Wednesday, August 3, 2011

marfa and repetition

The Chinati Foundation's museum at Marfa is all about repetition - from the identical forms of the old army barracks that house it, to the hundred shiny similar-but-different Donald Judd steel cubes, to

the variations on color produced by Dan Flavin's fluorescent tubes, to Ing√≥lfur Arnarrson's 36 graphite drawings (so pale that they're almost white) drawings mounted on white walls, to Carl Andre's poems - many of them blocks of words making spatial designs on paper - I'd never thought of language pared down like bricks before, but it worked.   It's therefore very easy to take seductive pictures.

The trouble is - doing this enshrines the whole idea of repetition.   My pictures, doubtless, although they'll function fine as an aide memoire, will be just like everyone else's pictures.

So I found myself stalking the other eight people on the tour (ten, if you include two very small children), in order to make some more interesting images ...

or rather, images that weren't wholly dependent on the artist who should be credited with creating them ...

and that juxtaposed the idea of a photographic moment against the contemplative stillness of the art itself.

Alternatively, I could just go round into the carpark and hunt down examples of Texan vernacular visual culture.

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