I discovered a lovely gallery/bookshop in the Mission the other day. Carte Blanche features the work of twelve international emerging artists, curated by Parisian transplant Gwen Lafage. Prints are for sale framed or unframed, and there is a small but addictive collection of photobooks as well, both by prominent and smaller publishers, and even some self-published work. The couches for lazy browsers like myself are much appreciated.
I particularly liked the work of Japanese artist Shinya Arimoto, whose Portraits of Tibet (1999) reveal a tough but warm people in their matted hair and battered woolens, squinting against the Himalayan sun. I also enjoyed Tomas van Houtryve‘s two Cuban series, American Ballet in Cuba and Cynical Realism, an interesting juxtaposition of the high regard for art and the low regard for general public welfare on the island.
I hope Carte Blanche will expand its print and book collection; the month-old shop is spacious and I am no fan of tasteful minimalism. With a few more tables of photobooks and magazines (there are now two), more couches, and perhaps an expresso machine, it could easily turn into a photography lover’s favorite haunt.
Also, this makes for two cool photo-oriented businesses in the Mission. Photobooth is just a few blocks away on Valencia.