Exhibit Information

Metropolitan Museum of Art

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AFTER THE GOLD RUSH:

Opening: 22 MARCH 2011 - Closing: 2 JANUARY 2012

AFTER THE GOLD RUSH:

Contemporary Photographs from the Collection

 

 

This installation of only 25 photographs in a very large gallery can be partially-explained by the fact that some of them are unduly-enlarged.

 

Indeed, one immense Light-Box-Photo—showing some young people on a hillock, under a modern Concrete-Bridge—takes up a Lot of Space…

 

Enlarging otherwise Banal-Images can make them seem More-Important.

 

On first seeing this TitleAfter the Gold Rush—one might immediately think that this Photo-Show might provide Early-Photographic-Images of Life in California, Post-1849.

 

But NO!

 

The Gold-Rush refers to that Golden-Erabefore the Sub-Prime Housing-Bubble Crash—when Rich-People & Corporations were falling all over each other to purchase Big-Name Art-Works. Including Photographs!

 

But let the Met Press-Officers explain their adoption of the Term—with some Editorial-Improvements:

 

"The Exhibition’s Title, After the Gold Rush, is taken from a Classic 1970 Song by Neil Young, whose verses contrast a Romanticized-Past with a Present of Squandered-Plenty & an Uncertain-Future.”

 

This exhibition features 25 photographs—dating from 1979 to the present—by 15 Contemporary-Artists.

 

"Inspired by the recent Political & Economic-Upheavals in America & Abroad, this selection juxtaposes new photographs, that take the Long-View of  the World’s Current-Condition, with Prescient-Works from the 1980s & 1990s that remain startlingly Relevant today.”

 

This is the first occasion for the Museum—which needed a Thematic-Peg on which to hang the show—to present recently-acquired works by: Gretchen  Bender, James Casebere, Moyra Davey, Katy Grannan, Hans Haacke, An-My Lê, Curtis Mann, Trevor Paglen, & Wolfgang Tillmans.

 

Also featured are photographs by: Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Robert Gober, Adrian Piper, Laurie Simmons, Jeff Wall, & Christopher Williams.

 

"After the Gold Rush begins with Hans Haacke’s Thank You, Paine Webber [1979]—the first work by this Legendary-Provocateur of Conceptual-Art to enter the Metropolitan’s collection.

 

"Haacke’s biting Photo-Diptych is so pertinent to the recent Economic-Downturn that it seems as if it could have been made yesterday.

 

"In this work, the artist appropriated images from the Investment-Firm’s Annual-Report to convey his view that Big-Business provides a Veneer of Social-Concern to mask the Brutal-Effects of the Risk-Management they offer their Clients.

 

"Other works in After the Gold Rush use varying-degrees of Artifice & Photographic-Realism to reflect on Marginalized & Repressed-Voices.

 

"Measuring over 14-feet-long & presented as a Backlit-Transparency in a Light-Box, The Storyteller [1986] is Jeff Wall’s Signature-Image & is typical of his Method.

 

"Working from Memory, the Artist uses Non-Professional-Actors & Real-Locations to meticulously restage [Split-Infinitive!] a Scene of Urban-Blight that he witnessed in his Native-Vancouver.

 

"Wall plays this Photographic-Verisimilitude against Compositions & Figural-Poses indebted to French-Painters such as Gustave Courbet, Edouard Manet, & Georges Seurat.

 

"A comparison of Wall’s Storyteller with Courbet’s Young Ladies of the Village [1852], on-view in the Museum’s Galleries for 19th & Early 20th-Century European Paintings & Sculpture, reveals Parallels: in both, a Keenly-Observed-Moment of Telling-Social-Interaction [is] taking place on a Sloping-Landscape.

 

"Each Artist has combined a Daringly-Modern-Subject with references to earlier Art.

 

"Philip-Lorca diCorcia is another Key-Figure in the development of Staged-Photography.

 

"In  the early 1990s, the Artist created a series of works in response to the Political-Attacks on Gays & Federal-Funding of the Arts in the U.S.”

 

[These two items seem an Odd-Linkage?]

 

"DiCorcia hired Male-Hustlers to pose for their Portraits out on the streets—& paid them with Grant-Money he received from the National Endowment for the Arts.”

 

Actually, from the Photos on-view, some of these scrawny young men are sitting in the back-seat of DiCorcia’s automobile. Not out on the streets

 

Certainly some GOP Congressmen would be Outraged to discover how these Elitist-Arts-Grants are really being used!

 

One hopes that DiCorcia didn’t catch any diseases from his Hired-Hustlers.

 

"At the same moment, a wide swath of Women-Artists addressed Issues of Sexism & Racism: examples of this Politically-Pointed-Art are represented by Laurie Simmons’ Walking Gun [1991]—a Spotlighted-Puppet of Doll-Legs & a Revolver that seems capable of turning on its Master at a Moment’s-Notice.”

 

Then, there is also: "Adrian Piper’s 1992 work Decide Who You Are #24 (A Moving Target), which includes a Childhood-Image of Anita Hill, as part of a Blistering-Meditation in Word & Image on Racial-Politics.”

 

Perhaps the Artist—or whoever wrote the comment above—forgot that Anita Hill was targeted by Supporters of the Nomination of Clarence Thomas, a Fellow-African-American, to the Supreme-Court?

 

In essence, this Confrontation was about White-Liberals against a Black-Man.

 

Who may have happened to be Less-Well-Qualified than some Well-Connected-White-Jurists?

 

With Anita Hill, Black was being pitted against Black. But, true enough, largely by Whites…

 

But what could be more After various Gold-Rushes than a wall filled with Lincoln-Penny-Portraits?

 

All of them—in various states of Survival or Oxidation—presumably Found by the Artist-Photographer!

 

The Museum’s info-packed Press-Release continues, but the [Enhanced] Citations above give the Flavor

 

Your Roving Arts-Reporter is here developing a New-Art-Form—somewhat related to the Fashionable-Art-Practice of Appropriation, more often used in relation to borrowing & building-upon someone else’s Photos or Images

 

Here, we are working with Words, Words, Words… Also with Overworked or Overwrought-Phrases & Clichés!

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