Video

Steven Sebring's "Illumination Who Are Poets"

December 29, 2011 / Kalvin Lazarte

The year has almost come to an end and as we look back at some of our most memorable moments from 2011 there is one that stands out above all the rest.

When Milk Gallery was presented with the opportunity of being home to photographer Steven Sebring’s multimedia exhibition “Illumination Who Are Poets” we knew it was going to be big, but we really had no idea just how monumental the reception would become. For his exhibition Sebring decorated not only the walls of Milk Gallery, but its floors, pillars and windows with giant pixelated portraits that paid homage to iconic singer/songwriters like Neil Young, Jim Carroll and Joey Ramone. Sebring’s portraits had all been taken with film over the course of his career and were than distorted and manipulated by the photographer for the show using digital technology. This was done to show that technology should play the role of enhancing photography as an art form - rather than suffocating the old ways of taking photos.

Opening night of Illumination was a star studded event. Gallery attendees packed themselves like sardines in a can to help celebrate Sebring’s magnificent works of art and anxiously await what would be an unforgettable performance by the legendary Patti Smith.

Patti read poetry directly from scraps of paper she brought to the microphone with her to a circling audience struck with awe. The artist then lead the night into song while her daughter accompanied her on the piano. The nights beautiful crescendo reached it’s climax with a surprise performance from Michael Stipe as he joined Patti in a rendition of his classic song “Everybody Hurts”. The performance was truly unlike anything else that we have seen at Milk in the past, and will be talked about for years to come as one of those moments that truly makes it exciting to be part of the industry we are in.

We knew we couldn’t let an event of this magnitude live and die in the course of one night, so we asked the Bootlegs crew to lend us their exquisite eyes in creating a short documentary - following the show from it’s construction inside walls of Milk to the once in a lifetime performance for it’s opening night. Under the direction of Simon Liu and Michelle Chu, the Bootlegs produced film showcases perfectly one of our proudest moments of this last year and of all time.

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