Scot Nery in Hollywood
drkrm was founded by John Matkowsky who has a twenty-five year reputation as a fine art black and white printer in Los Angeles. The drkrm gallery specializes in documentary and photo-journalistic work, cutting edge and alternative photographic processes and the display and survey of popular cultural images both current or historic.
For the past 6 years drkrm has presented a superb and continuous array of exceptional exhibits, specializing in more under-the-radar, counterculture presentations. drkrm.
I caught up with John to talk to him about the galleries new exhibit and new location in China Town.
1) Tell us about drkrm’s new Art Shay Retrospective and why this is an important exhibit for the gallery.
Art Shay is 90. His photography career spans nearly seven decades. He has published over 30,000 photographs in his life, which include the likes of kings, queens, presidents, athletes and celebrities as well as the common man. He became a full-time photojournalist in the early fifties shooting regularly for Time, Life, Fortune, Sports Illustrated and the New York Times Magazine, among others. Many of his images are in the National Portrait Gallery. What makes this exhibition important for drkrm is that this is the first time any of these images will be exhibited in Los Angeles, marking Art Shay’s West Coast debut.
2) Explain drkrm’s mission statement and your background in photography.
What started out as a fine art black & white photography lab has evolved into a exhibition space dedicated to the display and survey of popular cultural images (current or historic), fine art photography, documentary and photo journalism, and cutting edge and alternative photographic processes. I feel I specialize in under-the-radar, counterculture presentations. My 25-year background as a Master Printer started with mentor Tom Consilvio, who taught me the finesse of the fine artistic print. Through the years I have worked on the images of Gary Winogrand, William Claxton, Phil Stern and many other renowned artists such as Horace Bristol, Jo Ann Callis, Catherine Opie, Edward S. Curtis and, most recently, Ansel Adams. drkrm’s black & white lab is still dedicated to the highest quality of hand processing and fine printing, specializing in traditional, silver-gelatin printing and film processing nearly lost in today’s digital age.
3) drkrm has moved premises a few times in recent years; has each move been for political, artistic or financial reasons or all three?
We are starting out in our third space in eight years. Each past location has had advantages and disadvantages: artistic, financial and political. Our new location on Chung King Road in LA’s historic Chinatown puts us in the middle of a thriving art scene and combines the best of all the other locations under one roof. We are surrounded by major, important galleries such as theCharlie James Gallery, Matt Gleason’s Coagula Curatorial, and Jancar Gallery. In addition, the space we are now occupying was once China Arts Objects Gallery, the first gallery in Chinatown.
4) How do you like your new location in China Town?
We are new here and everyone is friendly and supportive. I think we will be here for awhile.
5) drkrm is one of the very few west coast photography galleries which showcases black and white, as well as underground and alternative lifestyles work, which I feel puts it up there with galleries in New York, London, Paris, Berlin and Prague, etc. Money and audience obviously an issue and LA is certainly more preoccupied with Hollywood show business but is that the only reason why there are so few art and photojournalism photography galleries in Los Angeles?
Traditionally, you can’t make money showing photojournalistic work. Many people don’t want the aggressive, raw, b&w in your face realism that some of the pictures express. However, I do have a number of collectors who do, so we manage to make sales. I think this type of gallery and work would do much better in Europe or even in New York. At least critically. Trying to balance commerce with art is always tough. But I show what I think needs/warrants/begs to be shown. Because that’s what drkrm is all about. Also, because a lot of the work I like is from the 1970’s and 80’s and tends to be shot on TRI-X.
6) I see that drkrm is receiving more international press in the last year, why do you think this is?
drkrm has been exhibiting some pretty fantastic stuff. People are taking notice, especially in Europe.
7) What do you look for in a photographers’ work to exhibit at drkrm?
The most important thing in an artist’s work is how it affects me. Does it make me feel… something. Basically I show what I like. However, in the back of my mind I think, can I sell this? Again, art is subjective and I suppose I have some lofty idea that I know what great art is, but, somehow, it has to feel important to me. I have curated pictures of transvestite whores on the night-time streets of Mexico City to the surprisingly nostalgic street photography of Ansel Adams.
8) How has drkrm evolved in the last few years and what new things can we expect at the new location in 2013?
