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Wednesday, 02 June 2021

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To each his own, but like Joel-Peter Witkin, both always struck me as if they were trying a little... too hard.

The photographer who delves into the surreal, dark and dark humor best (IMHO) is Les Krims, who has been photographing the surreal (in real life and staged tableaux) since the sixties in B&W and color. I recently learned that, "In 1971 a kid in Tennessee was kidnapped, and the only condition for the boy's return was that a gallery which was exhibiting your work (Krims) take it down." Wow- talk about audience response (quote from a VICE interview)!

The link below displays a small survey of his work- small in more ways than one...
http://www.baudoin-lebon.com/en/artistes/oeuvres/1076/les-krims

I would say "no" on the painter bit. Some of the power of Meatyard's images is derived from the fact that they are photographs, and so have that photographic verisimilitude thing going for them. As paintings they'd just be inventions, and probably have all the deficits of off-market surrealism.

Interesting that Alexander Nemerov is the author. When I think of Meatyard, I also think of Arbus.

I have to comment on Stan B.'s entry here. I don't put Meatyard and JP Witkin in same category, BUT, I always mention Joel-Peter Witkin is a person I should have never gone to see lecture, and just kept looking at the work. For me, Witkin turned from a mysterious photographer working through the horrors of his life, to an art teacher with a lot of "MFA Art Speak", and a persona and work "calculated" to be what it was! Wholly disappointing, and I never looked at his stuff again, and sold the book I had.

The moral of the story here, is the less known about an artist, the better!

For someone that may be interested in a different side of Meatyard's body of work.

https://www.speedmuseum.org/exhibitions/ralph-eugene-meatyards-the-unforeseen-wilderness/

In the vein of Carleton Watkins, Meatyard's photos of Red River George contributed to the preservation of that beautiful Kentucky wilderness from an Army Corps dam project.

I am so glad that DGlos posted that reference to an upcoming Meatyard show of his non-signature work. My earlier comment featured a link to the Meatyard prints in the collection at the Art Institute of Chicago, showing a wider sampling of his work. (The process of "featuring" a comment apparently, and unfortunately, strips-away all links.) But, indeed, a wider-angle view of his photography reveals far more varied eye than the gloomy, spooky "masks and dolls" for which her became known. It looks like....a much more typical advanced amateur eye.

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