The journal of the Center for Documentary Arts, a nonprofit initiative to bear witness to suffering and promote the common good through the arts. At the crossroads of art, ethics, faith, and social justice, the Center brings together makers and thinkers whose work advances beauty, compassion, collaboration, dignity, and mercy.
30 December 2010
David Brickman, in his blog Get Visual, named our exhibit in his Best Shows of 2010:
Battlesight: Dispatches from Iraq and Afghanistan by International Photographers stood out as a hard-hitting, carefully planned combination of three photojournalists’ personal visions of war (oddly enough, it’s the only show of photographs that made this list).
And via Nippertown!, The Daily Gazette's Karen Bjornland included Battlesight in her recap, What We Loved This Year: Visual Arts.
Thank you, David and Karen (and friends at Nippertown!).
And thank you to all who helped me and the Center for Documentary Arts during our first year of operation. I am grateful to you one and all. And so we look toward 2011. . .
25 December 2010
|from 1933 stage adaptation|
Warmest wishes of the holiday to all.
07 December 2010
Today is Pearl Harbor Day, which when I was a boy was a somber day of remembrance and reflection for people of my parents' and grandparents' generations. Today, the attack on the US Naval base by Japan in 1941 is less reverently observed, as those who were alive that day more and more pass from our sight. As the paradigm of a Day of Infamy, Pearl Harbor has, of course, been replaced in contemporary America by the terrible events of September 11, 2001. That day, which we watched unfold together on television, will remain vivid in our collective memory until our grandchildren are old.
As I wrote that last sentence, a black image passed through my mind, of some future event even more horrific than 9/11 searing a new standard of horror on our psyches. It's dreadful to conjure, but how can anyone who's paying attention completely avoid it? As much as we live lives of courage and confidence, it is difficult not to harbor some fear for our future, some dread that America will yet again be the site of a monstrous attack. In this regard, December 7, 1941, was the beginning of an epoch in our national history of the omnipresent enemy, the evil Other bent on destruction. Hitler, Hirohito, Stalin, Khrushchev, Ho Chi Minh, Brezhnev, Khomeini, Noriega, Saddam Hussein, Bin Laden, Ahmadinejad, Kim Jong-il -- an unbroken chain of adversaries, some erupting on their own, others cultivated by our government inadvertently or deliberately to fulfill the requirements of a military-industrial economy.
It's a staggering thought, that this country has spent the whole of my half-century and more pursuing enemies. When I was in my twenties, a wave of articles and movies appeared detailing the consequences of nuclear war, and a threat that had been in the background through my childhood took on new urgency. I am too young to have experienced "duck and cover" drills or known anyone with a bomb shelter in their back yard, though I do remember the yellow Civil Defense signs in the steampipe-lined catacombs of my elementary school which led to a storeroom of mattresses and slowly rusting cans of food. The Bomb was a vague threat in my consciousness during the 1960s and '70s, when Vietnam, street protests, and Watergate were much more immediate. In the 1980s, though, when we all learned the term Nuclear Winter, the feeling that civilization was provisional struck me deep. I remember a conversation I had at the time with an old New Englander about a great granite millstone we were admiring at a farm museum. "A thing like that'll last forevah," the man said in his Yankee inflection. "Or until the bombs fall," I thought to myself, shuddering at the notion we'd created a world where such a possibility existed.
My fear then was the product of a twisted manufacture, just as our fear of terrorist attack is today. That manufacture is a complex system of technology, ideology, economics, and propaganda. It is impossible for Joe Citizen to know how much of the threat is real and how much a construct. I swing wildly sometimes, from "recognizing" how dangerous the world is to suspecting the whole thing is a put-up job, created, as Lucy says in A Charlie Brown Christmas, "by a big Eastern syndicate." What I do know is that we will remain at the mercy of tooth and claw as long as we continue to choose conflict over cooperation. The way to enter a new epoch of peace is to be exemplars of justice and compassion. The question is, has nearly seventy years of being on the defensive changed our national personality in ways that prevent us from doing so?
02 December 2010
There is an eerie beauty about the photographs individually and collectively. While I found myself being hypnotized by certain images - especially the 2007 photograph by Balazs Gardi which shows an Afghan man holding a wounded child - when I stood in the middle of the gallery and slowly turned 360-degrees I became immersed in the whole to the degree it felt like an out-of-body experience. The circle transported me not to Iraq or Afghanistan but to a surreal world where pain, fear and suffering was the norm. This place is called war.
The rest of the post is here. (Scroll down the right sidebar there to the list of past postings.)
Battlesight is on exhibit through December 19 at the Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy.
23 November 2010
It's as though the International Center of Photography opened a branch in Troy. The exhibition Battlesight: Dispatches from Iraq and Afghanistan by International Photographers is that good, and that important.
