April 29, 2005

Sat down and went through two Alfredo Jaar books more seriously: It Is Difficult and Let There be Light. A lot of the work is old now and I don't know enough about the "Art World" to get a sense of what feels old now but might not have in the mid80s, 90s.

I liked best the stuff that deals with how image gets used in the world (rather than his own work with image). For instance, the piece where he puts the history of Rwanda beside covers from major magazines which then culminates eventually in a cover on Rwanda months later. I like how the piece tricks you b/c you think Rwanda will never show up on the cover. And then finally there it is.

Also liked the final piece in It is Difficult where the images are missing from the lightboxes that he installed at the bus stop.

And I liked the lightboxes that he did that just had the word "Rwanda" in them.

I couldn't decide what I thought about his images. They were on the one hand assaultive. Which I liked. And yet it feels like they move so quickly into cliche. It is hard to tell them as all that different from the Newsweek images finally. And while all the lightboxes were disrupting the cliche by cutting up or modifying the image or requiring it being viewed through an apparatus which should be an alienation technique, I wasn't sure they were doing more than disrupting it, not sure they were really moving the images and their romantic persuasions someplace else. The images were so person based. So much the romantic worker, the romantic human caught in the machine. But not really all the stuff around them--not so much the documentation of the machine. Not much about complicity. So the gold miners, not the rich white woman in the US wearing the gold necklace (or the urban black rapper wearing the gold necklace).

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