Sunday, July 24, 2005

Holding the the Times to the same standards


Initially, I thought that this article by Philip Gefter would make for a nice lead in to the current show at Pierre-François Ouellette, and the reviews about it by Jerome Delgado and Bernard Lamarche. You know, using the public (and my private) perception of the New York Times to make quick and easy jokes, snarky comments and all around sophomoric humor about the local yokels. Sorta like shooting fish in a barrel.

Ooops! Boy was I wrong. I don't know who Mr. Gefter knows, or how he got a gig at the Times that enabled him to write 19 articles, or who his editor is and how they spaced. But boy, oh boy! Did somebody make a mistake by omission.

Basically, there's this guy, Chris Jordan, who photographs refuse. He's from Seattle, and had flown to Atlanta to be interviewed by Mr. Gefter (maybe Mr. Gefter has family in Georgia, I dunno). Because the article was called "A Great Big Beautiful Pile of Junk" and PFOAC's show is called Trashformations I initially thought there would be something there to tie the two together. But I digress. After reading the article, and then looking at the pictures, my jaw hit the floor over this line that Mr. Gefter wrote: "Mr. Jordan said he had been greatly influenced by Andreas Gursky, whose eye-zapping images depict, among other things, our commodity-patterned world." And that is the total of references to other artists in the entire article. And, by the by, Mr. Jordan has a solo exhibition coming up at the Yossi Milo Gallery. No, I had never heard of it either.

I have two words for Mr. Gefter: "Edward Burtynsky." Who's show at the Brooklyn Museum is happening in October. If I (a person who regularly states that I know diddly-squat about Art History) can make the connection between Chris Jordan and Edward Burtynsky, than sure as shootin' I would assume that some hot shot art critic for the New York Times could as well.

For the uninitiated who don't know Mr. Jordan or Mr. Burtynsky, Compare and contrast. Extra points if you can find more examples, as I really do have to get some work done here.

"Cellphones No. 2, Atlanta 2005." By Chris Jordan, courtesy the Yossi Milo Gallery via the New York Times.

"Densified Oil Filters No. 1, Hamilton, Ontario 1997" by Edward Burtynsky, via his website.

"Container Yard No. 1, Seattle 2003," by Chris Jordan. Courtesy of Yossi Milo Gallery, New York via the New York Times.

"Container Ports No. 8, Racine Port, Montréal, Québec 2001" by Edward Burtynsky, via his website.

So we got here pretty much the same darn photographs (in approximately the same darn sizes) by two gentlemen, however one of them took his photographs considerably earlier (so in fact the second guy could be said to be copying). Then on top of it both of these gentlemen are having exhibitions in New York City in the fall. One of them in some storefront gallery that's been around for less than five years, and the other in 56,000 square foot museum that is top 10 in the country. Oh and did I mention that the exhibit going to the museum has been touring the world. So which one would you think is worthy of an article in the New York Times?

Or if one of the higher ups at the New York Times decided on that there would be a story on Mr. Jordan, (although for the life of me, I can't figure out why) don't you think it would be responsible journalism for Mr. Gefter to at least make passing reference to an artist who does the same darn thing?

Or, maybe, just maybe, Mr. Burtynsky has finally become so thoroughly annoyed with the utter and complete lack of respect and recognition that Canadian artists get outside of Canada, that he changed his name to Chris Jordan, moved to Seattle, and decided to start over again as an American artist, 'cuz that's where the big bucks are.

I'll get around to Trashformations, M. Delgado and M. Lamarche, later. For the record, Mr. Gefter gets an F for his article.

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