No title, c. 1963. Ink, watercolor, gouache, and crayon on paper. Collection of the Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, Ohio.
01-26 Location. 1800 Leonidas Street (Carrollton) Date(s). July 14, 2009 7:55 a.m. Name(s). Brian Christopher Smith (22) Notes. Face up with multiple gunshot wounds, from the Tooth for an Eye series, 2008-2012. Gelatin silver print. Collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
I spent a lot of time last summer at SAAM’s Democracy of Image exhibition, and this was probably my favorite piece in it. I spent a lot of time looking at it in the dimly lit Granite Gallery, enjoying my last few minutes of my lunch break. At first, it seems like a straight forward image, despite the unusual round frame, with its clean lines pulled taught, cutting across the image. But what you are also looking at what is probably the last thing somebody saw before he died. It’s eerie, elegiac, even monumental in its simplicity.
On one of these visits, I heard a young couple walk by and sneer loudly about how ridiculous it was that somebody had taken a photo of power lines and called it art. It struck me hard. It felt like they were not only dismissing the art, but the whole life and untimely, violent death of Brian Christopher Smith, whoever he may have been. It was crass, even cruel. All it took to understand this piece on its most cursory level was to read the title.
Not sure what you’re referencing but we’d like to take this moment to highlight Coco Fusco’s brilliant read of the Woolford project here.
Don’t make assumptions about what we know and don’t know. Thanks for following!
Update to the whole Biennial/Donelle Woolford/Joe Scanlan affair: Joe Scanlan was recently revealed to be a fictitious creation by the artist Ryan Wong.
This certainly makes the debate more interesting (convoluted? scary?).
Sam Francis, Composition: Yellow and Red, 1956. Watercolor and gouache on paper. Bechtler Museum of Modern Art.
Alan Shields, Tunnels of Amagination for Vicki, 1987. Watercolor with stitching on handmade paper.
Elaine de Kooning, Spring, 1965. Watercolor and gouache on paper.
Nanha (India), The Emperor Shah Jahan with his Son Dara Shikoh, folio from the Shah Jahan Album, c. 1620. Ink, opaque watercolor, and gold on paper. Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. [zoomable image]
Poke in the Eye, 1997
False Color Image #1 (Exploding Star/Acute Schizophrenia), 2000