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Posted March 3, 2000
The photographer Garry Winogrand took numerous zoo photographs, and made us wonder who were the more curious, the animals or the spectators. Elliott Erwitt takes the same approach with the museums of the world. This book is a brilliant collection of gallery visitors who are not only looking at works of art, but seemingly are interacting with them. The gentleman stares at a statue, and the statue stares back. A youth places his finger on the outstretched digit of a sculpture, and we are reminded of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. A centurion with a dead or dying man in his arms glares at a spectator as if to say, 'Go away, this is none of your business.' Viewers and guards often seem to resemble the portraits that are adjacent to them. Erwitt's sense of humor is wonderful. We see people staring attentively at empty picture frames; a man takes a video, not of a painting, but of the small descriptive plaque next to the painting. But the best part is that these are pictures of quality with excellent composition and lighting. What impresses me most is that Erwitt took many of these outstanding shots surreptitiously, mindful that many museums forbid photography. I am also duly impressed by the number of galleries that the author has managed to see in his lifetime; he has even visited the sculptures in the Oakland, California mudflats. If you enjoy good photography that possesses a sense of humor, then this is a must for your collection. You might also try his book 'Between The Sexes.'Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.