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Ruven Afanador Torero Exhibit – October 28th,2021 – February 26th, 2022

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Throckmorton Fine Art

Throckmorton Fine Art is pleased to present its fifth exhibition of the photography of Colombian-born Ruven Afanador. This exhibit commemorates the second edition of the artist’s celebrated book, Torero. (Torero is the Spanish word for bullfighter.) While Afanador is an internationally acclaimed portrait and fashion photographer, he is also a fine artist. He has selected forty photographs from his work as an artist for this exhibit.

These images masterfully reveal the mystical world of bullfighters, which is rich with rituals. In all of the intricacies—including of dress—and drama, Afanador finds art. “To fight well a bull, you have to forget that you have a body,” said renowned Spanish torero Juan Belmonte. In his book Torero, Afanador does not capture the bloody struggle between the torero and the bull (which in Spanish is toro). Instead of the dance between beauty and horror in the bullfight, Afanador’s photographs are dedicated to the physical and emotional transcendence of men who defy death, driven by a passion for bullfighting. At first sight, Afanador appears to only focus on the torero’s figure, his sensual masculinity and the handmade, elaborate haute-couture-like outfits traditionally worn by bullfighters.

Throckmorton New York Art Gallery | Ruven Torero Exhibit

However, Afanador does more: he reveals the struggle the torero experiences before facing the bull. With the threat of death, the torero needs to feel and show that he is strong, proud, and the central performer in the dramatic pageantry of the bullfight. Life and death are at play in the plaza. Afanador wants us to have empathy, as he surely did while spending time with the toreros. The torero must display virility in the plaza, and Afanador captures well all the strength that is mustered before the spectacle. Afanador ceaselessly pushes the limits of aesthetic cultural conventions.

Torero, his first book of personal work, reflects his own artistic expression, links history and Hispanic culture, explores his passion for dance and poetry, and indulges in his delight for unconventional beauty. These pursuits are also evident in his other personal projects: Sombra (2004), Mil Besos (2009), Ángel Gitano (2014), Yo Seré Tu Espejo (2016), and Las Hijas del Agua (2020). This latest book, done in collaboration with the artist Ana González, presents remarkable portraits of indigenous Colombian communities and their ancestral traditions. Afanador is a well-recognized fashion photographer. He began working in New York in in the early 1990s. His work has appeared in Vogue, Elle, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, and the New York Times. Afanador is also a sought-after portrait photographer.

Throckmorton New York Art Gallery | Ruven Torero Exhibit

Those who have been captured by his lens include: President Barack Obama, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Dalai Lama, Margaret Atwood, and Marina Abramovic. Afanador’s photographs are in many private and public collections, including in his native Colombia. Museums in Colombia holding his work include El Museo Nacional de Colombia and El Museo de Arte Moderno de Bogotá.

His work has been exhibited internationally, including, in addition to the United States, in Switzerland, Italy, Spain, and Argentina. Throckmorton Fine Art is proud to represent Afanador in New York. This exhibit will also mark the twentieth anniversary of the photographer’s first show with the gallery.

Gallery Focus

Happy Birthday, Berenice Abbott

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Today is the birthday of Berenice Abbott, an American photographer. A key figure in having brought photographic circles in Paris and New York together. She moved to New York in 1918, then to Paris in 1923, where she met Man Ray, who hired her as his photography assistant. Man Ray had introduced Abbott to the work of Eugène Atget. She devoted herself to documenting New York with the same dynamism that Atget had shown for Paris, photographing its streets, buildings, parks, and, of course, its people.

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Gallery Focus

New: Focus Magazine Returns To Print

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Focus Magazine, the premier journal for collectors of fine art photography, is returning to print this Autumn with its Collectors Edition, Alternative Process Edition and Film Edition. Please visit our Current Issue section to see the next two exciting upcoming editions of Focus Magazine!

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Collector's Focus

GORDON PARKS: A CHOICE OF WEAPONS

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NEW YORK CITY—Howard Greenberg Gallery will present the photography exhibition Gordon Parks: A Choice of Weapons from October 8 through December 22 in the new gallery on the 8th floor of the Fuller Building at 41 East 57th Street.

One of the world’s leading galleries for classic and modern photography, the Howard Greenberg Gallery is celebrating its 40th anniversary with an exhibition of important work by the renowned photographer and filmmaker Gordon Parks. Through his still images, both candid and staged, the exhibition explores the roots of Parks’ future as a filmmaker. 

Parks, who described his camera as his “choice of weapons,” was known for his work documenting American life and culture with a focus on social justice, race relations, the civil rights movement, and the African American experience. He was hired as staff photographer for Life magazine in 1948, where over two decades he created some of his most groundbreaking work that cast light on the social and economic impact of poverty, discrimination, and racism.

In 1969, Parks launched a pioneering film career by becoming the first African American to write and direct a major studio feature, The Learning Tree, based on his semi-autobiographical novel—a career move foreshadowed through his cinematic approach to photography.

Marking the 50th anniversary of the release of Parks’ second feature-length directorial endeavor, Shaft (1971), a classic New York City detective film that spawned the blaxploitation genre, the gallery will present photographic works that reveal the artist’s cinematic approach. 


Parks’ earliest photographs often imply a narrative beyond the individual frame, echoing his desire to represent complex facets of his subjects’ lives and communities. Like his films, Parks’ photographs present robust narratives that seek to reveal the complexities of his subjects’ lives.

The works on view include those staged in 1952 in collaboration with Ralph Ellison and inspired by his novel  Invisible Man, as well as those made while Parks was embedded with the New York gang leader “Red” Jackson in 1948, and images of the Fontenelles, a Harlem family that struggled to feed their eight children in 1967.

The exhibition coincides with the release of the HBO documentary A Choice of Weapons: Inspired by Gordon Parks in November, and the extended presentation of works from his series The Atmosphere of Crime in the permanent collection galleries of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

About Gordon Parks (1912-2006)
Gordon Parks was born into poverty and segregation on a farm in Kansas in 1912, the youngest of 15 children. He worked at odd jobs before buying a camera at a pawnshop in 1938 and training himself to become a photographer. From 1941 to 1945, Parks was a photographer for the Farm Security Administration and later at the Office of War Information in Washington, D.C. As a freelance photographer, his 1948 photo essay on the life of a Harlem gang leader, Red Jackson, won him widespread acclaim and a position as the first African American staff photographer and writer for Life magazine, which continued until 1972. In addition to being a noted composer and author, in 1969, Parks became the first African American to write and direct a Hollywood feature film, The Learning Tree, based on his bestselling novel of the same name. This was followed in 1971 by the hugely successful motion picture Shaft. Parks was the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Medal of Arts in 1988, and was given over 50 honorary doctorates from colleges across the United States. Photographs by Parks are in the collections of many major museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, J. Paul Getty Museum, National Gallery of Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. stated, “Gordon Parks is the most important Black photographer in the history of photojournalism. Long after the events that he photographed have been forgotten, his images will remain with us, testaments to the genius of his art, transcending time, place and subject matter.” 


About The Gordon Parks Foundation
The Gordon Parks Foundation permanently preserves the work of Gordon Parks, makes it available to the public through exhibitions, books, and electronic media, and supports artistic and educational activities that advance what Gordon described as “the common search for a better life and a better world.” The Foundation is a division of the Meserve-Kunhardt Foundation.

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