An extraordinary endorsement. The rest is here: http://dbgetvisual.blogspot.com/
16 November 2010
01 November 2010
War with faces
Published: Friday, October 29, 2010
The Blue Mosque, Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan 2007 (Photo by Teru Kuwayama)
The 32 photographs in “Battlesight: Dispatches from Iraq and Afghanistan by International Photographers,” which is the inaugural exhibition of the Center for Documentary Arts at The Sage Colleges, draw out an emotion that fulfills not only the mission of the show but also the mission of the center.
“The show raises our consciousness, not about a certain political agenda, but about our fellow human beings,” says Timothy Cahill, the center’s director. “That gets to the big word, which is compassion/empathy. If you open yourself up and don’t come in with one agenda or another, if you just look at the pictures, I think it’s impossible to walk away not having connected to their humanity.”
|The Daily Gazette (Schenectady, NY), October 28, 2010|
Photos capture physical,
emotional impact of war
Views of Afghanistan, Iraq wars bring home reality
Thursday, October 28, 2010
By Joanne McFadden
TROY — One assignment, three different results,
all poignant statements about humanity.
That’s what visitors to The Arts Center of the
Capital Region will see in “Battlesight:
Dispatches from Iraq and Afghanistan by
International Photographers,” the debut
exhibition of the Center for Documentary Arts
at The Sage Colleges. It will be on exhibit through Dec. 19.
Timothy Cahill, founding director of the center, admits that there’s “something very
brave about launching a not-for-profit devoted to documentary art and compassion in
the midst of a great recession.” Yet he, along with founders Dr. Melvin Krant and
Steve Lobel, did just that.
“Battlesight” goes to the heart of the center’s twofold mission: to use documentary
arts to bring viewers into the lives of other people and as a result increase awareness
of what we share as humanity and foster increased compassion for one another.
In part, Cahill chose the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for the center’s first exhibition
because it will be on view at the same time as The Sage College’s Veterans Week
2010, and this was a way to highlight the activities of the center’s host institution.
Despite the subject matter, the exhibition is not a political statement. Neither it nor
the Center for Documentary Arts has a political agenda, Cahill said.
assignment to provoke a conversation about how documentary artists work and also
He chose three photographers who had worked in Iraq or Afghanistan on
to give the public a closer look at what is taking place in that region of the world.
“I wanted the show to begin to be a dialogue about various ways these artists
take reality and mold it into something that’s truthful and communicate that truth,”
THIS IS WAR An exhibit opened at the Arts Center of the Capital Region
(265 River St., Troy) last week that we all would do well to check out.
Curated by Timothy Cahill, Battlesight: Dispatches from Iraq and
Afghanistan by International Photographers is a powerful collection of war
photography by Pulitzer Prize winner Cheryl Diaz Meyer, Balazs Gardi
and Teru Kuwayama. The exhibit is on view through Dec. 19, but there
will be a reception tomorrow evening (Friday, Oct. 29) from 5:30-9 PM
during Troy Night Out.
23 October 2010
The Arts Center of the Capital Region, October 22 through December 19, 2010
Opening reception, October 29, 5-9 pm
22 October 2010
Art Center explores wars’ savage beauty
Despite obviously severe wounds, the child appears calm, if grim, gaze directed the way as his protector’s. Are they imploring, accusing? Or simply presenting themselves to their unseen interlocutor, heavenly or worldly, proclaiming, ‘here I am,’ ‘deal with me?’ Crouching next to them, an older man touches the child; a doctor giving treatment? A village elder? A mullah? The youngster’s grandfather?
There is something almost spiritual in the pose of man and child, reminiscent of the ‘Pieta’ yet shockingly contemporary. And the man laying on hands? "Something almost, dare I say it, rabbinical about that," says Timothy Cahill, showing off the image by photojournalist Balasz Gardi – one of three independent photographers whose work is on display through Dec. 19 in the main gallery of downtown Troy’s Arts Center of the Capital Region.
"These pictures bring us to empathy," says Cahill. "It’s impossible to look at these photographs, to really look at them, and not, after going around the room, to feel connected with these other human beings."
Gardi’s work, along with that of Cheryl Diaz Meyer and Teru Kuwayama, makes up "Battlesight: Dispatches from Iraq and Afghanistan by International Photographers" – sponsored by the year-old Center for Documentary Arts at The Sage Colleges.
The images, curated by Cahill, the center’s founding director, are artful, beautiful photography, worthy of a gallery; but they are also reportage, unblinking, close-up, of the effects of war, psychological and physical and visceral. Their combined effect is not polemical and argumentative but a jolt of reality: "it strips us of abstraction," says Cahill.
12 October 2010
05 October 2010
October 22 – December 19 Reception: Friday, October 29, 5:30 – 9:00 P.M.
Free and Open to the Public
Presented by the Center for Documentary Arts in cooperation with The Arts Center of the Capital Region.
