Katy Grannan: Model American

Overview

Working with ordinary people who answered ads in local papers, posing them in their nondescript homes or unexceptional landscapes and using relatively simple equipment, Katy Grannan alchemizes these factors into extraordinary photographs. Disarming for their directness and for the provocative but casual nudity on display, her pictures capture the spirit of her subjects in the manner of Diane Arbus, but they also draw upon the artificial, posed tableaux of Gregory Crewdson and, indeed, art history. The posture of ...

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Overview

Working with ordinary people who answered ads in local papers, posing them in their nondescript homes or unexceptional landscapes and using relatively simple equipment, Katy Grannan alchemizes these factors into extraordinary photographs. Disarming for their directness and for the provocative but casual nudity on display, her pictures capture the spirit of her subjects in the manner of Diane Arbus, but they also draw upon the artificial, posed tableaux of Gregory Crewdson and, indeed, art history. The posture of the tattooed and tanned (and nude) figure in "Mike," a 2003 portrait which appeared in the 2004 Whitney Biennial, resembles nothing so much as the awkward repose of the desert nomad in Henri Rousseau's "Sleeping Gypsy." In this first monograph, over half of the photographs are previously unpublished, providing a fresh depth to our understanding of this already widely known and accomplished young artist. Sitting on a dirt road in a knit bikini, standing defiantly in a corner of a cheaply paneled living room, leaning languidly against a chain-link fence, Grannan's photoraphs convey the dark side that we all have as well as the need to be recognized as unique individuals.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Posed with an apparently deliberate awkwardness in living rooms and bedrooms, by rural roads and in the woods, the models in Grannan's photographs stare out with uniformly expressionless faces. But, unlike the photos for fashion magazines that Grannan also occasionally shoots, the subjects of these 75 portraits are no stylishly empty ciphers. Instead, the photographs, charged as they are with an underlying current of mystery, dramatize the unbridgeable gap between subject and observer. In the first half of the book, which covers roughly the period from 1998 to 2003, Grannan's photos are shot inside the houses of her subjects, and taken using only the most basic equipment. With a fetishistic fixation on cheap, retro interiors, these photos flirt with a porn chic look and are, at times, in danger of being suffocated by their own knowingness. When Grannan takes her photo shoots outdoors, in the more recent work that forms the book's second half, something extraordinary happens. Grannan's purposely stagey images come alive with a weird, hard-edged lyricism when shot in natural light, with a backdrop of soil, foliage, and water. There may be other artists working in the post-Cindy Sherman vein of photography that calls attention to its own theatricality (among them, Malerie Marder), but Grannan has found a thorny beauty all her own. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781931788816
  • Publisher: Aperture Foundation
  • Publication date: 9/15/2005
  • Pages: 120
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 11.80 (h) x 0.80 (d)

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