40-YEAR RETROSPECTIVE OF THE LEGENDARY SURF PHOTOGRAPHER
Exhibition: June 8 – 20, 2012
Reception: Thursday, June 14, 6 – 8pm
209 East 23 Street, New York City
New York, May 3, 2012—School of Visual Arts (SVA) presents “Art Brewer: Surf Evolution,” a retrospective celebrating the work of legendary surf photographer Art Brewer, who has spent four decades documenting and shaping surf culture around the globe. The exhibition is presented by the Arts Abroad Program at SVA, where Art Brewer teaches a course in Action Surf Photography in Rincon, Puerto Rico. “Art Brewer: Surf Evolution” will be on view at the SVA Gallery, 209 East 23 Street, New York City, from June 8 – 30, 2012.
Often described as “the court painter” for the world’s surfing elite, Art Brewer is known for his mastery of the numerous technical and physical challenges involved in surf photography and the strikingly expressive quality of his images, which some have described as “portals to a vastly improved universe.” Filmmaker C.R. Stecyk (Dogtown and Z-Boys) explains in his essay accompanying the exhibition, “Art has thoroughly examined the sport of surf riding with an unparalleled sensitive ferocity…an underlying introspection is seamlessly incorporated into his works via a technical mastery which comes across as easy and elegant.”
Curated by photographers Malcolm Lightner and Michelle Mercurio, the exhibition will include over 150 images from Brewer’s archive, made from the mid-1960s to the present, including many never-before-exhibited works. The selected work ranges from intimate portraits of surf legends like Corky Carroll, Tom Curren, Wayne Lynch, Marc Occhilupo and Kelly Slater, to evocative landscapes and waterscapes from around the world, to the dynamic images of surf riding for which Brewer has achieved international renown. The exhibition draws out Brewer’s pivotal role within the changing culture of the sport over the last 40 years. As C.R. Stecyk remarks, “Brewer functions as both the initial creator of objects of desire and as an authoritative recorder of the negative aftermath of a culture in transition.”
A largely self-taught photographer who once studied with Ansel Adams, California native Art Brewer began his photo career as a teen shooting local Laguna Beach surfers and freelancing for Surfer magazine. He subsequently served as staff photographer, darkroom artist and photo editor for the magazine until the mid-1980s. Since then Brewer has been traveling around the world in search of waves and the surfers that chase them. His portfolio spans photojournalism, portraiture and fine art photography in addition to commercial location work.
Brewer’s photographs have been exhibited worldwide, including at the Earl McGrath Gallery in New York, the Annenberg Space for Photography, the San Jose Museum of Art, the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Laguna Art Museum in California, the Melbourne Beach Contemporary Museum of Art in Melbourne Beach, Florida and the Museum of Contemporary Art in São Paulo, Brazil. His images have appeared in hundreds of magazines including GQ, Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, Esquire and Playboy. Over the course of his career, Brewer has done over 35 covers for Surfer magazine. His books include Masters of Surf Photography: Art Brewer (The Surfers Journal, 2002) and Bunker Spreckels: Surfing’s Divine Prince of Decadence (1949-1977) (Taschen Books, 2007).
The SVA Gallery, located at 209 East 23 Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues, is open 9am to 7pm, Monday through Friday, and 10am to 6pm on Saturday. Admission is free. The gallery is accessible by wheelchair. For further information call 212.592.2145.
The Arts Abroad Program at SVA offers a broad curriculum for artists and art enthusiasts to study in an environment that supports creativity and exploration while gaining firsthand knowledge of different cultural perspectives. Current offerings include: Action Surf Photography in Rincon, Puerto Rico; Art History in Southern France; The Artist’s Journal: Istanbul; Masters Workshop: Design History, Theory and Practice in Rome; Painting in Barcelona; Portrait and Fashion Photography in Barcelona; Photography in Southern France: Discover the Light of Provence; Products of Design in France: SVA @ Boisbuchet; and Shanghai Photography Workshop: Create, Connect, Exchange, Network. For more information please visit www.sva.edu/artsabroad.
School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York City is an established leader and innovator in the education of artists. From its inception in 1947, the faculty has been comprised of professionals working in the arts and art-related fields. SVA provides an environment that nurtures creativity, inventiveness and experimentation, enabling students to develop a strong sense of identity and a clear direction of purpose.