Art for fun!

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Sally Mann, Untitled from “The Motherland Series”

The only redeeming value of mindless computer work is being able to catch up on those educational videos that because of one’s lack of a good homeschooled edu, one missed out on. This week’s featurette is the PBS’ excellent series: Art 21: Art in the 21st century.

Sally Mann is one of the featured artists and we get to see her en situ, in studio, talking with kids, expounding on her upbringing and background, with her man. Good stuff. The kids clearly had an ambiguous relationship with their mother, but seem ultimately proud of Sally, her work, and their role in it.

I personally adored the sequence where we Sally at work in the field. Using her head to steady her 8×10 camera as she mounts her film holders in the back, she later queries to no one in particular, “Thirty seconds ok?” Sally Mann takes pride in the imprecise alchemy of her work. She doesn’t want the perfect lens, but she likes her photographs to have a little character, patina.

She expounds,” If it doesn’t have ambiguity don’t bother to take it, i love that aspect of photography, the mendacity of photography, it’s got to have some peculiarity otherwise it’s not interesting to me.”

To critics who wanted to create some type of artist statement to her ethereal work on dog bones, chewed and unchewed (think Irving Penn’s cigarette butts), she offers this, “Sometimes there doesn’t have to be deeper meaning in it, just art for fun, if you can imagine that.”

I can! I hope you all can too.

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