The initial impetus for the award came after I received an electronic invitation to the opening of Jason Eskenazi’s “Wonderland: A Fairytale of the Soviet Monolith.”  I am familiar with Jason’s work and knew that it wasn’t receiving the attention it deserved so I spontaneously gave him this award and forwarded the email to everyone on my list.

I told Derek Stroup the story of how I made up this award and he laughed.  He was very encouraging and said, “Just keep doing it, the next thing you know people will be sending you their portfolios.”

A month or so later, Jay Nubile happened to send me a You Tube link to a video he and Toby Kaplowitz made for an experimental video workshop.  I tried giving him five stars but the You Tube software had a bug in it and only three stars were given!  This made me mad so I gave Jay what he rightfully deserved -– 6 GOLD STARS ******!

The idea stems partially from my discomfort with traditional media’s methodology for reviewing books, films, art, etc.  I feel these large entities have too much power over what is promoted nationally.  How often does the New York Times review a photography or multimedia book?????  Most of the decisions to review something are coming from editors with an expertise only in writing and editing text.  The visual arts are so dominant in our society yet only a handful of these editors have a strong background in this area.

I’ve always had complex feelings about awards because they foster competition and if someone doesn’t win, the individual often feels sad.  I’m not a person who likes competition or believes people need to be validated by awards, especially in journalism, photography and the arts.  However, awards often promote stuff that might go unnoticed and the psychology behind an award is still very powerful……so the intent is for this to be a friendly, quirky, happy, nice award.

The name of the 6 GOLD STAR AWARD is derived from my early pre-internet days in photography when I used to star my favorite slides so the editors would know which ones to choose.  The best slides were exuberantly given numerous stars.  Despite my not so subtle efforts, these editors have a mind of their own and often choose photographs I don’t want published.  As anyone in field of communications knows these listening skill problems persist to this very day.

And of course….we can’t forget our days in elementary school when we eagerly awaited our gold stars.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A. M. Richard Fine Art Wins SL6™ Cool Gallery Award

A. M. Richard Fine Art Gallery wins the Steve Lehman 6 Gold Star Award™ for being a cool gallery. I love this gallery; it's in an apartment in a Brooklyn neighborhood. I haven’t seen any other galleries like it. If you are in New York go check it out, it's the place be.

Interestingly enough I have a connection to two of the artists represented by A. M.

Derek Stroup, the person who introduced me to the gallery and another 6 Gold Star Award Winner™ (see November 7, 2007 post) grew up less than a mile a way from me in Connecticut.

Jill Freedman is a photographer I interned for the first time I lived in New York. I was student and I actually learned a lot about photo editing from her. She is very good at putting pictures together. We sat together in her living room and she would show me photos and ask me what I thought and then we would try to match them with other photos. The experience was a significant influence because it was one of my early exposures to photo editing. Are sessions were short lived because she called me out of the blue one day and wanted to pick up her dry cleaning or coffee or something. I said, "No, I don't that.” She didn't like it and told me to not to come anymore. I said, “fine” and continued on with my life. She wasn't paying me. I was there to do photo stuff not her laundry. I always had a strong sense of self and you need to if you are a professional artist. Jill was a character. She hung out with firemen and cops and made books about them. It strange looking back at that time because I was a student trying to be a professional photographer and wasn’t sure I would be able to do it.

Jill struggled with the business side of photography a lot. I also interned for Mary Ellen Mark at the same time, she was much better at business. It was interesting to observe, how these two women were of equal talent but Mary Ellen was more well known and making a lot of money. Mary Ellen was doing commercial work and some celebrity stuff. Jill was more of a purist when it came to her photography......I think. This was a long time ago and I'm not sure what went on in the subsequent years. Mary Ellen was a good self-promoter, she was shadier as well. She was fine with me but I heard a ton of horrible stories about her. She wasn’t a warm person. Neither woman really cared about helping to educate me. They didn’t have any feeling for me as a human. I was this sweet young guy. They could careless, it was all about them. Because of this and many other experiences, I tend to overcompensate with people and try to help them. Hence the award……..

Sorry for the digression A. M…………..

A.M. Richard Fine Art
328 Berry Street, 3rd Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Tel: (917) 570-1476

Gallery hours:
Friday through Sunday, 1 - 6pm
L to Bedford
J,M,Z to Marcy Avenue

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