I saw a Gerhard Richter retrospective on a Berlin school trip a few years ago, and it was maybe the most disappointing show I’ve ever been to. I found myself in front of one of my then ‘favourite paintings’, ‘Ema (Akt auf einer Treppe)’, thinking ‘this is terrible’. A huge issue with ‘contemporary art’ is that a lot of work reaches its audience as a reproduction, often either losing something vital entirely or gaining something false via the aesthetic crutches of skilled photographic documentation (particularly in the case of performative and three dimensional work). Funnily enough, in the case of Richter’s ‘Ema’, it was its flat, photographic quality, previously camouflaged into the page or monitor’s surface, which turned me off it. This familiar image I was so accustomed to and enthralled by appeared as nothing more than a dead reproduction with a final concise hue.
L-R: Cay Lang, Vanalyne Green, Dori Atlantis and Sue Boud
Students of the Feminist Art Program, Fresno State College (now California State University, Fresno), 1970-71
Elevator by Gabriel Orozco, 1994