For the last 8 years, drkrm has stayed true to its program, curating photo-journalistic exhibitions. We are now offering workshops in Historic photographic processes such as Wet plate Collodion,cyanotypes and Platinum as well as photography and lighting workshops featuring some major artists in photography today. We are trying to keep the dream of film alive.
9) Which photographers and galleries inspire you?
I am inspired by the work of Diane Arbus, Joel Peter Witkin, Larry Clark and Ralph Eugene Meatyard.
Peter Fetterman and David Fahey are two gallerists I greatly respect and admire.
10) Until very recently there seemed to be an annual news report proclaiming the death of photography. Recent digital has really changed things around and photography is as big now as it has ever been and the divide between professional and amateur is very blurred. Is it increasingly difficult to exhibit work produced from a pre-digital age and to convey the difficulties of that process to a contemporary crowd?
Yes, it is difficult. Though occasional aficionados of the process still seek out the old, classic ways of film, unfortunately, almost everyone now thinks what is on the wall is digital. They are not used to seeing silver gelatin prints, which have a have a well known and regarded archival history. In my experience, if a collector has a choice between a digital print or a Silver print of the same image, they usually opt for the Silver print. Even some museums are showing digital prints of classic photography as opposed to vintage prints. I recently saw some photographic images from Thomas Eakins at a local museum that were digital copies.
11) Let’s bring it back round to your new exhibit on March 2nd and Art Shay. Which image in this retrospective really speaks volumes, not only of Shay’s work but photography and the exhibit at drkrm?
There are far too many images in the Art Shay Retrospective to have one shot speak the loudest, but one of my favorites is this somewhat famous shot from the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago where police violently confronted demonstrators. It is of the marque of the Hilton Hotel that proclaims “Welcome Democrats.” Arrayed under the sign is a sidewalk corps of a dozen bayonet-lofting Guardsmen. Powerful stuff.
Art Shay has seen it all.
Interview by Ginger Liu
Art Shay – a retrospective runs from March 2 – April 6.
The opening reception is on March 2, 7-10pm.
There were no real surprises in the 85th Academy Awards. Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi” scored big with Oscars for direction, cinematography, visual effects and original score. Jennifer Lawrence, Christoph Waltz, Anne Hathaway, Adele and Daniel Day-Lewis all won gongs as did “Amour” for best foreign language film and “Argo” for best picture. All predicted.
Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Alan Arkin in “Argo”
Robert De Niro in “Silver Linings Playbook”
Philip Seymour Hoffman in “The Master”
Tommy Lee Jones in “Lincoln”
* Christoph Waltz in “Django Unchained”
Best Animated Short Film
“Adam and Dog,” Minkyu Lee
“Fresh Guacamole,” PES
“Head Over Heels,” Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly
“Maggie Simpson in ‘The Longest Daycare,’ ” David Silverman
* “Paperman,” John Kahrs
Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
* “Brave,” Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman
“Frankenweenie,” Tim Burton
“ParaNorman,” Sam Fell and Chris Butler
“The Pirates! Band of Misfits,” Peter Lord
“Wreck-It Ralph,” Rich Moore
Achievement in Cinematography
“Anna Karenina,” Seamus McGarvey
“Django Unchained,” Robert Richardson
* “Life of Pi,” Claudio Miranda
“Lincoln,” Janusz Kaminski
“Skyfall,” Roger Deakins
Achievement in Visual Effects
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and R. Christopher White
* “Life of Pi,” Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott
“Marvel’s The Avengers,” Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams and Dan Sudick
“Prometheus,” Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley and Martin Hill
“Snow White and the Huntsman,” Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Philip Brennan, Neil Corbould and Michael Dawson
Achievement in Costume Design
* “Anna Karenina,” Jacqueline Durran
“Les Miserables,” Paco Delgado
“Lincoln,” Joanna Johnston
“Mirror Mirror,” Eiko Ishioka
“Snow White and the Huntsman,” Colleen Atwood
Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling
“Hitchcock, “Howard Berger, Peter Montagna and Martin Samuel
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater and Tami Lane
