Monday, August 06, 2007

You Walk to the Big Park, Then Turn Left

On Friday evening, we went to the Met.

I really enjoyed Poiret: King of Fashion, but didn't get much out of Hidden in Plain Sight: Contemporary Photographs from the Collection.

Why didn't I like the photography exhibition? Well, after some thought, I believe it's because it consisted of completely literal work presented as conceptual art. The museum makes this claim for the show:

"Often deliberately understated in style, these photographs are filled with everyday epiphanies. They capture the unexpected beauty of found still lifes and modest interventions in the landscape, inviting us to look more closely at the world around us."
A while back, a friend taught me about titles and captions: if they are the least bit redundant, they're wrong. That is, if the caption says the same thing as the photograph, you don't need it. If it gives new information, or better yet deepens the meaning of the work, then it's fine. And that's the problem with this show: "Sand on Table" is a photograph of sand, on a table.

2 comments:

clickykbd said...

I'd have to agree, at least in viewing the selection online. Although I enjoyed "Constructed Universe" and "India" for the cleverness.

Ted Fisher said...

Good points. I don't mean any critique of the individual artists or photos -- they are obviously all significant and interesting works.

I do think museum claims are always fair ground for critique, though. That is, if someone shows me any one photo, I might like it or not. But when a museum does a themed show, there seems to be an unfortunate tendency to overpromise....

I ended up enoying the experience of seeing the works, which I typically do, but feeling disappointed about the show.

tf