Kate Greenberg

About Love by Gay Block

About Love by Gay Block

About Love: Gay Block

Interview with Anne Wilkes Tucker

Radius Books is pleased to announce the release of About Love (January, 2012) by acclaimed portrait artist Gay Block. The book is made up of photographs and films spanning Block’s thirty-five-plus year career and includes an interview between the artist and preeminent photography curator, Anne Wilkes Tucker.

About Love is a career survey comprising Block’s most intimate and moving portraits, organized chronologically in an oversized book that reads similar to a family album. Above Love includes work from Block’s well-known series Rescuers: Portraits of Moral Courage in the Holocaust and Bertha Alyce: Mother exPosed as well as more recent portraits and a series titled Camp Girls.

From the beginning in 1975 Block has been motivated to make portraits of people from whom she felt the need to learn something about life and personal values. She has moved beyond superficial representation, often making extensive audio and film recordings of conversations with her subjects. Her first portraits were made within the Houston Jewish community where she grew up, and in the 80s her curiosity took her to find the bubbes and zaydes she wished she’d had on Miami’s South Beach, and later to photograph in the gay community of Santa Fe where she now lives.

Throughout the years filmmaking has also been important to her artistic practice. Block has simultaneously filmed her subjects, aware that she was as fascinated by how people tell their life stories as she was in capturing precisely what they look like. Five films on two DVDs are included: A Tribute to Spirit: The Beth Israel Experience, 1976 (34:25); A Big Gesunt (As Long as You’re Well)—South Miami Beach, 1986 (28:56); They Risked Their Lives: Rescuers of the Holocaust, 1991 (23:44); Bertha Alyce, 2001 (23:38); and Camp Girls, 2006 (55:46).

Gay Block grew up in Houston, Texas and is currently based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She began her career as a portrait photographer in 1973, shooting her own affluent Jewish community in Houston. Her landmark work with writer Malka Drucker, Rescuers: Portraits of Moral Courage in the Holocaust, both a book and traveling exhibition, was shown in over 50 venues in the U.S. and abroad, including the Museum of Modern Art in 1992. Her published books in addition to Rescuers include Bertha Alyce: Mother exPosed, and White Fire: Portraits of Women Spiritual Leaders in America. Block’s multiple award-winning short film about her mother, Bertha Alyce, was shown in over 25 film festivals. Block’s photographs are included in museums and private collections throughout the United States, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Center for Creative Photography, Tucson.

Anne Wilkes Tucker was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and is currently the Gus and Lyndall Wortham Curator of Photography at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston where she has worked since 1976. She founded the museum’s Photography Department, which now has a collection of over 22,000 photographs. She has curated over forty exhibitions, she has published many articles and lectured throughout the world. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the Getty Center. In 2001, in an issue devoted to “America’s Best”, Time Magazine honored her as “America’s Best Curator”. She was the first recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Focus Award from the Griffin Museum of Photography in 2006.

Book Details:
11 × 13 inches
312 pages
219 color and duotone illustrations
5 films on 2 DVD’s
ISBN: 978-1-934435-32-8
Trade edition: $65.00; Signed edition: $70.00

Radius Books is a not-for-profit organization founded in 2007, whose mission is to encourage, promote and publish books of artistic and cultural value. Books give an accessible form to rich and complex creative visions. They become the vehicles for beauty, reflection, and change. In this spirit, Radius Books donates copies of every title we publish to libraries and schools, with the hope and expectation that these books will reach and inspire new and expanding audiences.