Monday, April 30, 2012

Photographs at the Guggenheim

I love to take pictures of the reflections of museum-goers in the glass that covers photographs. I think this makes for fascinating images. For instance,

Art museums inevitably prohibit taking pictures of exhibits, but I do it anyway, surreptitiously. I justify it by saying that I'm not trying to capture images of what's being exhibited, so why should it matter?

Last week I was at the Guggenheim with my friend A., and I took this picture without anyone saying anything:
The photograph whose glass the figures are reflected in is by Francesca Woodman (the exhibit was very thought-provoking for me, and very intense), as are the photographs in the reflection. (What does this image mean? I really haven't reflected on it (ha), and really I feel that I should have to imbue it with meaning. I think it can just be interesting and perhaps beautiful.)

Then I took this picture, pointing the camera down over the railing--

--and an elderly lady yelled at me in accented English for it--even though it wasn't of the art at all, but of the party being set up on the ground floor. I really don't understand what bothered her so much about the fact that I took this photograph; presumably she simply felt that the rule must be followed exactly as written: "Picture taking prohibited above this [the ground] level."

If someone had come up and told me I shouldn't be taking pictures of the art on display, I would have understood and felt that they were in the right and I was most likely in the wrong; but as it was, I was only irritated, not abashed. I don't suppose this says anything good about me. But at least I have the pictures to show for the experience.

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