Isabella Myers' Archive

Harry Callahan

Eleanor and Barbara, Chicago

gelatin silver print
19.5 x 24.3 cm.
Museum collection

Harry Callahan

Eleanor and Barbara

1953 / print ca. 1969
gelatin silver print
14.4 x 14.2 cm.
Museum Purchase

Harry Callahan

#108 (Eleanor)

ca. 1954
gelatin silver print
16.3 x 15.7 cm.
Museum purchase

Harry Callahan

Eleanor, Chicago 1953

gelatin silver print
20.2 x 25.2 cm.
Museum collection

Harry Callahan

gelatin silver print
20.1 x 25.2 cm.
Museum Purchase with National Endowment for the Arts support

image source for all Harry Callahan photos:

I chose to highlight Harry Callahan’s work because all of the subjects in these photographs are his wife, someone he is very close to. In my project, I am seeking to give a more universal look to my subjects, rather than just friends of mine. Eleanor, his wife, is fairly anonymous in all of these pictures. The photos are not about her in particular, but her existing in these different environments.

1 song

the vowels pt 2 by why?

1 video

Autechre – plyPHON

by Lucio Arese

1 new artist

Elizabeth Peyton

I chose her because she is a portrait artist who paints her friends and celebrities she likes. On the surface, these subject matters seem a little frivolous or cliche, but there’s a lot of thought that goes behind it. There is a way to take very personal subjects and make them relevant or interesting to society and that is what interests me in Peyton’s work. Here is an excerpt from an interview with Index Magazine:

STEVE: What do you find so interesting in a photo of someone that makes you want to have that moment? That there’s a certain candidness?
ELIZABETH: That doesn’t matter so much. I think the thing for me is just that the person’s not there. At some point the photo’s got to get lost.
STEVE: The series of Tony asleep is remarkable. It’s like romantic verité.
ELIZABETH: Well, Tony was the first person who let me look at him that way and not feel violated or think it strange. He just let it happen. It is a little weird, because I always feel like I’m getting so much.
STEVE: Strictly speaking, would you consider yourself a portraitist?
ELIZABETH: When cab drivers ask me what I do, I say, “I paint people.” But then I always want to qualify it a little bit. I don’t mind the portraiture thing, but I can’t paint just anybody. I wish I had that skill, but I don’t.
ROB: When was the first time you painted Napoleon?
ELIZABETH: When I was really young, after this bad summer where I never went out. I read his biography and it somehow made sense of the whole world, that this one person changed everything. Let’s make roads! Let’s everyone go to school! [laughs] Plus he was gorgeous and had star quality.
ROB: There’s the cliché about all portraits being self-portraits.
ELIZABETH: I don’t know. It’s like something I want to see in the world, and then I see it exists in another person. I get so excited that it actually is there. I don’t know if it’s self-identification as much as that’s what I want every second to be like. When I was really young and just couldn’t relate at all, and I was reading nineteenth-century literature —that was my world. They were my best friends. And then, Kurt. That was the first time I ever painted an American from roughly my own time. It was such a revelation —it’s here, that thing I’ve been loving.
ROB: And very personally. Not in a detached, Warholian way.
ELIZABETH: No, no distance at all. As in, this is what I want to live for. In a way, you can be much more intimate with people you don’t know. But the fan thing conjures up that something’s missing, that there’s an inadequacy.
STEVE: But pop music stars are kind of more like friends than other celebrities.
ROB: Yeah, and one thing about pop music is that you can drag it back to the nest and be alone with it.
ELIZABETH: It’s like John Lennon, you hear his breath. And you can have it. And if you really love that person, then you take them into your life and you make it better with them. In a different way Kurt Cobain is a good example. It was just his own fucked up life, but how many millions of people related to it? It’s a beautiful thing when a collapse occurs between our own personal needs and what’s in the air.
STEVE: Well, that’s what first drew me to your work. The clarity with which you present those sorts of emotions. And it’s so simple.
ROB: It’s all about these strokes, and you can look into the painting and see that they haven’t been muddled with. They’re really assured and there. I can never look at any of your paintings and see an area that even looks like you tried to correct something.
ELIZABETH: But that’s the thing —it’s all mistakes in a way. The overall effect just works sometimes.
ROB: I feel like you can’t really be pinned down. On the one hand you celebrate figures like Kurt Cobain, who would seem to have been his own invention. But then you also paint English royals, like Prince Harry …
ELIZABETH: The royals can be idiots, and I don’t know about all of them. But in particular, Elizabeth rose to the occasion of her life. Kurt Cobain could have just been a drug addict. But he wanted to make more, and he left it for us. It’s actually all the same, they’re not unrelated at all. One of my favorite things about Princess Diana is that her grandmother was Barbara Cartland. So she grew up reading her romance novels, totally believing in love and princes. And then she had to rise above the tragedy of going into the royal family actually believing in it. She was nineteen —she didn’t understand that it was a transaction. It was because she really believed in love that everything went wrong.


