Friday, November 06, 2009

Avedon at SFMOMA

Bi-badonThis afternoon I was at the SFMOMA, primarily to see the extensive Richard Avedon show. The galleries were surprisingly crowded. At least 2 separate tours were going through. The images are so well-known that there are few surprises, though many of the prints are large & even wall-sized. Many of my favorite portraits are here, such as those of Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe & Truman Capote. I found the vibrant picture of Janis Joplin to be very sad, even though she is smiling in it. Also sad is a Botticelli-like portrait of Lorraine Hunt-Lieberson taken in 2003. Avedon’s most successful portraits have this feeling of fleetingness, as if the subject must have looked quite different just before & just after the picture was captured.

I also took a quick look around the other floors. I was entertained on the 2nd floor by Alex Schweder’s A Sac of Rooms All Day Long, which is a life-size house made of clear vinyl which slowly inflates & deflates. In the 3rd floor photography gallery I found Martin Parr’s hilarious British Food, a 6 x 4 matrix of garish color snapshots of cuppas, cakes, beans, mushy peas & other stuff unidentifiable to me. In the tiny 2nd floor Paul Klee gallery, there is a nicely curated selection of satiric prints by Klee, Kirchner, Beckmann & Kollwitz.

Oh, & crossing the walkway to the rooftop garden, one can find Waldo.

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