Elainebyrobert XL, FotoFocus Cincinnati
Elaine Mayes, Robert Mapplethorpe, 1982. © Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

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POSTPONED: Announcing Elaine Mayes as FotoFocus 2020 Visiting Artist

Posted on March 3, 2020

Dear FotoFocus Friends and Family,

We expect this will not come as a surprise, but we are deeply sorry to announce that we must reschedule our upcoming talk with Elaine Mayes and our SECOND SCREENS film screenings in April and May.

We can’t wait to share the amazing work and words of Elaine Mayes with all of you, as well as the inspiring, creative films that have helped bring us closer together as a community.

We will share new dates as soon as we can. Until then, we will be uploading videos of our past artist talks and conversations that you can watch on our website. Please continue to check our website and Instagram for updates.

Mary Ellen Goeke
FotoFocus Executive Director

FotoFocus is pleased to announce that renowned American photographer Elaine Mayes will be the next artist in the organization’s Lecture and Visiting Artist Series

Mayes will join FotoFocus Artistic Director and Curator Kevin Moore for a free and open to the public conversation at FotoFocus in the Lightborne Studios (FotoFocus, 212 East 14th Street, Cincinnati, OH) on Tuesday, April 14, at 7PM, and show a selection of her Monterey Pop Festival photographs in the new FotoFocus Gallery. The talk will be followed by a screening of Monterey Pop (1968), presented as part of FotoFocus’s free monthly film series SECOND SCREENS, and a Q&A session with the artist.

6pm: Free public reception and exhibition opening
7pm: Elaine Mayes in conversation with Kevin Moore
7:30pm: SECOND SCREENS Film: Monterey Pop
9pm: Q&A and final thoughts

Elaine Mayes began her extensive career in the 1960s, capturing intimate portraits of youth counterculture during the ‘Summer of Love’ in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury District. She documented the thousands of like-minded people who ushered in a new American era, and Mayes’ powerful black-and-white photographs went on to be exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York decades later.

Mayes turned her lens toward music also in the late 1960s, capturing rock and roll musicians at a turning point in music history. Her photographs of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Mamas and The Papas, and Otis Redding from the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival remain among the period’s most notable artifacts. She eventually became Steve Miller Band’s official photographer and continued to shoot the music scene in the 1980s, capturing New York’s thriving Punk and New-Wave era. More recently, she produced the conceptual documentary Summers with Helen (2017) about her friendship with artist and photographer Helen Levitt (1912-2009).

Screenshot 2020 02 21 At 13.50.31, FotoFocus Cincinnati
Elaine Mayes’ photographs from the 1967 Monterey Pop Music Festival. Left: Otis Redding. Middle top: Jimi Henrix. Middle bottom: Janis Joplin. Right: Pete Townshend of The Who.

The conversation with Mayes and Moore will be followed by a screening of Monterey Pop (1968), D.A. Pennebaker’s concert film documenting the same 1967 Monterey Pop Festival that Mayes recorded on camera. The film will be a new 4k restoration that highlights performances by Janis Joplin, Otis Redding and more in glorious surround sound. This will be the fourth screening in FotoFocus’s SECOND SCREENS series, which launched in January 2020 to celebrate the non-profit organization’s tenth anniversary and expand its mission of promoting lens-based art to fully encompass film, video, and the moving image.

“We are honored to welcome Elaine to Cincinnati and announce her addition to our ever-expanding lecture series. Few artists have been able to translate the feeling of the Summer of Love quite the way she has, and I look forward to watching Monterey Pop having listened to her recollections in person. It will be a very special evening,” says Mary Ellen Goeke, FotoFocus Executive Director.

The exhibition of Mayes’ photographs will be on view from April 14 through August 31, 2020.

Elaine Mayes (b. 1936, Berkeley, CA) has been an active visual artist since 1960. Mayes majored in painting and art history at Stanford University and then studied at the San Francisco Art Institute with John Collier, Jr. Paul Hassel, Minor White, Nathan Oliviera and Richard Diebenkorn. Between 1961 and 1968 she was an independent photographer working for San Francisco magazines and graphic designers. In 1967 and 1968 she photographed rock and roll, the ‘Summer of Love’, and San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury District scene. One of her assignments was to photograph the Monterey Pop Festival, a benchmark for rock and popular music, and these photographs were published in her book It Happened In Monterey (Britannia Press, 2003). 

Mayes’ photographs have been exhibited extensively with recent major installations at the Contemporary Museum in Honolulu, Fototage Internationale in Mannheim, Germany, a showing at Robert Burge Twentieth Century Photographs in New York City, and inclusion in a group exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Elaine has received a number of awards including three grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. She also was awarded funding for Hawaiian images and book production from The Atherton Foundation. Her work is included in a number of nationwide museum collections including The Boston Museum of Fine Arts, The Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum in New York City.

Mayes is Professor Emerita at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she was Chair of the Photography Department from 1997 until her retirement in 2001.

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