Does Karsh Need a Reassessment?

Authored by: Andrew Kear on August 27, 2009

I’ve been reading curator David Travis’ catalogue Yousuf Karsh: Regarding Heroes, which will be available to the public when the exhibition arrives at the WAG this fall. When I first heard about Travis’ exhibition, and the fact that its purpose was, in part, to “reassess” the Armenian-Canadian photographer’s output I was sceptical. Within the art world, especially as it pertains to historical shows, the prefix “re” is often an early indicator of a curator’s heavy-hand. Reassessment, reappraisal, reinterpretation, and revision are great so long as I can leave an exhibition feeling that the original assessment, appraisal, interpretation, and vision, logically implied, have been properly and fairly understood from the start.

Karsh’s Dark Magic

Authored by: Andrew Kear on August 25, 2009

I’ll admit it: I have a soft spot for formal, well composed, portraits. I reserve – oddly, some would say – the official painted version, depicting political subjects, as my favorite category of portraiture. One of the things making formal portraiture, in general, so interesting is the fact that it can elicit disagreement between viewers about when and for whom a dignified portrait is warranted, and debate regarding what exactly makes for an appropriately reverential visual cue in a portrait.

Preparing for Karsh Exhibit - 2

Authored by: Andrew Kear on August 14, 2009

Continuing work on the layout of the Karsh exhibit. There is a whole chest of ways curators visualize the layout of an exhibition before they have an opportunity to see the actual work, the little-squares approach is currently my favourite trick.

Preparing for Karsh Exhibit

Authored by: Andrew Kear on August 12, 2009

I have just spent the afternoon pushing little squares of paper around on a photocopied floor plan of galleries four and five.

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