Avedon vs Frank vs Adams

I hit the jackpot st SFMoma and was able to see the three back to back, floor to floor. I totally fell for Robert Frank and the fact that The huge pieces, maybe 4×6 feet, by Avedon had less in them than the tiny by comparison Frank photographs. Yes, frank and honest and authentic, grainy, rainy, oppressive and grim – Robert Frank’s pieces were a crime back in the sugary 50s and still zap you today.

“Quality doesn’t mean deep blacks and whatever tonal range. That’s not quality, that’s a kind of quality. The pictures of Robert Frank might strike someone as being sloppy – the tone range isn’t right and things like that – but they’re far superior to the pictures of Ansel Adams with regard to quality, because the quality of Ansel Adams, if I may say so, is essentially the quality of a postcard. But the quality of Robert Frank is a quality that has something to do with what he’s doing, what his mind is. It’s not balancing out the sky to the sand and so forth. It’s got to do with intention.” (Elliott Erwitt)

photograph of a Cafe in Beaufort, South Carolina
from Robert Frank's book The Americans - photograph of a Cafe in Beaufort, South Carolin. Image stolen from Google.

The think in pictures blog mentions that Jack Kerouac wrote in the introduction of The Americans that “after seeing these pictures you end up finally not knowing any more whether a jukebox is sadder than a coffin.”

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Sleep of reason

“The Sleep of Reason” – a piece by Sui Gian Guo at SFMoma, all made with plastic toy dinosaurs and a plastic Mao, sleeping in the middle of the sea of dinosaurs.  What I appreciated in this piece is its honesty and irreverent title  – I always appreciate others doing the kind of things I struggle with, like colored plastic and ideology. This work was inspired by an original painting by Goya, titled “The sleep of reason produces monsters”… In the same line of reflection was the movie Goya’s ghosts directed by Milos Forman, who also directed Amadeus.

Sui Jian Guo: The Sleep of Reason

Sui Jian Guo: The Sleep of Reason
Sui Jian Guo: The Sleep of Reason. Image borrowed from a blog.
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