is represented by leading Shanghai gallery M97. Further examples of Wang’s work will be included in the M97 Gallery booth, as well as part of the Insights exhibition. 

Conversations: A Platform for Panels and Moderated Talks

Enabling collectors and audiences to engage with living contemporary artists is a key element of PHOTOFAIRS. With the public opening of the fair on Friday, January 27, visitors are encouraged to partake in dialogs, ask questions, and explore the world of photography through Conversations.      For a complete schedule of programs, visit 

•    Four Decades of Photobooks: Join Paul Graham and Michael Mack as they discuss the evolution of the photographic book since the early 1980's and it's role in the world of fine photography. The dialog will reflect on Paul Graham's book projects, from self-publishing, to projects with the legendary Scalo, through Steidl and Phaidon, to his work with Mack, one of the pre-eminent publishers in today's dynamic photography book world.                   Friday 11:30am-12:30pm

•    Collecting with a FocusThe Huyck Katz Collection of Japanese Photography & Ely Rueda Collection of Latin American Photography. LA based collectors Gloria and Willard Huyck, join collectors Paula Ely and Cesar Rueda in conversation with Michelle Dunn Marsh, Executive Director Pacific Center Northwest and Publisher, Minor Matters Books.   Friday 3-4pm

•    Contemporary Moving Image. Led by curator Lindsay Howard and comprised of leading experts in the field of contemporary moving image - Jason Eppink, Curator of Digital Media, Museum of the Moving Image; Zachary Kaplan, Executive Director, Rhizome; Tiffany Zabludowicz, Collector and Curator and Michael Xufu Huang, Founder, M WOODS Museum - the panel will explore current trends happening in galleries and institutions, as well as the fresh ideas and works emerging from artist studios. Notes Kaplan, “In recent years, born-digital art and culture-practices, forms championed by Rhizome for more than two decades, have moved from the margins of the art world to its center. Now is the time to envision what's next.” Saturday 3-4pm

•    Materiality and Memory: New Approaches to Landscape Photography. Allie Haeusslein, Associate Director, Pier 24 Photography, with Virginia Heckert, Curator and Department Head, Photographs, J.Paul Getty Museum, and artists John Chiara, Chris McCaw, and Christine Elfman discuss new approaches to landscape photography in the American West.        Saturday 5-6pm

•    Curating West Coast Museums. Moderated by Virginia Heckert, Curator and Department Head, J.Paul Getty Museum, and featuring Amanda Maddox, Assistant Curator, Department of Photographs, J.Paul Getty Museum, Erin O’Toole, Associate Curator of Photography, SFMOMA, and Julian Cox, Chief Curator and Founding Curator of Photography of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.         Sunday 1-2pm

•    Aperture Foundation, one of the fair’s cultural partners, will present newly released books and limited editions, along with a series of artist signings. To mark the publication of Aperture magazine’s American Destiny issue, a panel discussion about photographers’ address to America’s social, economic and new political landscape, will be moderated by Chris Boot, Executive Director, Aperture Foundation.

Key Dates

PHOTOFAIRS | San Francisco

o   Press and Collectors’ Preview (by invitation only): Thursday 26 January 2017, 5-7pm

o   Opening Night (by invitation only): Thursday 26 January 2017, 7-10pm

o   Public Days: Friday, January 27 & Saturday, January 28, 11am-7pm / Sunday, January 29, 11am-5pm

For further information, images or interviews please contact: [email protected]

·       International inquiries: Jill Cotton, PR Director, PHOTOFAIRS (London) M: +44 20 7886 3043

·       US inquiries: Wendy Norris, Norris Communications (San Francisco) M: +1 415 307 3853 

The official Online Partner of the fair is Artsy

Artsy's online preview will launch on January 19 on and on the Artsy app for iPhone & iPad

For more information