* “Les Miserables,” Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell
Best Live-Action Short Film
“Asad,” Bryan Buckley and Mino Jarjoura
“Buzkashi Boys,” Sam French and Ariel Nasr
* “Curfew,” Shawn Christensen
“Death of a Shadow” (Dood van een Schaduw), Tom Van Avermaet and Ellen De Waele
“Henry,” Yan England
Best Documentary Short Subject
* “Inocente,” Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine
“Kings Point,” Sari Gilman and Jedd Wider
“Mondays at Racine,” Cynthia Wade and Robin Honan
“Open Heart,” Kief Davidson and Cori Shepherd Stern
“Redemption,” Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill
Best Documentary Feature
“5 Broken Cameras,” Emad Burnat and Guy Davidi
“The Gatekeepers,” Dror Moreh, Philippa Kowarsky and Estelle Fialon
“How to Survive a Plague,” David France and Howard Gertler
“The Invisible War,” Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering
* “Searching for Sugar Man,” Malik Bendjelloul and Simon Chinn
Best Foreign-Language Film
* “Amour,” Austria
“A Royal Affair,” Denmark
“War Witch,” Canada
Achievement in Sound Mixing
“Argo,” John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Jose Antonio Garcia
* “Les Miserables,” Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes
“Life of Pi,” Ron Bartlett, D.M. Hemphill and Drew Kunin
“Lincoln,” Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Ronald Judkins
“Skyfall,” Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell and Stuart Wilson
Achievement in Sound Editing (tie)
“Argo,” Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn
“Django Unchained,” Wylie Stateman
“Life of Pi,” Eugene Gearty and Philip Stockton
* “Skyfall,” Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers
* “Zero Dark Thirty,” Paul N.J. Ottosson
Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams in “The Master”
Sally Field in “Lincoln”
* Anne Hathaway in “Les Miserables”
Helen Hunt in “The Sessions”
Jacki Weaver in “Silver Linings Playbook”
Achievement in Film Editing
* “Argo,” William Goldenberg
“Life of Pi,” Tim Squyres
“Lincoln,” Michael Kahn
“Silver Linings Playbook,” Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers
“Zero Dark Thirty,” Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg
Achievement in Production Design
“Anna Karenina,” production design: Sarah Greenwood; set decoration: Katie Spencer
“The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” production design: Dan Hennah; set decoration: Ra Vincent and Simon Bright
“Les Miserables,” production design: Eve Stewart; set decoration: Anna Lynch-Robinson
“Life of Pi,” production design: David Gropman; set decoration: Anna Pinnock
* “Lincoln,” production design: Rick Carter; set decoration: Jim Erickson
Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score)
“Anna Karenina,” Dario Marianelli
“Argo,” Alexandre Desplat
* “Life of Pi,” Mychael Danna
“Lincoln,” John Williams
“Skyfall,” Thomas Newman
Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)
“Before My Time,” from “Chasing Ice”; music and lyric by J. Ralph
“Everybody Needs a Best Friend,” from “Ted”; music by Walter Murphy, lyric by Seth MacFarlane
“Pi’s Lullaby,” from “Life of Pi”; music by Mychael Danna; lyric by Bombay Jayashri
* “Skyfall,” from “Skyfall”; music and lyric by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth
“Suddenly,” from “Les Miserables”; music by Claude-Michel Schonberg, lyric by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil
* “Argo,” screenplay by Chris Terrio
“Beasts of the Southern Wild,” screenplay by Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin
“Life of Pi,” screenplay by David Magee
“Lincoln,” screenplay by Tony Kushner
“Silver Linings Playbook,” screenplay by David O. Russell
“Amour,” written by Michael Haneke
* “Django Unchained,” written by Quentin Tarantino
“Flight,” written by John Gatins
“Moonrise Kingdom,” written by Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola
“Zero Dark Thirty,” written by Mark Boal
Achievement in Directing
“Amour,” Michael Haneke
“Beasts of the Southern Wild,” Benh Zeitlin
* “Life of Pi,” Ang Lee
“Lincoln,” Steven Spielberg
“Silver Linings Playbook,” David O. Russell
Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Jessica Chastain in “Zero Dark Thirty”
* Jennifer Lawrence in “Silver Linings Playbook”
Emmanuelle Riva in “Amour”
Quvenzhane Wallis in “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
Naomi Watts in “The Impossible”
Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Bradley Cooper in “Silver Linings Playbook”
* Daniel Day-Lewis in “Lincoln”
Hugh Jackman in “Les Miserables”
