In the Long Run, We Are All Artifacts: Out [o] Fashion Photography
by Jen Graves
on Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 8:47 AM
Courtesy Henry Art Gallery
Graciela Iturbide found this Mexican prostitute in her doorway in 1979 (left). Men found this actress—“Miss Rush,” photographed by Benjamin J. Falk—printed on their cigar boxes a century earlier.
Crack Stranger art intern Jen Kagan has her first piece in this week's paper. It's a review of the Henry's big new photo exhibition, which involves breasts and breasts and more breasts, and Kagan's piece begins...
Out [o] Fashion Photography: Embracing Beauty is scathing and difficult and important. It combines art and artifact: a mix of ethnographic portraits, journalistic images, street photography, commercial photography, and the kind of contemporary conceptual projects that most easily qualify as "art." There are a few videos and a display case, too.
Everything in the show is from either the Henry's own archive or the University of Washington Libraries Special Collections. Within the limitations of the collections, curator Deborah Willis has orchestrated a surprise bulldozing of the distinctions between high and low, ideal beauty and medical health, sex and sales. It is all framed. It ain't pretty, but it all counts as beauty, and Willis wants us to think about why.