Upload & Sell: Off
| p.2 #16 · Top Five Most Expensive Photographs Ever Sold |
It's always been clear that you can't separate art, artist and value. Art is always judged within the context of the artist - individual works are regarded as part of the wider portfolio of the artist. This can contribute to both monetary as well as "artistic" value (an individual piece may not stand well individually, but be important or significant with respect to the wider portfolio of the artist). This does sort of annoy me, as it means that obvious tat can have inappropriate value attached to it - say Andy Warhol sneezed on a piece of canvas and tried to sell it: Subtle meanings and social commentaries would be attached and the piece would be worth more than most of us earn in a year, despite just being a sneeze on a canvas. But that is how it is - people do strive to find meaning where there maybe none.
I, too, find these particular photos either non-impressive or worse; but that goes for much "art", too. Consider those modern-art squares of (nearly) pure black : they're in museums, which might have underground halls painted black by unnamed contractors, yet who'd go just put a frame up against such a wall, slap on an artist label with some clever title ("Untitled #19" scales well :-), and see that as an artistic equal?!
Among a local photo show's prints that I was appalled by are these by Jordan Swartz:
and esp. this
(the displayed copy had a blond wood frame that in fact intruded over the image, hiding a lamp head!).
(His 3rd of a trio was a soft-focus, night shot of evergreens silhouette, akin to the Steichen one shown above (which, frankly, I could see being used as an example of things gone wrong in low-light photography).)
Now, on the positive-experience side, I recently saw (twice, and might return again) an exhibit of Andrew Moore's "Detroit Revisited" --huge prints (many 6x5' roughly). These also look good, though, in the book of the same title (with more images ($50ish)) --if ya like this sort of thing.
As for Gursky's compositional skill arranging those colors & lines : I think that far-lower-paid stock clerks should get much of the credit for that, and otherwise, I don't find that all so impressive. I do like the image of this consumerism, mind you; I just really don't see it as of such grand value to be so celebrated, let alone super-priced. Ditto for the riverside Gursky : nice lines and textures, balance, etc., ; but not THAT good!
It would be fun and I think edifying to do some "taste testing" of the great & not-so-great art works without names attached, or with bogus names attached --to see if mere, typographical "Gursky" brought out reactions not otherwise seen when presented as "Ethel Johnson", and so on.
And I couldn't help but think that someone was having a good laugh (from Above) on seeing the museum showing of bizarre imagery with even more bizarre titles, in a Joan Miro exhibit --to wit: "Woman Stabbed by the Sun Reciting Rocket Poems In The Geometrical Shapes Of The Musical Bat Spittle Fight Of The Sea,"