Garry Winogrand is getting the full treatment at the Met, with an exhibition of previously unprinted images. Regardless of the controversy about that (what was the artist’s intention?), his work has all the freshness, immediacy, sadness, and irreverence it ever had.
What a way to see New York in the 50s through the 70s. How did he get those shots? Did he zoom from a distance? He has a right-fhereness sensibility. He puts us on the scene.
What do you make of this image? Of course, this is one of his more provocative works. I’m immediately reminded of Karen Joy Fowler’s remarkable sibling novel We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. But that’s not how most have seen it. The wall text argues that because the man was a famous animal handler, this is more an image of love than miscegenation.
I find this image more disturbing. Winogrand refuses to discuss the content of his images, saying this one is about light. Boy, is it! Look at how the light tells this particular story. How do you interpret the boy’s thoughts and experience?
Of course, Winogrand is wry and funny, too. I liked the implied commentary in this image of my Dallas hometown. I couldn’t agree more, on every level.
Some images are just beautiful…
…many are wistful
The way the Jeff Koons exhibit at the Whitney mesmerized me was a surprise. They’ve given the whole building over to him, the swan song show for their Upper East Side location. Well, I gave it 15 minutes, which is all the fame I think he deserves.
What fascinated me was the number of children, little children, there. You don’t see children at most exhibits, none at the Winogrand show. An unknowing visitor could think you were at a children’s museum.
Here, the children responded with unrestrained glee at the Koons oversized toys and balloons, while the uber-sophisticates were trying to make his readymades into high art. I put my Winogrand lens on and started taking images of the people.
Koons gets the last laugh. His balloon antiquities, like this riff on the Venus of Willendorf, and over-sized pop icons sell for millions, even if the only people who seem to really enjoy them are the very young.
The best moment? “Let’s go look at the train, Grandma!” That’s how I think Koons will live into posterity!
Such a serious young man.
The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) Biennial–yes, they are doing one, too–comes out of the same sensibility as Koons. Appropriation, twists on the readymades. But even in this jumble of a show, there’s more inventiveness, wonder, and genuine delight.
I couldn’t move from the Noa Zilberman video where the woman was applying wrinkles that were strands of gold.
Like Koons, many of the artists play with materials. Todd Pavlisko uses retail tag fasteners to create his huge portrait of Richard Pryor. Can you make out the texture?
I’m partial to MAD chairs. Every exhibit has them. Here are three I really liked this time.
The terrarium room is mesmerizing. I felt like I was underwater, swaying with the rhythm you may hear in this video.