Thursday, August 13, 2009
Pride, Power and Punch Lines
J'Lea and I went to the Richard Avedon show at the ICP. Getting there from the MOMA was not the hop, skip, and jump it normally would be, though.
We swam through a crowd attending the Dominican Pride Parade surging down the Avenue of the Americas. It was pretty intense. Dudes in the street flexing shirtless for very enthusiastic girls in the crowd. Dancers on makeshift floats. Pumping music, much cheering.
It went right by the door of the ICP. I actually loved looking at the show inside with the cheering crowd and obscenely loud beats. The upbeat fashion photos received new life.
It was a creepy coincidence that a dozen or so of a specific series of Avedon's photos were there while Ensor showed at the MOMA nearby. J'Lea tells me that in Avedon's series in which a model poses with a skeleton the boney fellow has been speculated to be a stand-in for Avedon himself. This is when he was well aware of being ill and probably had mortality on his mind. Ensor depicts a lot of skeletons, too. Both he and Avedon have a penchant for images that are powerful despite (or maybe because of) their overt absurdity. Ensor particularly reads like a timeless joke with the resonance of a Proverb. It seems like the skeletons (especially in pieces like "Two Skeletons Fighting Over a Pickled Herring" or "Skeleton Drawing Fine Pranks") act as a slightly self-deprecating stand-in for him as well. Morbid and ridiculous. What an efficient way to sum up living.