Friday, January 25, 2013

pale grid (or: an antithesis to Gregory Crewdson)

Yes, it's Rafael's yellow strands of Penetrable again at LACMA, tied up for the evening, and then mangled by me into pale straw and sunlight.  I passed it on the way to the documentary about Gregory Crewdson, Brief Encounters (followed by a conversation on stage between Crewdson himself, and the film's maker, Ben Shapiro, and Jonathan Lethem).  My response to Crewdson's work - certainly the Beneath the Roses series, which the film is about - is very complex: I react against it in the same way that I react against over-produced music, yet at the same time I love, absolutely love teaching it when I talk about photography and narrative.  And although the conversation went down some predictable lines (photography as being melancholic, elegiac, full of people who, if they aren't dead yet, will be), I really appreciate the fact that it doesn't just look backwards, but forwards.  His images pivot on the moment that's between causation and result; they look forwards as much as they invite one to think what happened before the instant depicted.  And of course, what the film showed supremely well was all the construction of artifice, whether he was using actual depressed small town America, or deliberately concocted one off sets.  Only at the very end did it touch on Crewdson's own what-next, the Cinecitta series (which I like for their rather predictable melancholy and emptiness), and it didn't mention his "Fireflies," which are going to get a mention in Flash!, somehow, presumably as representing flickers that aren't flashes.

I spent the morning dealing with grids, both the artificial ones that one uses to make sure that one's lettering's aligned, and the more material scrim kind that shrouded Brooklyn Bridge when I took photos of it last fall.  And with learning such important information as the Pantone #s for USC colors (201C and 123C, since you were wondering).  I do love designing things ... though I'm still wondering whether I shouldn't have used a capital I on Invited - the balance needs a taller vertical there ...

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