When photographer Douglas Kirkland's image of Marilyn Monroe was sold to a local collector at the Snap Orlando auction last year, the art world sat up and took notice. This year, world-famous photographers are coming here for an event that is turning into the Art Basel of the photography world, thanks to Patrick Kahn and his co-producer, Heidi Jaffe.
It's hard to take in all of Snap's art events, workshops, salons, lectures, receptions and parties. The multifarious photo fest kicked off April 19 with a large-scale projection on the downtown Kress Building, a repeat of last year's ooh-and-ahh moment. (The inaugural projection mapping even made Orlando Weekly's Best of Orlando 2011.) Kahn spent weeks working with four other artists to create a dynamic animated image on the building's facade; the old Kress rippled, danced and decomposed into a lush green forest, its architecture stunningly warped by sophisticated video equipment and pure imagination. Snap happenings continued to unfold with the May 3 opening of Homegrown, the local portion of this international festival (see below), and a round of portfolio reviews with industry professionals May 5.
Things really start to bubble this week, though, with Thursday's UCF student exhibit and Friday's opening of Urban Wild (in nonprofit Clean the World's huge Pittman Street warehouse space next to I-4; valet parking is available) – the main event featuring internationally renowned artists.
“You can go to where culture already is, or you can create culture where you are, and I believe we can do this here,” Kahn says. “I'm originally from Los Angeles, and I wanted to start enjoying Orlando like I enjoyed L.A.”
Unfolding in multiple venues, Snap will immerse art lovers in visual imagery featuring some of the most exciting photographers working today. Urban Wild features work by Moby (yes, the recording artist); Miru Kim, whose nude series posing within rust-belt monstrosities has stirred the art world; and multiple fashion and art photographers. Kim, a New York-based artist, has explored urban ruins, often posing nude within the context of abandoned steel mills, catacombs and shipyards; her latest series examines the relationship between pigs and humans. Kahn calls her an “art star” and says he feels lucky that Kim will not only exhibit her photos, but also give a lecture.
Kahn sees Snap Orlando as a chance to create a buzz about his new home base. “We're making some noise in the art world, and it's getting heard. This year we'll have [artists] lecturing on their work, doing workshops and portfolio reviews, and so much fine art that it will be taking five venues to hold it all.”
Snap Fashion Night on Saturday will feature bold fashion looks backed by Cecil Stone's 3-D projection viewing. During daylight hours, Saturday and Sunday forgo the visual fireworks with more informational and hands-on events: Artists Gregory Scott, Frank Day, Travis Dove and Miru Kim lecture at the Orlando Museum of Art Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. On Sunday, the Orange Studio hosts photography workshops by local artist Preston Mack, high-dynamic-range expert Andrew Vernon, French artist Pierre Dutertre and fashion photographer Gian Carlo Brand. (Check snaporlando.com/ schedule for detailed information on times and artists.)
Snap's success and momentum is a hallmark of the new Orlando. An emerging sensibility supports art, and is starting to play in a larger arena, thanks to cultural risk-takers like Kahn and supporters who are collecting great art.
Visit snaporlando.com for more detailed show information and event schedules.
Click here to read about Snap Orlando's Homegrown: Central Florida Photographers exhibit
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