Gary Winogrand, Color Photography and The Projectors / by Peter Levitan

Screen Shot 2019-05-20 at 6.28.11 PM.png

Ah, The Projectors. Nice To Get Past Photography Show Installation Sameness.

I am heading to New York in a couple of weeks and am excited to see the new Gary Winogrand show at the Brooklyn Museum. I stress new because the show includes a series of rarely seen color work.

And, since I show my work on LCD projectors (and soon video monitors), I am looking forward to seeing the installation, which includes a large room full of ceiling-mounted LCD projectors.

Using projectors is a rather smart idea for this show given that projectors and Kodachrome (Gary’s film) are like peanut butter and jelly. I am expecting a big “WOW”.

That the Gods of photography at the Brooklyn Museum have gotten past showing even more matted and framed prints is a nice thing. Much of the time, the sameness of photography exhibitions aims the work squarely at boring. Sure, a ‘framed’ show shows the work, and framed isolation is a direct way for the viewer to see the photographs up close and personal. However, too many shows follow the same been-there-done-that pattern.

Photo Show = white room + eye-level prints + black frames + quiet.

No, not every photo show uses this format. But, it is like, um, easily 90% of the installations. A current New York photography show that will demonstrate the art of sameness is the concurrent Mapplethorpe show at the Guggenheim. I do realize that since the work is old and was printed by Maplethorpe, or under his direction, prints-in-black-frames is the way to go this time. That said, beyond the power of the work, how it is presented is kinda… meh. I can understand that the tried and true works for older photography.

Why repeat this format for fresh photographs?

Alex Martinis Roe “To Become Two” at ar/ge kunst

Alex Martinis Roe “To Become Two” at ar/ge kunst

For comparison, shows of video work, which by nature, are often shown on TV’s and TV monitors (old and new) have always strived to add an element of 3D surprise. Peruse how galleries show the video work of Nam June Paik and Alex Martinis Roe to see what I mean.

I see no reason why today’s photographers cannot go kinetic as well. Possibly, it is because the majority of photographers do not think hard about the exhibition experience – an end game -  or are so wrapped up in Instagram that once an image is shot and posted, it is time to move on.

Thanks to The Phoblographer for the review of the Winogrand show.

Also a big thank you to the curators – who are too often way behind the scenes:

Garry Winogrand: Color is curated by Drew Sawyer, Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Curator of Photography, Brooklyn Museum, with Michael Almereyda and Susan Kismari.