Sunday, 8 December 2013

Photorealism - Birmingham Museum

John Salt, White Chevy - Red Trailer, 1975
Photorealism is at Birmingham Museum until 30 March 2014.
Guilty pleasures: I know that photorealism has been unfashionable pretty well from its origins in America in the late 1960s, that its artists tend to be unhealthily pre-occupied with a narrow range of arguably clichéd and sometimes kitsch motifs: cars, motorbikes, diners, food, shiny things and, in the case of John Kacere, a lifetime's dedication to painting women's bottoms and crotches. Perhaps the only honourable exception to this relentless celebration of banality is Chuck Close who has tirelessly and inventively explored the representation of the human face in ways which are interesting both as overpoweringly intense portraits and as quasi-abstract paintings. But, but ... I rather like this stuff!
Read a (generally negative) review by Alastair Smart, and listen to a (generally sceptical) discussion on Radio 4's Saturday Review (starts at 35mins).
Ralph Goings, America's Favorite, 1989
Robert Bechtle, Alameda Chrysler, 1981
Richard Estes, Telephone Booths, 1967
John Kacere, Serina '72, 1972
Audrey Flack,  Shiva, 1972-3
Rod Penner, 212 / House with Snow, 1997-8
Raphaella Spence, Vegas, 2011
Chuck Close,  Self Portrait, 1977

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