STEVE: Now you’re concentrating on these portraits of friends. Doesn’t familiarity with a person hinder actually seeing them?
ELIZABETH: No, I think it kind of gets easier, because there’s more in your head. You can feel everything more than you need to see it. With photographs you notice that you don’t even see people sometimes. There’s so much else going on that you don’t really know what they look like. But familiarity is the best for me, actually knowing them. And a lot of times people will say, “These men don’t look like that. There’s no way they have red lips like that, and such skin.” But they do.


The images are in a video interview of a survey of her work.

Link here:


5 images

Opie, Catherine

Bo from the Portraits series
Chromogenic print
60 x 30 inches
152.4 x 76.2 cm

Opie, Catherine

Justin Bond from the Portraits series
chromogenic print
20 x 16 inches

Opie, Catherine

Angela Scheirl from the Portraits series
Chromogenic print
20 x 16 inches
(50.8 x 40.6 cm)

all Catherine Opie images from

Condo, George

Darkness, 2009
Oil on linen
165,1 x 165,1 cm

Condo, George

Young Girl, 2009
Oil on linen
165,1 x 165,1 cm

All George Condo images from

1 song

Why do you let me stay here? by She & Him

1 video

Directed by Arev Manoukian


excerpt from interview with Thomas Ruff published in Journal of Contemporary Art found at

Pocock: What do you mean by real reality?

Ruff: Photography has been used for all kinds of interests for the past 150 years. Most of the photos we come across today aren’t really authentic anymore–they have the authenticity of a manipulated and prearranged reality. You have to know the conditions of a particular photograph in order to understand it properly because the camera just copes what is in front of it.

Pocock: Why did photography become so important in the art world?

Ruff: Maybe it’s a question of generations. My generation, maybe the generation before, grew up with photography, television, magazines. The surrounding is different from a hundred years ago. Photography became the most influential medium in the Western world. So nowadays you don’t have to paint to be an artist. You can use photography in a realistic, sachlich way. You can even do abstract photographs. It’s become autonomous.

Pocock: There’s little personality in your portraits, little use in the buildings, and a skepticism in photography’ ability to communicate anything real in the Stars. Does this mean photography is empty in a traditional sense?

Ruff: It’s empty in it sense of capturing real reality. But, for example, if I make a portrait, people say that there’s little personality in it. They say that. But in a way there is because I know all of the people I photograph. Maybe the problem is that if in the same way I had photographed a famous person, it would be a different looking picture because we know another thing about this person.

Pocock: So they’re anonymous . . .

Ruff: They’re anonymous to you.

1 new artist

Lucian Freud

Alternative to Thomas Ruff’s cold and sterile portraits, Lucian Freud’s portraits are full of life:

“A British painter, with German roots, the son of an architect and the grandson of the founder of psychoanalysis, Lucian Freud emigrated to the United Kingdom with his family in 1932, fleeing from the antisemitic tide that had taken over in his home country.

The body of his work is composed almost exclusively of portraits in which he voluptuously undresses his model. The models are almost always friends or lovers, and he paints them with deliberate parsimony, always in natural settings, in order to capture their instincts while they pose. Freud has said about this that he wants his paintings to have “the same effect as flesh.”

