March 20, 2012
Eleanor Antin’s work is kind of surreal, probably because it takes scenes out of their context and plops them in a modern day complex. The photographs look like paused movie screens. I disagree with her assertion that America is a colonial power when it never really had that many colonies, especially compared to Britain. America was too isolationist for too long…but I digress…The fact that she has a persona reminds me of David Bowie and his character Ziggy Stardust. I question if she gets a little lost in her character as Bowie did in his. I admire her passion and commitment though.
So David LaChappelle is straight up my new favorite person. He creates such accessible pieces that can also be read more deeply. I’m a firm believer that art doesn’t just have to be for intellectuals. Pop art is my favorite kind of art because of its layers. I’m all for making art and other aspects of culture accessible to the masses, which pop art does, but I also like that it provides a commentary on mass culture if you look more deeply. The “Rape of Africa” piece definitely is an example of this layered work. The every-man can point out bright colors and pop culture symbols while the intellectual can determine exactly what he’s commenting on using their knowledge of African history. (I also like how he’s such an awkward public speaker. I can relate.)
The Vanessa Beecroft pantyhose piece was really striking. I have to say, I still don’t get why they were wearing pantyhose. What I found most striking was the confidence of the girls in the project. It takes a lot of courage to be able to stand nude in front of countless visitors to a gallery. It’s one thing to do it for a little while for a few people, but for such a huge audience for so long…that’s really vulnerable. It’s crazy how a photograph or painting of a group of nude women wouldn’t have the same impact as being in the room with the women. Bodies are certainly powerful.