Joaquin Phoenix in “The Master”
Denzel Washington in “Flight”
Best Motion Picture
“Amour,” Margaret Menegoz, Stefan Arndt, Veit Heiduschka and Michael Katz, producers
* “Argo,” Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck and George Clooney, producers
“Beasts of the Southern Wild,” Dan Janvey, Josh Penn and Michael Gottwald, producers
“Django Unchained,” Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin and Pilar Savone, producers
“Les Miserables,” Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward and Cameron Mackintosh, producers
“Life of Pi,” Gil Netter, Ang Lee and David Womark, producers
“Lincoln,” Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, producers
“Silver Linings Playbook,” Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen and Jonathan Gordon, producers
“Zero Dark Thirty,” Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow and Megan Ellison, producers
The Hollywood Reporter
I’m blogging and Tweeting “Under the Goodyear Blimp.” It’s going to be a classic Hollywood affair with legends presenting awards to essentially an indie field. But what I’m most excited to see, as I’m an American Brit, is the Academy’s homage to 50 years of Bond plus Adele making the first and perhaps only performance of her Golden Globe winning “Skyfall.” Will it be Oscar for Adele?
Ansel Adams Los Angeles
February 18 -March 17, 2012
Opening Reception Saturday, February 18, 2012 7-10pm
drkrm is pleased to present Ansel Adams Los Angeles, rarely seen photographs that reveal the lost landscape and lifestyle of a prewar Los Angeles. These nostalgic images represent Ansel Adams as a photojournalist on assignment for Fortune Magazine in 1939. Ansel Adams Los Angeles will be on display from February 18 through March 17, 2012.
In 1939 Los Angeles had a population of 1.5 million. The cost of gas was 10 cents and a new car was $700. It was the year The Wizard of Oz and Gone With The Wind were released. Francis Ford Coppola, Ralph Lauren and Lee Harvey Oswald were born. Amelia Earhart was officially pronounced dead and President Roosevelt initiated the Manhattan Project. The U.S. began rearming for World War II and the prestigious Ansel Adams was commissioned by Fortune Magazine to photograph a series of images for an article covering the aviation industry in the Los Angeles area. For the project, Adams took over 200 black & white photographs showing everyday life, businesses, street scenes and a variety of other subjects. But when the article, City of the Angels, appeared in the March 1941 issue, only a few of the images were included.
In the early 1960s Adams rediscovered the photographs among papers at his home in Carmel and donated them to the Los Angeles Public Library. He wrote in a letter: “The weather was bad over a rather long period and none of the pictures were very good… I would imagine that they represent about $100.00 minimum value… At any event, I do not want them back.” But as many critics will agree, sometimes an artist is not always the best judge of their own work.
Ansel Adams (1902-1984) created some of the most influential photographs ever made; he was one of this century’s leading exponents of environmental values. It seems that every third family in America has an Adams’ poster on the wall, images that were difficult to make but easy to love. His images portray a romanticized and unspoiled Western American landscape, but Ansel Adams Los Angeles is a whole other body of work that is rarely discussed, let alone seen.
drkrm, in association with EVFA, and with the cooperation of the Los Angeles Public Library, will create and exhibit new silver-gelatin prints made from the original negatives. These dramatic black and white limited-edition photographs, on display to the public for the first time, will be offered for purchase with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the LAPL.
Ansel Adams Los Angeles is part of Pacific Standard Time. Pacific Standard Time is an unprecedented collaboration of more than sixty cultural institutions across Southern California, coming together to tell the story of the birth of the L.A. art scene. Initiated through grants from the Getty Foundation, Pacific Standard Time will take place for six months beginning October 2011.
Pacific Standard Time is an initiative of the Getty. The presenting sponsor is Bank of America.
drkrm is an exhibition space dedicated to the display and survey of popular cultural images, fine art photography, cutting edge and alternative photographic processes. drkrm is located at 727 S. Spring Street in the Gallery Row district of Downtown Los Angeles.