The Bloom Box

The artists participating in Aperture Foundation‘s “Photography” exhibition are the top names in the field: Nan Goldin, Ryan McGinley, Terry Richardson, Martin Parr, William Eggleston and Stephen Shore. Terry Richardson was not present at the opening; in fact the only artist I spotted was Stephen Shore’s silver head. Turns out the travelling show, which has already been seen in Milan and Tokyo, was pretty simple to assemble by curator Ken Miller: ask and you shall receive.

Amongst the comments overhead from the young, hip crowd was that the 25-work exhibit looked like an advertisement for cameras. This makes perfect sense since the basis of the show was that these successful photographers were all given Fujifilm (the exhibition sponsor) X series cameras and told to create works with it. The result was what Fujifilm must have anticipatef: a sale-worthy shows that would cater to a lot of tastes and have a lot of people visit.

The works as their own individual series were interesting, and for photo novices it was a sort of paint by numbers encyclopedia introduction to the photographs of these heavyweights. The point of course was that how different artists can visualize their sense of aesthetic with a similar tool, and that’s a beautiful concept: that no matter the vessel the end result has an artists’ recognizable stamp.

Nudes, Flowers, and Mystery

The specific aesthetic of each artist was easily distributed throughout the space. Nan Goldin’s poetic and mysterious pieces were beautiful depictions of underlined unease. In one image an aged man holds an equally aged woman by the breasts in a reflection of a bathroom mirror. Next to them stands a sculpted bust of a similar pose. The simplicity of the contrast, the imperfect real figures compared to the unnaturally created perfect copies, of the real and the surreal, the living and inanimate, was a subtle self-reflection. In another image a blurry female form is reflected in a dark moving window. The sentimental romantic in me couldn’t help but imagine the identity of the person behind the glass, their destination and their thoughts.


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