BRANCUSI’S PLACE

Brancusi: Torso of a Young Girl, 1922 Brandcusi How much is enough? How much too little? By all accounts, Constantin Brancusi (1876-1957), soon to be repackaged as a protominimalist, did not produce much art compared to, let's say, Picasso. Thirty-five Brancusi sculptures are now at the Guggenheim under the title "Constantin Brancusi: The Essence of Things" (1071 Fifth Ave. at 89th St., through Sept. 19). On the grounds that an artist is the sum of everything that has been written about him or … [Read more...]

NOGUCHI REBORN

Isamu Noguchi: Interior Courtyard, Noguchi Musuem I took the press-preview bus to the newly renovated Noguchi Museum in Queens (32-37 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City), and this is my report.  If you haven't read last week's little essay, please scroll down and read it now, because it sets up the themes that will now prevail: restoration, memory and  presentation. Note too that the photo above took me hours to choose. Is it too glamorous? Not  glamorous enough? Should I have used a close-up of … [Read more...]

PHOTOGRAPHING NOGUCHI

Exterior Noguchi Museum (Detail), 2004. Photo: J.Perreault I prefer to take my own pictures. It helps me get closer to (or further away from) the art. Sometimes with my digital I take dozens of images, more than I can use and more than necessary to cover the shot. Is this a way of making notes? The camera accomplishes several other things. The man with a camera is off-bounds, thus ensuring both visibility (you don't want to bump into the photographer) and privacy (you don't want to talk to him … [Read more...]

DORA MAAR: MUSE OR PHOTOGRAPHER?

AgainstPhotography Dora Marr, Blind Beggar, 1934 Why have I written so little about photography? Possibly because, unlike in other areas, my taste is quite narrow. I obviously like Weegee; Diane Arbus is another star in my book; and John Coplans, if he really was a photographer. He certainly wasn't a photographer in the same sense that Weegee and Arbus were, but more in the category confirmed by Cindy Sherman's identity photography. I say "confirmed" because even Sherman has predecessors -- … [Read more...]

JOHN COPLANS: COPING WITH THE VOID

John Coplans: Self-Portrait (Feet, Frontal), 1984 The Body Politic Oddly enough, one of the best essays written about Weegee, last week's subject, is by John Coplans (1920 - 2003), this week's subject. His essay, titled "Weegee the Famous," is in Weegee's New York (Schirmer/Mosel, 1982). He erred, I feel, on the side of attributing too much naiveté to that artist's brutal vision. But this is how cults are born: No other art form rivals photography's capacity to be meaningless, to topple into a … [Read more...]