Although in his youth his work showed an undeniable Surrealistic influence, his evolution turned towards representation similar to the reasoning of Otto Dix and Oscar Kokoschka in the New Objectivity movement. However, he would not achieve his most genuine language until he had formed a close relationship with Auerbach and Bacon, two painters with whom he formed part of the so called School of London.

It was Francis Bacon who encouraged him to immerse himself in pictorial material with complete freedom from the requirements of the drawing. His brushstrokes became coarse and angular but without betraying his taste for details. Freud’s work is intimate, piercing, distressing. His models’ flaccid bodies disturb the spectator with their autobiographical intensity that is almost always far from any sexual intention. He did not paint a nude portrait of himself until he was well into his 70s.

His shows at the Marlborough gallery have given him resounding success that has continued to grow since the excellent retrospective show that visited Washington, Paris, London and Berlin in the 1980s. His work smashes price records at every new auction, and nobody disputes the fact that today Lucian Freud is, in his own right, one of the most respected figures in contemporary Art.”

It seems to me that where Thomas Ruff feels an obligation to be aware that his photographs are merely representation, Lucian Freud struggles to transcend the representation and somehow transfer the flesh to the canvas. With nude subjects portrayed in a manner that stray as far away as possible from gratuitous, the viewer can then distinguish these images from a pornographic context, with which I think at least contemporary society associate the nude. In these settings of raw fleshy appearance, the viewer is forced into a certain context with which to view this person. This is actually quite similar to Thomas Ruff in the sense that Ruff uses his clean sterile atmospheres to force the viewer into realizing that these are falsified atmospheres, and indeed the only person who knows this subject is the photographer himself. So where Ruff and Freud’s goals are very separate, their means of manipulating the setting and context with style and intention mirror one another.

Naked Girl Asleep II
1968 (130 Kb); Oil on canvas, 55.8 x 55.8 cm; Private collection

For example, this woman is entirely stripped of her erotic control. She is vulnerable, and indeed, fleshy.

Reflection (self portrait)
1985 (150 Kb); Oil on canvas, 56.2 x 51.2 cm; Private collection

Girl with a white dog
1951-52 (140 Kb); Oil on canvas, 76.2 x 101.6 cm; Tate Gallery, London

5 images

Karsh, Yousuf, Pablo Picasso, 1954

Karsh, Yousuf, Albert Einstein, 1948

Karsh, Yousuf, Fidel Castro, 1971Karsh, Yousuf, Alberto Giacometti, 1965

Karsh, Yousuf, Audrey Hepburn, 1956

All images taken from

I chose to include these portraits by Yousuf Karsh because I think they are relevant to my project. He has the ability (especially in the photograph of Albert Einstein) to share a subject’s personality with a very *staged* photograph.

1 song

juno by tokyo police club

1 video

Everything Episode 7

Produced by Jason Whetzell and Danny Jelinek


(will discuss below)

1 new artist

Alice Neel’s portrayal of the self in self-portraits is something that interests me regarding my project. It is similar in the sense of its expression of self-image.

“For Neel, the blankness of her mother’s eyes must have been particularly painful […] it was through the expression of her mothers face that she judged her own actions: ‘my psychiatrist told me I got interested in painting portraits because I liked to watch my mother’s face …. It had dominion over me. Since she was so unpredictable, he thought I watched her face to see whether she pproved of things or not.’ In her mother’s blankness she observed the extinction of her own life […] Her Self-Portrait, Skull, a drawing of 1958, testifies to preoccupation with her own death at this point.”

This relates to my project in that her expression goes beyond the physical representation of herself in this drawing, but ascends to deeper, psychologically rooted issues in which she attempted to express her inner soul.

She says, regarding painting portraits of others: “I become the person for a couple of hours, so when they leave and I am finished, I feel disoriented. I have no self. I don’t belong anywhere. I don’t know who or what I am. It’s terrible, this feeling, but it just comes because of this powerful identification I make with this person.” She is projecting herself into the subject, and learning how it is to be that person.

She dealt with personal issues regarding old age and its affect on her physical appearance, by coping with an internal image that varied with her external appearance.

all images and text from

5 images

Bernd + Hilla Becher, Leige-Seraing, Belgium 1980

Bernd + Hilla Becher, terre rouge, esch-alzette, luxembourg 1979

Bernd + Hilla Becher, duisbourg-bruckhausen, germany 1995

Bernd + Hilla Becher, homecourt, lorraine, france 1980

Bernd + Hilla Becher, terre rouge, esch-alzette, luxembourg 1969

their black-and-white images are all taken in the same
clinical manner: a front and profile angle provide a clear
and objective documentation of each structure,
the building is placed in the centre of the frame
and isolated from its environment. the mass of photos are
made coherent through categorisation into typologies,
revealing the vast diversity of objects all with the same
purpose. non-identical, yet uniform –
the idiosyncratic differences and similarities become

the becher’s describe their subjects as
‘buildings where anonymity is accepted to be the style.’
presented collectively, their images transform these buildings
into objects worthy of interest, if not admiration.

the typological approach to photography has historic
as well as aesthetic significance. we turn to photography
because it is a rich means through which to represent –
and interpret, reality – and the documentary aspect to the
bechers work has been widely appreciated by engineering
and architectural historians.

Text and images from

1 song

The Stillness is the Move by Dirty Projectors

1 video

1 new artist

Sally Mann

Sally Mann was born in 1951 in Lexington, Virginia, where she continues to live and work. She received a BA from Hollins College in 1974, and an MA in writing from the same school in 1975. Her early series of photographs of her three children and husband resulted in a series called “Immediate Family.” In her recent series of landscapes of Alabama, Mississippi, Virginia, and Georgia, Mann has stated that she “wanted to go right into the heart of the deep dark South.” Using damaged lenses and a camera that requires the artist to use her hand as a shutter, these photographs are marked by the scratches, light leaks, and shifts in focus that were part of the photographic process as it developed during the 19th century. Mann has won numerous awards, including Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships. Her books of photographs include “Immediate Family,” “At Twelve: Portraits of Young Women;” and “Mother Land: Recent Landscapes of Georgia and Virginia.” Her photographs are in the permanent collections of many museums, including The Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.

“Untitled (#1)”
From the “Deep South” series
Tea-toned gelatin silver print, 38 x 48 inches

“One of the appropriate metaphoric things in this whole process is that I found out from a doctor that collodion was used in surgery during the Civil War to bind wounds, and I thought ‘Oh, how fitting that I should be taking this process to the deep South.'”
– Sally Mann

“Untitled (#30)”
From the “Deep South” series
Tea-toned gelatin silver print, 38 x 48 inches

“Untitled (#34)”
From the “Deep South” series
Tea-toned gelatin silver print, 38 x 48 inches

All images and text found at

I’m not sure what draws me to these images, perhaps that they are contemporary landscapes that are absent of contemporary imagery, and completely absent. If I were to see these images without knowing who took them or when they were taken, I would assume they were archival images from the 19th century. I feel like that is important to what I am investigating in my work, because it becomes a dialogue about context of imagery for me. How you clue your viewer into what you are getting at through technical choices. How do I give a subject context through these technical choices, when otherwise they are anonymous. With both Sally Mann’s series titles and her oldfashioned style photographs, I can begin to understand that her photographs are focused around history of the south, perhaps civil war, and from there I have some sort of common ground with her. Otherwise, without this title choice and the choice of using old methods of developing and taking photographs, I could come up with a number of possible concepts that Mann could be working from. I imagine I would take contemporary issues and add them into the situation, even if I were to assume that these are southern landscapes, I may draw ties to contemporary events like Hurricane Katrina. Mann has the ability to use technical choices to hone in on her topic, and I want to work out a way to do this because so much of my work involves technical choices.

5 images

Ann Carlson & Mary Ellen Strom

Sloss, Kerr, Rosenberg & Moore

4 min and 30 sec. cycle

Video made with four practicing New York City attorneys John Sloss, Chet Kerr, Scott Rosenberg and Thomas Moore. This work features the lawyers performing a movement and vocal score that references their work and lives. The rhythmic sequences illustrate the performative aspects of litigating, the pressures experienced while working inside the juridical system, the contest, the service and ultimately the lawyers individual humanity. This work reflects on subjectivity and the inscription of labor on the human body. Highly formal in its spatial design and patterning, Sloss, Kerr, Rosenberg & Moore becomes a kind of twenty-first century folk dance.





20″ X 24 ”   Edition of 12

C Print





20″ X 24 ”   Edition of 12

C Print





20″ X 24 ”   Edition of 12

C Print

all tunbjork images from

Michael Wolf, print from “The Transparent City.”

3 images of labor

1 song

Big Fists by Azeda Booth

1 video

The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema directed by Sophie Fiennes, written by Slavoj Zizek

new artist

Laurie Simmons

I am interested in Laurie Simmon’s ability to tell a narrative with symbolic imagery.

“Walking Gun/ The Music of Regret”
Flex print, 84 x 48 inches.
© Laurie Simmons, courtesy the artist and Sperone Westwater Gallery, New York.“The Music of Regret” (Act III)
35 mm film, 40 minutes. Directed by Laurie Simmons; Music, Michael Rohatyn; Camera, Ed Lachman ASC; with Meryl Streep, Adam Guettel, and the Alvin Ailey II Dancers.
© Laurie Simmons, courtesy the artist,Salon 94, and Sperone Westwater Gallery, New York.

“Regret is the prevailing emotion in the film. It’s very much about the different guises of regret. That’s what keeps coming up. It’s something I’ve been exploring for a long time. Every way that I could think about it, I tried to make it come up in the movie.”
– Laurie Simmons

I think I want to explore ideas disguised as symbols, such as the gun with legs in Simmons’ movie represents something much more rooted psychologically, and yet the idea is conveyed in the symbol of a gun. Perhaps my execution would not be as apparent, but I like the idea of working it into my ideas.

“Walking Pocket Watch/ The Music of Regret”
Flex print, 84 x 48 inches.
© Laurie Simmons, courtesy the artist and Sperone Westwater Gallery, New York.

all images and text PBS Art 21

5 images

In this archive, I want to capture the influence of environment that makes a space leisurely or not leisurely.

John M Armleder
Aluminium, plexiglass, wood, flowers, plastic flowers and trees, monitors, DVD, getho blasters, CD`s and fluorescent lights
Dimensions variable

For example, this work uses bright colors, lights and decorative items to create a more inviting atmosphere, which I would argue would create a more leisurely atmosphere.

Thomas Demand
c-print on diasec
180 x 238 cm

Alternatively, this image conveys an atmosphere opposite of the first image. Besides it being obvious to any viewer familiar with the tedious and invasive procedures of TSA, at surface value it is a hygenic atmosphere with minimal decorations and a somewhat bland color palette. The designs of the items in the photograph are utilitarian and industrial, form follows the function of each item. In the first image, there was no apparent function to the structure, but here each item serves a purpose whether that purpose is foreign or not, it is still very evident in the photo.

Wyatt Gallery “Buddhist Temple – Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka,”

When atmospheres become religious, they maintain a decorative sense that balances with the minimalism of a laborious atmosphere. Religion is meant to be rejoiceful yet also work, you must meditate or pray regularly, this is a good example of labor and leisure mixing together in the individual. In my project I am interested in labor and leisure mixing in the atmosphere, so that there is often an imbalance between the two. The majority is partaking in leisure where as one or two people are at work.

Matt Bell, “Untitled.” Photograph of Scrap Live MMA and Boxing Event.

This is a really interesting photograph because it focuses on the spectator at a boxing event. The spectator even appears to be working perhaps, wearing a suit with a pen in his hand. Other spectators appear to be more absorbed in the sporting event, but this man appears calm and composed. The quest for domination over an opponent in boxing is very interesting, indeed, because that is the labor involved. In almost all settings where leisure and labor mix, it seems there is more of a unifying goal, i.e. I give money to _x__ and s/he gives me ___x__ and it’s a direct relationship. Or even in soccer, I give ____x____ my money to watch _____y___ and ____z___ teams run around with a ball trying to kick it into a goal. But in boxing it is I give ____x___ my bet that ____y___ will beat the shit out of ____z___ and therefore ___x___ will give me money for guessing right, unless ___z___ wins, then I owe ___x__ more money. This setting brings another party into the picture and it is more of a disconnect from the actual people beating the shit out of each other. Granted, this is the case in any sporting event where betting is involved, but I do believe that betting is the biggest appeal to boxing sporting events, the people are certainly replaceable, and will always be seen as disposable to the spectator.

