PETER SRAMEK on view at Gallery 44 Members' Space (401 Richmond West) to June 2. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
peter sramek's found-photo slice
recontextualizes Edward Steichen's 1955 U.S. Camera Annual, a journal showcasing what this photo giant believed to be the best images from a single calendar year, to reveal just how dated and biased photos believed to be neutral can be.
By focusing on pieces that objectify women and glorify the H-bomb -- and tossing in sexploitive ads for camera equipment -- this 21st-century artist succeeds.
Sramek blends text from the original Annual with his own words, a ploy that further helps his case, but not every picture that survives his edit furthers his stated agenda. Ruth Orkin's timeless image of a boy and girl, later featured by Steichen in The Family Of Man, remains far from dated, and an extensive spread of pix by a then 31-year-old Richard Avedon, shot for Harper's Bazaar, glories in the very best of mid-century style.