As part of my Photo Journalism class, I visited Diane Arbus and Kerry James exhibitions at the Met Breur and as advised by Susan Landgraf, my professor, I decided to wrote about my experience today.
At first, during the visit, I felt no connections during the two exhibitions. Diane Arbus being a photographer with the desire to represents through her photographs what the world do not see unless she photographs it, mostly in New-York City, during the 50′s. Kerry James being a painter artist, inspired by his own experiences and mostly by the Black Power and Civil Right Movement, between Chicago and Los Angeles, with his vision of American society racial stereotypes, during the 80′s.
After thinking about it, I have the feeling, that both artists invites us, through their art, into a form a public intimacy. Each in their own way.
Diane Arbus created this mostly with the persons that she photographs, children, eccentrics, couples and circus performances, Fifth Avenue pedestrians. By seeing her pictures, I felt that I was experiencing a unhealthy curiosity, I shouldn’t be looking at this, but I am because what is not like me interest me. It actually made me think of the Nan Golding The Ballad of Sexual Dependency exhibition at the MoMa, I felt this same fascinating culpability. Moreover, the exhibition spaces emphasizes this; with the almost maze architecture of the room the public is thrown into a secret discovery atmosphere.
Kerry James Marshall creates this public intimacy atmosphere through the colors of his paintings, very opaque and using the same color in singular painting, but with different shades. Which makes his paintings totally black or totally red when you look at it at first. Indeed, you have to lean very close on the painting to see it clearly. And it gave this same feeling of indiscretion and curiosity. I also felt this through the look of his paintings characters.
Globally, I think that both artists are inviting us to a world that we are not able to discover through our every life, they are inviting us further, to present an aspect of the society that we only know superficially, a public intimacy. I highly suggest those two exhibitions and I’ll be happy to know your opinions on it!