BOOK REVIEWS FROM A CURIOUS MIND: I read a lot. Books and the data/stories contained within them are my oldest friends. My wife suggested in her wisdom that I should write up short summaries/observations on the books I've been reading, since people might be interested, so I did. 5+ years running. Comments are welcome, and if you dig the reviews, please share with other fellow readers.
Do you like it weird? I like it weird. Witkin always delivers.
Joel-Peter: A Retrospective – Joel-Peter Witkin (1995)
I own two copies of the first Witkin
book I ever saw, Gods of Earth & Heaven.One copy is a first edition with some slight water damage, and the other
is a second edition, signed by the artist.Awesome.They scare the shit out
of people.This book collects over 100
images from a twenty year period.It is
a catalog from a retrospective of Witkin’s work held at the Guggenheim
Museum.Oh shit what I would give to
travel back in time and see that show!Amazing.
I love Witkin’s work.It is truly profound, while being complete
artifice.It is total ART.It is not for everyone.My wife will not really look at it, and I
keep the books away from my mom.In
every aspect, Witkin’s work lies at the extreme of what photograph can
convey.As Mr. Witkin has said himself,
“when people see my work, there is no ‘grey area’ of response.What they experience is either love or hate.”
There is such a fine line between Love and Hate.
I think most artists would kill for
strong reactions such as these.I would
love to take his books back in time to the Victorian Era, or some other highly
refined bullshit era, and see what they would think. My guess is that, in times
when culture is highly refined, regimented, and ornate, those very same people
secretly long for the ugly, the profane, the disfigured and the grotesque.
When the world seems too sanitized,
when art and music and entertainment is so dumbed-down, so focused on the
lowest-common-denominator, it is art that pushes everyone’s boundaries that
becomes much more important.