Sunday, August 27, 2006
What I Saw on the Walls
This weekend's viewing included visits to the International Center of Photography, the Neue Galerie and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Weegee's street photography (showcased in ICP's Unknown Weegee) is fantastic, but presents a curatorial dilemma every time it is shown. Weegee's body of work is large and uneven. Do you trim a show down to the absolute gems, and lose the sense of the day-to-day Weegee, grinding out photos for cash, or do you show the less-fantastic images to tell the full story -- and thus leave Weegee's reputation suffering in comparison to photographers we only know from their best images?
Gustav Klimt's Adele Bloch-Bauer I -- now known as "the most expensive painting in the world" -- has made the Upper East Side's Neue Galerie a very crowded place this summer. It's a case study in how different an object can be from its photographic reproduction. Spend time with this painting in a book or on a computer screen, and then see it in person for two minutes... and decide for yourself.
It's the third time I've seen the Met's On Photography: A Tribute to Susan Sontag. It's an excellent show that works as a collection of images, and as a way to consider the nature of photography -- and whether it functions differently than any other art.
Above: an image from my street photography portfolio Waiting for the April Fool's Parade (copyright 2006 Ted Fisher).