CONTACT: An Open Letter to Museum Directors and Curators
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An Open Letter to
Museum Directors and Curators
About the Exhibition Path of Global Street Photographer
Gary Mark Smith
Gary Mark Smith turns 60 in 2016. His lifetime undertaking to document the poetry of everyday life on the streets of the world at the turn of a millennium has taken him down many curious roadways. On his career path until now he’s usually been successful hiding from serious attention (exhibition and high-circulation media are hardly ever on his “to do” list in Kansas) and that’s because he has not been inspired by the same motivation or desires or driven at the same pace by the same prerequisites as other fine artists.
He is a fierce and scholarly worker at his art, a one-of-a-kind individual who has done a truly remarkable thing; steadfastly launching multiple international streetphoto expeditions per year, every four months or so since 1978, aggressively applying his streetphoto mission wandering about the planet. And despite Gary’s reticence while hiding out at his studio in Kansas when he’s not out in the field (he’s never had a national newspaper or magazine article written about him in the USA, yet he’s the subject of several Wikipedia pages in several languages and is even listed on the FamousBirthdays.com webSite) he is gaining grass root cult attention by many throughout the post-Postmodern world because of his uninhibited and sometimes outlandish use of the “public” world as his “private” studio. Many, including eminent art world critics, influential museums and important research libraries think what he has acomplished is important.
What Gary has created over the past nearly 40 years and how he goes about accessing the danger streets he often ends up working on are at the core of the way the world projects itself to be at its most enterprising apex. Art representing a time of affordable global influence and reach, even for a poor independent American artist with acute wanderlust tendencies. A time during his life of overreaching speed and danger and risk taking, phrases such as “Seize the Day”, “No Fear”, “Extreme Sports”, and “You Can be Anything You Want to Be” becoming part of our multi-generational delusion (mantras hardly ever taken to the Gary Mark Smith extreme – – – challenging unstable authority in global backwaters while regularly demanding access from them to miserable streets where even journalists won’t go). Gary, aside from reflecting this take-the-bull-by-the-horns and go anywhere attitude of his time in his work, has also been fortunate that his career as the groundbreaker of the extremeophile street photography movement both preceded and coincided with the digital revolution in an era when just about everyone in the world has access to a camera on the street; this camera availability that is turning street photography into a burgeoning sport (particularly among the young) that will eventually turn the art world on its ear.
As he turns 60-years-old (still out there shooting 60-90 days per year) and approaches his 40th year anniversary as a global street photographer, a spirit somewhere within Gary (perhaps the voice of his splendid work demanding a more thoughtful audience) has called him to begin assertively sharing the best of his experiment on walls again instead of just sporadically doodling them out Online, and he is now seeking out partners in the institutional arts to help him produce a stimulating art exhibition of accessible cutting edge global photography composed of perhaps thousands of in-the-wild images borrowed from Gary’s massive one-of-a-kind streetphoto archive.
See that entire portfolio of more than 10,000 of Gary’s best images (and the depth of that portfolio’s quality) on his public webSite at www.streetphoto.com.
Janet M. Cinelli
Director of Communications
or Contact the Artist directly@
Gary Mark Smith
Lawrence, Kansas, USA
… with field offices in New York; Amsterdam; and Rio de Janeiro