Cachinko


LEFT: Jacob Aue Sobol, Sabine, 2000-2002, Courtesy of the artist

CENTER: Dan Nelken, Norie with her Favorite Hen, Delaware County Fair, 2000, Courtesy of the artist
RIGHT: Seung Woo Back, Blow Up #10, 2002, Courtesy of the artist

Discoveries of the Meeting Place

For the first time in the fourteen-year history of the Discoveries of the Meeting Place exhibition, the majority of the artists and curators come from outside the United States.
It is evidence of the continuing and expanding internationalization of the field, as well as the growth of portfolio review programs replicating FotoFest’s Meeting Place in other parts of the world.

These artist portfolio reviews have become a major entry point for mid-career and younger artists entering the professional art world, whether through gallery shows and representation, sales of work to museum collections and collectors, publication of portfolios and books, artist residencies, or commercial opportunities. As the largest, and one of the first, of these portfolio review programs, FotoFest’s biennial Meeting Place is also the most international.

LEFT: Kyung Duk Kim
CENTER: Brian Berman
RIGHT: Voitech Slama

The Meeting Place is an event charged with creative energy. Almost as much networking and “trading” of ideas and artwork go on informally around the portfolio room as they do at the formal review tables themselves.

The idea of inviting top museum curators, gallery owners, book publishers, magazine editors, photo agency representatives, and collectors to review artist portfolios has proved immensely popular, useful to both artists and curators. After FotoFest was asked to help organize a portfolio review in Beijing, the Meeting Place FotoFest Beijing came together in October 2006. Registration was limited to Chinese artists: of the one thousand Chinese photographers who registered, only 290 artists could be accommodated. An account of the Meeting Place FotoFest Beijing, along with thirty-two artists’ portfolios, is posted on the photo-eye website at www.photoeye.com/fotofestbeijing.

The Meeting Place and its portfolio reviews have existed since the beginning of the FotoFest Biennial. They were designed as an integral part of the Biennial program: a way to open new opportunities for artists to meet influential people who can help their art careers and the development of their work.

The Meeting Place was created and developed by FotoFest co-founders Frederick Baldwin and Wendy Watriss, who are photographers themselves. The program has been refined over the intervening twenty-two years by the FotoFest staff and Art Board in response to the needs and requests of both artists and curators. At FOTOFEST2008, a fourth session of
the Meeting Place was added because of the number of artists asking for space.

Ten years after the first Biennial in 1986, FotoFest inaugurated the first Discoveries of the Meeting Place exhibition at FOTOFEST1996 in Houston. The curatorial process is simple: shortly after each Biennial, FotoFest asks each of ten people who reviewed artists’ work at that year’s Meeting Place to select one artist whose work she/he considered to be a particularly interesting “discovery.” These artists are then asked to show this work in an exhibition in the following Biennial. Over the past twelve years, this Discoveries of the Meeting Place exhibition has seen the rise of many careers. It is an ongoing tribute to the talent of so many artists working with photography today.

The 2008 Discoveries exhibition is enormously varied in the work presented. The ten artists selected for this year’s exhibition were among 329 artists participating in the FOTOFEST2006 portfolio review.* The curators asked to select the work are a distinguished group of equally diverse individuals. They were invited to be Meeting Place reviewers and later curators for this exhibition because they are knowledgeable and experienced in the field of contemporary art and photography. They also have very different perspectives. Each has prepared a curatorial statement, which is published in this catalogue alongside the images of the artists they selected.

The Meeting Place has become an important launching pad for talented people seeking new opportunities to show and expand their artwork. Like the Biennial itself, it is about
creative energy and about building a community of people for whom creative energy is an important part of their lives. It is our hope that this Discoveries exhibition is just the beginning of a long and meaningful career in art-making for its participants.

Wendy Watriss and Frederick Baldwin
Creative Directors, FotoFest

Marta Sánchez Philippe
Coordinator, 2008 Meeting Place

* In the FOTOFEST2006 Meeting Place, participating artists came from eighteen countries and thirty states in the United States. Reviewers came from eighteen countries and fifteen states in the United States.

LEFT: Michelle Sank
CENTER: Suk Kuhn Oh
RIGHT: Katarina Mouratidi

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