SOUTHFIRST 60 North 6th Street  Brooklyn, NY  11211



Jack Smith in Cologne, 1974

May 6 – June 18, 2017

Reception for the artist, Sunday, May 21, 4 - 6 PM


SOUTHFIRST is proud to present "Jack Smith in Cologne, 1974" an exhibition presenting the photographic work of GWENN THOMAS. The 50 selenium-toned silver gelatin prints, part of a group initially taken for the magazine Avalanche, document Smith’s performance “Fear Ritual of Shark Museum” in 1974 at the Cologne Zoo during the Kölner Kunstverein Projekt ‘74. This body of work was first shown at Yvon Lambert gallery in 2006, in an exhibition organized by curator Ed Leffingwell. The exhibition also features for the first time Thomas’ contact sheets which show in film-like sequence Smith’s performance across five rolls of 35mm film. The show is on view from May 6 – June 18. 


Thomas was the primary photographer documenting performance and art for Avalanche magazine from 1973-76. This body of work was taken while Thomas travelled in Germany to document the Kölner Kunstverein Projekt ‘74. The sequence features Jack Smith and Hildegard Lutze wearing feathered headgear and pith helmets, against a backdrop of camels and buzzards; it gives a unique insight into Smith’s performance process and the documentation of performance art during the 1970s. As Leffingwell wrote, “Smith influenced a generation of artists from Andy Warhol and Robert Wilson to Mike Kelley.” The photographs are accompanied by a short film by Birgit Hein, Kino 74, 1974 which appeared on German television, recording Smith’s performance in Cologne; the film appears courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery, New York and Brussels.


Gwenn Thomas (b. Rhode Island) graduated from the Cooper Union 1968, and subsequently worked in the studios of Dan Budnik and Hans Namuth. Her photography first appeared in Avalanche in 1973. Her artwork was shown in solo exhibitions at John Weber gallery, Grace Borgenicht Gallery, and at P.S.1. in “The Altered Photograph” (1979), Exile gallery, and was recently featured in an exhibition at Regina Rex. Her work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, CAM, Fundaćčo Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Portugal, Sčo Schlumberger, Paris, and the Julia Stoschek Collection, Düsseldorf. Writers about Thomas include Raphael Rubinstein, David Levi Strauss, and Lilly Wei, among others. She lives and works in New York, NY.


SOUTHFIRST, founded in 2000, is located at 60 North 6th Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn between Wythe and Kent Avenues. Gallery hours are Sat. and Sun. from noon - 6 PM and by appointment. Subway: L train to Bedford Avenue. For more information, please contact the gallery at 718 599 4884 or