Thursday, August 5, 2010


I don’t know if I could talk my husband into a 2-1/2 hour drive to Santa Barbara and a 2-1/2 hour drive back to have a one hour look at an exhibition of photos from 40 Korean photographers at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. He isn’t crazy about art exhibits in the first place, photographs in the second place, and such photographs as the one above in the third place. And furthermore, I’m sure he can’t understand why I am drawn to them in the last place. I am fascinated by it.

If I told him that these remarkable photographs are in an exhibit entitled “Chaotic Harmony: Contemporary Korean Photography,” and which presents “photographs by 40 artists born between 1965 and 1984 and who represent two distinct generations,” I think he’d probably say that all he needs to do is to walk upstairs at the Katz household (where our two little granddaughters Olivia and Justine live) and look on their bedroom floor.

I understand what he is talking about, but of course I would tell him it isn’t the same, although there IS an amazing resemblance!

I also fully understand that it really isn’t built into Jerry’s genes to stand and look at anything for more than probably 3 minutes max. He would no more stand and study a photograph than I would study how to make a golf club hit a tiny ball sitting on a tee. I’d swing, whiff the ball, bag the club and head to the club house. I’m just not interested! Jerry would do the same thing at a photograph entitled “Seo Woo and her Pink Things.” Glance at it, and move on. If there were 40 photos in the exhibit, he probably would allot himself 40 glances and then he’d sit down on a bench to wait for me to finish looking. He is not one that you want to take with you when you go to an art exhibit. He may be lots of fun on an outing, but in an art museum he is likely to cramp one's style.

Please understand, he NEVER, EVER complains, but he doesn’t have to, because watching him sit and do nothing while I stare at a photo is terribly guilt-producing.

I don’t know why I am so fascinated with this photo and the blue one at the bottom of this blog, called "Tour Bus." It may be for the same reason that when I was in Turkey I was very “taken” with the patterns the Turks created in their displays of all kinds of items. I certainly don’t put my photos in a class with the professionals, but you can see what I mean. The Turks didn’t arrange their goods for photographs, but the results are certainly similar.

Luckily, I discovered that Yale Press has put out a book with lavish illustrations with the same name as the exhibit. is selling them for a little over twenty dollars, far less that a round trip to Santa Barbara would cost us. Here’s a description of the contents:

Recently contemporary Korean art has garnered significant international recognition, in part for the work of photographers Atta Kim and Bae Bien-U. Now, this richly illustrated book brings their work together with that of forty other up-and-coming Korean artists, each working to stretch the bounds of the photographic medium. One of the first books on the subject, Chaotic Harmony features essays by Anne Wilkes Tucker and Karen Sinsheimer exploring the notions of urbanization, politics, identity, community, globalization, tradition, and fantasy in today’s Korean photography. A chronology of recent developments, prepared by noted photographer Bohnchang Koo, also accompanies brief biographies of the artists, as well as a complete checklist of the exhibition. This catalogue sheds a new light on Korean photographers’ little-known contributions to the world arena of contemporary art.
Granted, looking at a book isn’t as good as standing in an exhibit hall, but it also means that I can look as long as I want, and Jerry can busy himself watching golf on TV and we will both be happy.

And just in case I need justification for buying another book, when I've been on such a drive to get rid of things, let’s birthday is past for 2010, our anniversary is past for 2010. I think the next event to celebrate will be the Christmas Holiday. The Santa Barbara Museum’s exhibit will be long gone by that time, but if I’m lucky Abebooks will still have copies of the books I’ve mentioned and I can give myself a Christmas present. Yep. That’s what I’ll do. In the meantime, I’ll suggest you nose around the Santa Barbara Museum of Art website and see for yourself what’s being featured.

No comments: