#artinthetimeofcorona interview with Ben Huff



This is one in a series of interviews with our customers to see how they are adapting to the COVID-19 world.

Ben Huff lives in Juneau, AK and has been a customer since 2018. He is a photographer and the founder of the independent publisher, Ice Fog Press.

This is his #artinthetimeofcorona story.

 

2020-05-18_11-31-36

huffphoto.com

How was Juneau affected by the COVID-19 virus? How have you been affected personally?

Here in Juneau, it feels like we’ve dodged a bullet to some degree. We’ve only had 26 total cases, and had a twenty six day stretch with no recorded cases, until two were reported last week. Juneau, and the state, have been diligent at adhering to social distancing and mask wearing, and it appears to have worked. But, as I type this the governor has lifted all restrictions today – going from phase 2 of our statewide plan straight to phase 4 – with all businesses opening without restrictions. I hope we don’t soon lose our standing as the state with the least cases in the country.

Do you have a daily routine that keeps you grounded these days? 

Since the start, I’ve been in the studio most days. I live very close, and the building is empty, bar two tenants, so once I navigate the front door of the building, I’m clear. Most days in the studio at the beginning revolved around tending to some needed archive work, printing, working on a book mockup of a current project, and making and shipping books for my indie publishing imprint Ice Fog Press. Recently, I’ve been getting out to make pictures for myself, and some local clients and magazines.

Are you reading, cooking, streaming, or doing any activity that is helping you cope?

My wife and I have always cooked a fair amount, and that has now become more necessary. I’ve recently moved vegetable starts from the kitchen into the garden, and tending to house projects that went neglected all winter. But, mostly, to cope, I’ve been skiing, running, and packrafting close to home. One of the great draws to living in a small town in Alaska is that I can be on my skis, with my dog, in twenty minutes – headed for a ridge and a view, without coming in contact with anyone else. It’s absolutely essential to me during normal times, and this current madness has me even more thankful to exist in this place.

With museums and galleries closed are you seeing a shift to the internet for viewing/selling art?  How is this affecting you?

I was preparing for an exhibition at the Anchorage Museum when the pandemic took hold. We’ve rescheduled for next spring, and to be honest I’m happy to just still be on the calendar. I’ll be showing the same project, Atomic Island, at the Alaska State Museum in the fall of this year, assuming that things keep on a downward trend. Initially, the lost momentum of the rescheduling of both exhibitions was really dispiriting. It’s important to me to have shows in physical spaces, but my priorities have been upended in a very short period of time. It seems everything I care about is in jeopardy, and it’s difficult to prioritize in the ways I’m accustomed to.
As for sales – I don’t currently have representation, so print sales generally come from recommendations from curators and other artists. It’s a tough time. I don’t know anyone who has a solid feel for how things are going to play out. I certainly don’t.

Do you see any positive changes for photographers in a post pandemic world?

In simplest terms, artists make art. Some of my friends are working, some can’t find it right now, but they will. We’re all processing this in different ways, but art will be made. I don’t subscribe to the idea that all great art comes from tragedy, but the artists that come out of this on the other side will have stories to tell. It’s our shared history now.




Strandbeest: The Dream Machines of Theo Jansen at the Peabody Essex Museum

The Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) announces the first U.S. exhibition tour of Theo Jansen’s famed Strandbeests (“beach animals”). Working along the Dutch seacoast, Jansen has spent the last 25 years developing and evolving his Strandbeests, which today have become a global phenomena.

An annual rhythm structures the Strandbeests’ life cycle. Innovations are imagined and explored in the studio in winter, then tested and adapted on the beach in summer. Each new species of Strandbeest boasts new tactics and adaptations for their seaside survival. By fall, the creatures have outlived their evolutionary use and become part of Jansen’s fossil record. Like evolution itself, this process is ruthless, searching and unending.

 

 

Animaris Umerus (2009), Scheveningen beach, The Netherlands. Photo by Lena Herzog.

Animaris Umerus (2009), Scheveningen beach, The Netherlands. Photo by Lena Herzog.

Animaris Percipiere (2005). Courtesy of Theo Jansen. Photo by Loek van der Klis

Animaris Percipiere (2005). Courtesy of Theo Jansen. Photo by Loek van der Klis.

Theo Jansen, Scheveningen beach, Netherlands (2011). Courtesy of Theo Jansen. Photo by Loek van der Klis.

Theo Jansen, Scheveningen beach, Netherlands (2011). Courtesy of Theo Jansen. Photo by Loek van der Klis.

Animaris Gubernare, Stille Strand (2011). Courtesy of Theo Jansen.

Animaris Gubernare, Stille Strand, Netherlands (2011). Courtesy of Theo Jansen.

Animaris Umerus, Silent beach, The Netherlands (2009). Courtesy of Theo Jansen. Photo by Loek van der Klis

Animaris Umerus, Stille Strand, Netherlands (2009). Courtesy of Theo Jansen. Photo by Loek van der Klis.

 

20150452_3583

ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES
With a singular focus and sense of play, Jansen has developed his Strandbeests from rudimentary structures into intricate, autonomous creatures that can respond to environmental changes by storing wind power, anchoring against oncoming storms and tacking away from the water’s edge. Originally inspired by the threat of rising sea levels, Jansen imagined a mechanical creature that could pile sand back up on the dunes. As time went on, Jansen became more fascinated with exploring ideas around the origins of life.

A selection of large- scale kinetic sculptures are accompanied by artist sketches, immersive video, and photography by Lena Herzog, who spent more than seven years documenting the Strandbeests’ evolution. Herzog’s work – which represents the most in-depth and sympathetic record of Jansen’s relationship to the beests – has recently been published by TASCHEN.

20150452_3454

THEO JANSEN
The artist first came to prominence in 1980 when he flew a “UFO” across the skies of Delft, Holland. For the past 20 years Jansen has been creating and exhibiting his dramatic, kinetic Strandbeests. He has appeared on multiple TED Talks, been the subject of a New Yorker profile and shown his work in Asia, Europe and now the United States.

LENA HERZOG
Lena Herzog is a Russian-American photographer. Her work has been featured and reviewed in numerous publications including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times Magazine, The Paris Review, Harper’s Magazine and Cabinet Magazine. She is the author of several books of photography and her work has been internationally exhibited.

Exhibition Tour
Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) 
September 19, 2015 – January 3, 2016

Chicago Cultural Center
February 6 – May 1, 2016

Exploratorium
May 27 – September 5, 2016

     

FRAMING SPECIFICATIONS AND ADVICE

Wood: Maple Finish: 15 white opaque

METRO GALLERY FRAME

Wide Profile: 111
Type: Wide Gallery Frame
Wood & Finish: maple wood frame with white opaque finish
Purchasing Option: joined wood frame with splines
Custom Wood Strainer: 1/2″ wood frame strainer
Custom Frame Acrylic: UV acrylic cut to size
Custom Frame Backing Board: archival coroplast cut to size
Framing Advice: fitting gallery frames