Monday, December 31, 2007

Highpretension Is A Disease?

In the aftermath of the recent dust-up over Richard Prince's exhibit at the Guggenheim Museum I found myself at the Whitney Museum, just a few blocks away, viewing, "Danny Lyon: Montage, Film, and Still Photography."

If you're not aware of the controversy over the Prince exhibit you should click the link to the NY Times article about it. In a nutshell, he's copied another photographer's (Jim Krantz's) work as seen in a cigarette ad, enlarged it to mammoth proportion and hung it on the wall of a major museum. His other "appropriations" have sold in galleries for more than $1.5 million each.

I'll tell you: that's really art! No, not the picture on the wall, but being able to copy something and sell it for more than a million dollars, is the art of pretension, and pretension is the currency of the art world.

Anyway, there I was at the Whitney, and Danny Lyon's photography had been a big influence on my photography during my formative years. His art is unpretentious (or so I thought) so seeing his exhibit was a high point of my weekend... until I discovered one of his lesser-known images. It was a very small image, nicely framed, and had one of those little ID tags next to it.

You've seen those tags. They tell you what the title is and then the medium. Typical to see something like "gelatin silver print," a/k/a plain old black and white print. What I saw, the thing that ruined it for me, was: "Internal Dye Diffusion Transfer Print." English translation: SX-70 picture.

I think this is the beginning of a new affliction I'm calling highpretension. And, hey... as soon as I can cultivate a suitable amount of grandiloquence, I'm going to be a millionaire!

Above: Polaroid SX-70 Alpha, 116mm/f8.0 lens, Polaroid SX-70 Instant Film


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