The Contemporary Art Blog

Selection of my favourite art works and other musings.

8 notes

ianaitch:

Crematorium [1996] by Damien Hirst.

a disproportionately  large ashtray filled with cigarette butts and ash, can be seen as a contemporary memento mori, a reminder of the inevitability of death.

ianaitch:

Crematorium [1996] by Damien Hirst.

a disproportionately  large ashtray filled with cigarette butts and ash, can be seen as a contemporary memento mori, a reminder of the inevitability of death.

9 notes

robechlin:

The Recently Discovered Photographs of Vivian Maier

While it is not unprecedented for artists to go unrecognized in their lifetime and only receive attention and praise posthumously, Vivian Maier’s case is unique. The French women immigrated to the U.S. and worked most of her life as an unknown nanny in Chicago. It wasn’t until local historian John Maloof purchased a box of Maier’s negatives from a Chicago auction house and began collecting and championing her marvelous work just a few years ago that any of it saw the light of day. Maloof now owns more than 100,000 of her negatives (most were still undeveloped and still on the roll when purchased). It is incredibly rare to find this level of talent in someone with no formal training and no network of peers. While we can wonder what her thoughts were about her photography, we do know she was aware of art photography and owned a number of books on Bernice Abbott, Brassai, Stieglitz and others. Her place in the canon of art history is being discussed currently. Maier, who never married and seems to have had few friends, recorded life as it passed her by, but she also portrayed herself planted in its midst, pursuing her passion.

Her body of work is almost unclassifiable since it was so broad and diverse. Her street photography of everyday life instantly reminds me of Diane Arbus, Lee Miller, Helen Levitt, Garry Winogrand, or Weegee, Robert Frank and Richard Avedon - her work veers towards the themes of many of these artists, but never stays constant. It’s subtle, soft, and humanist at its core.

Having been discovered after her death some important questions remain. Her place in the canon of art history is surely due, exhibitions at major institutions such as Tate Modern and the MoMa are being pursued. Was it that she was apprehensive about the reception of her images being a woman photographer? Who will and should profit from them? 

On a trip to New York City next week, I’ll definitely be checking out the Vivian Maier exhibition on at Steven Kasher Gallery (521 W 23rd St.). Above are an extremely small sampling of some of Vivian Maier’s work.

Filed under Vivian Maier Maier Street Photography