TROY, NY – The Arts Center of the Capital Region and the Center for Documentary Arts at The Sage Colleges is pleased to present Battlesight: Dispatches from Iraq and Afghanistan by International Photographers, a new documentary photography exhibit opening in mid‐October. The exhibit is a powerful collection of wartime images from Iraq, Afghanistan, and beyond by three renowned photographers whose work records the realities of life for combatants and civilians alike in lands far from most Americans’ view. The photographers, Cheryl Diaz Meyer, Balazs Gardi, and Teru Kuwayama, all international award recipients, represent a variety of approaches to contemporary photojournalism, from traditional news reportage to intimately interpretative documentary art. Battlesight is organized by Timothy Cahill, director of the Center for Documentary Arts, in cooperation with the Arts Center of the Capital Region and the Sage Colleges’ “Veterans Week 2010.”
Cheryl Diaz Meyer Dust Storm, Second Tank
Battalion, U.S. Marines, Iraq, 2003
Balazs Gardi, Afghan man and wounded boy,
Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, East Afghanistan, 2007
Teru Kuwayama has published photographs in Time, Newsweek, National Geographic, Outside, Fortune, and Vibe, among other publications. His work on the Tibetan refugee diaspora received awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Alexia Foundation for World Peace, and were exhibited at the United Nations and the Open Society Institute. The University at Albany graduate was named by Esquire as among the “Best and Brightest” of his generation for his reportage on the occupation of Iraq, and PDN included his work on Kashmir in a selection of 2005’s most iconic images in contemporary photography. In 2006 he received a Nikon Storyteller Award, a Days Japan International Photojournalism Award, and a W. Eugene Smith fellowship for his work in Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. Kuwayama is co‐founder of Lightstalkers, a professional and social network of photographers, media professionals, NGO workers, military personnel, and other “unconventional travelers.” He recently completed a Knight Fellowship at Stanford University and received a 2010 Knight News Challenge award. He is currently a 2010 TED Global Fellow and 2010
Teru Kuwayama, The ruins of Kabul, Afghanistan, 2002
Monday – Thursday | 11AM – 7PM
About The Arts Center: For nearly 50 years, The Arts Center of the Capital Region has enriched the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. A regional arts center, it offers classes, camps, exhibits and performing arts events. Artists of all ages and abilities are encouraged, mentored, and nurtured in a collaborative, supporting and accepting environment.
The Arts Center’s 36,000 square feet of space include discipline‐specific studios for pottery, printmaking, culinary arts, jewelry making, woodworking, painting and drawing, stained glass and dance, among others. It also includes a 99‐seat theater for performing arts events, and its three galleries are noted for their critically acclaimed contemporary exhibits.
Learn more about The Arts Center of the Capital Region and its offerings at www.artscenteronline.org .
15 September 2010
| Balazs Gardi, Afghan man holds a wounded boy|
outside their house in Yaka China village, Korengal Valley,
Kunar Province, East Afghanistan, October 2007
Battlesight opens October 22 at the Arts Center of the Capital Region in Troy, New York, with the public reception on Troy Night Out, October 29. The show runs through December 19.
|Cheryl Diaz Meyer, US Marine Corporal Richard |
Cope, 23, of Michaigan, enjoys the scent of a rose
from the gardens of Baghdad College, April, 2003
Shows of this technical and artistic caliber seldom originate in the Capital Region, and I am looking forward to presenting this work here first. My hope is that from Troy we will be able to travel the exhibit to other venues outside the region. Arrangements for that are in the works. I am in the homestretch with preparations, overseeing the framing, preparing the catalog, contacting the press, planning events. Lots of work, but it is a privilege and a joy to be doing it on behalf of the artists and their extraordinary work.
|Teru Kuwayama, Ruins of Kabul, Afghanistan, 2002|
Save the dates: Battlesight is organized in collaboration with the five-day conference Veterans Week 2010, organized by The Sage Colleges for November 8-12. For more information, follow the Veterans Week 2010 link in the sidebar. On December 9, the Center for Documentary Arts will hold a symposium at the Arts Center on battlefield photography featuring three generations of war photographers, from World War II to the present. I will post details about that event as it gets closer.
Thank you everyone for your interest and support.
12 August 2010
These programs are in addition to the Center’s major initiative of the Fall 2010 season, Battlesight, an original exhibition featuring the work of three world-class battlefield photographers, one a Pulitzer Prize winner, who have covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These are images you won’t find on TV or in most publications; stark, powerful, haunting views of the wars we’ve been waging for nearly a decade. There’s a wealth of information about the show and participating photographers on the Battlesight page and links, both on the sidebar, and I invite you to spend some time looking.
|Chet and Karen Opalka|
In his book Pictures and Tears , James Elkins describes the charged silence that fills the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas. The space ...
Photography is inherently fragmentary, and I find I base my faith on perfect moments. –Robert Adams In 2001, Robert Adams...
In his book Pictures and Tears , James Elkins describes the charged silence that fills the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas. The space ...