Congrats to Photographer Phyllis Galembo

May 9th, 2014, 10:00 am by Greg
Phyllis Galembo:  Three in Fancy Dress with Wire Masks,<br /><p class=Phyllis Galembo: “Three in Fancy Dress with Wire Masks, Anchors Masquerade Group”

Photographer and UAlbany art professor Phylis Galembo has snagged a prestigious 2014 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship.

For more than two decades, Galembo has traveled to Nigeria, Brazil, Cuba, Jamaica and Haiti to photograph the visually stunning costumes worn by traditional priests and priestesses, carnival masqueraders, dancers and Haitian vodou practitioners. Art in America praised her combination of a “careful, almost ethnographic observation with a deep sense of mystical wonder,” and The New York Times has noted the “dignity, conviction, and formal power” in her work.

In its ninetieth annual competition for the United States and Canada, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation awarded 177 Fellowships to a diverse group of scholars, artists and scientists. Appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise, Galembo and the other fellowship recipients were selected from a group of nearly 3,000 applicants.

The Guggenheim Fellowship was established in 1925 to “promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding and the appreciation of beauty,” and Galembo has joined an elite group of scholars, scientists and artists that includes dozens of Nobel Laureates, poet laureates, and Pulitzer Prize-winners.


REVIEW: The Venice Biennale @ Venice, Italy

July 17th, 2013, 4:00 pm by Greg
Photography by Phyllis Galembo

Photography by Phyllis Galembo

Review and photographs by Martin Benjamin

Let’s get this out of the way first. The best art and artist showing in Venice was showing work not officially included in the Venice Biennale, but rather has two separate exhibitions at other places in Venice, with one advertised as a “collateral event.” He does have an installation as part of the German pavilion offerings. Rather than being able to be in Venice, Italy to participate, Ai Weiwei is not permitted by his government to leave China.

The first Weiwei installation I visited, “Disposition,” was impressive enough by itself. Located at Zuecca Project Space, it was a room full of perfectly straight pieces of rusted steel reinforcement bars (rebar), arranged in a large room like a landscape or wave sculpture on the floor. In itself, it was evoking and powerful, but the back-story is what takes the piece over the top. Ai Weiwei wanted to make a piece about the 2008 earthquake that rocked Sichuan, China and that toppled poorly constructed schools killing more than 5,000 children. Associating poorly constructed schools that crumbled onto school children to the ongoing epidemic of corruption and greed of those in power in China does not require much of a jump. Weiwei traveled to these locations to investigate the ruins left behind and to find sub-quality construction, materials and engineering prevalent throughout the ruins. Without saying it, it is about corruption among officials in China causing the deaths of thousands of school children, motivated by greed and power.

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