Greg Kendall-Ball,

And then there are even more pointless endeavors of attempting to break world records such as this man is attempting to do. The act of futile labor for the reward of permanent recognition for that outrageous act, that is until some other person beats it. So silly!

3 images of labor

Jenny at High Dive

1 song

Now there’s that fear again by Mum

1 video

Cibo Matto’s Sugar Water video directed by Michel Gondry

new artist

Richard Serra

Richard Serra was born in San Francisco in 1939. After studying at the University of California at Berkeley and at Santa Barbara, he graduated in 1961 with a BA in English literature. During this time, he began working in steel mills in order to support himself. In 1964, he graduated from Yale University with both a BFA and an MFA. Receiving a Yale Traveling Fellowship, he spent a year in Paris, followed by a year in Florence funded by a Fullbright grant. Serra’s early work in the 1960s focused on the industrial materials that he had worked with as a youth in West Coast steel mills and shipyards: steel and lead. A famous work from this time involved throwing lead against the walls of his studio. Though his casts were created from the impact of the lead hitting the walls, the emphasis of the piece was really on the process of creating it: raw aggression and physicality, combined with a self-conscious awareness of material and a real engagement with the space in which it was worked. Since those Minimalist beginnings, Serra’s work has become famous for that same physicality, but one that is now compounded by the breathtaking size and weight that the pieces have acquired. His series of “Torqued Ellipses” (1996–99), which comprise gigantic plates of towering steel, bent and curved, leaning in and out, carve very private spaces from the necessarily large public sites in which they have been erected. Serra’s most recent public work includes the 60-foot-tall “Charlie Brown” (1999; named for the Peanuts comic-strip character in honor of its author, Charles Schultz, who had died that year), which has been erected in the courtyard of an office building in San Francisco. He lives in New York and Nova Scotia.

Snake, 1996, steel

Walking through these sculptures affects atmosphere, your body reacts accordingly. With simple structural devices, an entire experience can be altrered.

One Ton Prop (House of Cards), 1969, lead antimony

Also there is the mixture of industrial and rough materials used for an aesthetic purpose.

Torqued Ellipse VI, 1999

Torqued Ellipse VI, 1999

Oversized sculptures give more relation to the body and its atmosphere. This structure is intrusive of its space but also inviting. It is forceful in its use of space but still permits and welcomes curiosity.

Torqued Ellipse VI, 1999


The one thing I am still having trouble accomplishing is tying the music/videos to my archive’s overall goal of exploring my project involving leisure and labor…

Paper: essay

Mock-up 1:

5 images

Odd London. “Brochure Design for OA.” <;

Odd London. “Architect sales brochure for premium range of bathroom fittings by Grohe.”


Odd London. “Retail marketing brochure for legacy development around The Dome, commissioned by Greenwich Peninsula Regeneration Limited, the joint venture between Lend Lease and Quintain.” <;

I’m really into ODD’s print material, they have the perfect balance between design and content. I hope to achieve something similar in graphic quality and organized or simple composition.

Studio Output. “Pages from Dance Mapping.” <;


Triboro Design. “Page from Tar Magazine.” <;

I am looking at these pages for inspiration for my book, specifically in order to convey concepts with imagery and text in interesting ways. Because I hope my book will be a narrative, not through text, but through exploring the relationship between text and imagery.

images of labor

Atomix Cafe

1 song

The Devil by PJ Harvey



Rize [link]

new artist

These are all works by Matt Furie, an artist that I was previously familiar with but hadn’t read much on until today he was brought up in class and I revisited his drawings and found similarities between my approach and his approach at drawing. Although Matt Furie is much more successful at releasing all his inhibitions to explore the darker works of his psyche with kitschy subject matter.