Sunday, January 6, 2019

David Kutz

To start the year, I am going to write about a friend, David Kutz, who works in one of my favorite fields of art, photography. We read about outsider artists who are often defined as self-taught but David has received a serious education in his field and used it well.

He holds BFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York (and it is no coincidence that George Eastman House and the Kodak Company, aka Kodak, were situated there as well) and an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts with a Merit Scholarship. In addition, David Kutz made, in what to my mind, is a brilliant move by taking the Executive education program at Harvard’s business school.  So often I have seen that artists do not realize that an understanding of business is vital to their success. 

Moving to New York City fresh out of college in 1974 he went to work at the newly-founded International Center of Photography which has become a very important exhibition space for the field.  After a couple of years there he became an independent photo journalist with assignments from, Life, Look and Time Magazines as well as the “Old Lady “herself, The New York Times.

When my wife, Penelope, was a curator at the Metropolitan Museum she was asked to come up with a short video for a project that the Getty was funding.  Since she did not want to make a typical stodgy art historical documentary, she asked to work with the sort of filmmaker who worked for MTV (she did not want to make a typical stodgy art historical video) and she found David Kutz. They came up with an exciting concept about a fire in the studio of André Charles Boulle, cabinetmaker to Louis XIV.

Unfortunately, their film project was not chosen by the judges (probably too popular for the 1970’s).  Meanwhile, Penelope came to work on exhibitions and research at Rosenberg & Stiebel and in 1989 our gallery, wanted to celebrate its 50 years in the United States with a video about our history.  Of course, we turned to David Kutz. The result was a great success.   David focused on some of our better-known clients including a major investment banker, a member of the French Rothschild family, a couple of museum directors, a curator and private clients giving different perspectives on the art business.  If you want to learn more about the project you can click here to watch the 24-minute video.

David went on to even more important films like one for the US General Services Administration about the discovery of “The African Burial Ground” in lower Manhattan which is today a National Monument.  Another was a collaboration between the International Center of Photography and the United Nations.  It is a short (3 minutes) but very effective video about climate change with Sebastiao Salgado, a Brazilian social documentary photographer and a photojournalist.

In 2013 David decided to concentrate on digital still photography as an art form.  In recent years he has written on and lectured about photography but more importantly he has participated in a number of group-shows as well as solo exhibitions of his work. 

He writes, “I am now actively engaged in making work and continuing my research into geography, urban planning, travel and globalization.  I am an active member of Soho Photo Gallery, a cooperative gallery in New York City, the International Panorama Council, and volunteer with my local arts organization: Arts Gowanus.” 

David travels a lot and he took this image in the Town Square, Ericira, Portugal.  I love the way you see down a number of streets and the Café Central is in the middle and the light and dark side of the street comes down the center of the image ... click on the images to get their full effect.

Click on image to enlarge

They say the Brooklyn Palisade offers a great view of Manhattan, which reminds me of a realtor in New York who tried to sell us an apartment by pointing out the historic building we could see out of the window, saying, “if you lived in the historic building you would have to look at this place!”  Here David shows us a closeup of what the Brooklyn Palisade from Manhattan.

Click on image to enlarge
Currently David is in a solo exhibition at the Soho Photo Gallery called, “Cultural Landscapes” through February 3.   The Soho Gallery is artist-run and was founded in 1971.  His works in the show demonstrate how he has found a way to immerse the viewer in the scenes he captures.  For those technically inclined:  the images are all multiple exposure-stitched panoramic images, most using a Zeiss Otus 55mm lens on a Nikon D800e camera. 

Here is the photo that had me take full notice of his fine art work.  It is titled, “Dumbo, Brooklyn” for those unfamiliar, Dumbo stands for, Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.  It looks staged but remember it is multiple exposures except for those two women rushing along on the left.  Typical New Yorkers, they are not going to stop for anything, (that is why when a movie is being shot on NY streets there are crew member blocking pedestrians who will not be stopped and would end up in the film!

Click on image to enlarge
This next image is called, “The Stranger’s Path”, it is taken at Berlin’s Schönefeld Airport”, built by the GDR (East Germany).  This long walkway connects the airport to the train station.  The photograph itself is 20 feet long. By the time you have seen the whole image you may feel you have taken that long walk pulling your suitcase behind you!

Click on image to enlarge
A place I am better acquainted with is the Paradeplatz in Zurich, Switzerland.  It is a major intersection of town and the tram goes through it. The images of the square and the tram made me feel I was back in one of my favorite places.  David tells me that both images were taken from the exact same vantage point without moving the camera.

Click on image to enlarge
Click on image to enlarge
Will David Kutz become a household name? Who knows, but it is certainly heartening that there are people out there with a keen eye who have honed their skills and are willing to devote themselves to their art for the benefit of all.

No comments:

Post a Comment