Thursday, August 19, 2010

Celebrating the Chainsaw

Sugimoto by Brown

One more show to point out before I take a real summer break. It’s a show I saw in Los Angeles a few weeks ago and was incredibly impressed with. And it’s up until the end of the month.

Showing at the Robert Berman gallery in Santa Monica, it’s the work of Hugh Brown – an artist, and as you’ll see an obsessive chainsaw collector and aficionado. The show is comprised entirely of Brown’s appropriation of famous artworks into which Brown has inserted a variety of chainsaw references from the obvious to the subtle.

So we have Brown’s version of photographs by such heavy hitters as Diane Arbus, Harold Edgerton, Walker Evans, and Robert Mapplethorpe and painters like Matisse, Ed Ruscha, Jackson Pollack and dozens more. The works are so convincing that many mistook them for authentic pieces when shown last year at the California State University Fullerton Grand Central Art Center.

While the images stand on their own, there is humor and wit and intelligence behind every image. Take Brown’s Hiroshi Sugimoto piece entitled “Vista Theater (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2)”. For this image Brown rented out the theatre and used a large format camera and an extremely long exposure to capture the entire film, just as Sugimoto did in his photographs of old American movie palaces and drive-ins.

A photographer, printmaker and assemblage artist for over 35 years, Brown has exhibited widely on the west coast, but claims his standout achievement was his prize in the “Design a Chair for Barbie” competition – not because of the second place finish but because the entry caused a fist fight amongst the judges!

Ruscha by Brown

Hockney by Brown

Arbus by Brown

Edgerton by Brown

Monday, August 16, 2010

More Video

As you may have noticed, I'm on something of a summer hiatus, but I'll try to post a few things from my summer break. In the meantime, this Canadian ad takes full advantage of high-def slow-motion.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Weekend Video

Sent to me by Jim Krantz, the highly talented photographer who is one of the original Marlboro photographers (and much of whose work was borrowed by Richard Prince). This ad promoting the launch of the Polaroid SX-70 reminds us of one of those magical moments when it seemed like the future had arrived and it was all good. What's particularly surprising is the degree to which the history and art of photography is referenced. And while photography is much more appreciated, studied, and written about today - it's highly unlikely that a digital camera would be promoted in this way.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


An anonymous but knowledgeable tipster points out that in lighter prints of the Bill Dane image, Garry Winogrand can be seen in the background.

This can be verified by looking at the clearly recognizable figure on the right in the variant image below.

Bill Dane

Also seen at the "Exposed" exhibition at the Tate Modern, this late 70s/early 80s picture by Bill Dane seems every bit as good as the picture it reminds me of, "Satiric Dancer" by Andre Kertesz.

Satiric Dancer by Andre Kertesz. 1927.