Photo by Andrew Eccles.
For actress Jamie Lee Curtis, the early 1980s began her heyday as the horror genre’s “Scream Queen,” her marriage to Christopher Guest, and the couple’s foray into art collecting—photographs and original cartoons. In advance of Paris Photo Los Angeles, Curtis, still an avid photography collector, picked out the nine works that she finds most compelling at the fair.
In 1984 we were newlyweds, living in TriBeCa while [Guest] was doing a year on SNL, and it was only a few years after Cindy Sherman’s work had first started to be exhibited. I saw a piece in a magazine about her work and Chris and I went to Metro Pictures and wondered if we should buy an “Untitled Film Still” or the new, bigger, color work. The platinum blond, in a suit with fists clenched, reminded me of the town where I grew up—and so we bought it. I remember at the time that it was costly but in our new marital partnership, a wonderful first art purchase together.
Over these 30 years we have added to our collection with an eclectic group of images. We are not art snobs, we don’t read art criticism, and we don’t work with an art consultant. We buy what we like—what moves us and what we can afford. We have some masters of the form, Irving Penn, Sally Mann, Sebastião Salgado, alongside newer photographers; a Shawna Ankenbrandt nude hangs next to an Alexandra Hedison composite. I recently bought two pieces from my niece, Lena Hindes, who, for her senior art piece in high school, did this work as her reaction to the shaming of pubic hair in today’s society. They are photographs that she crocheted over. Stunning work and so exciting.
Photo by Lena Hindes, courtesy Jamie Lee Curtis
I approached the current collection at Paris Photo L.A. with my eclectic lens. Here are some thoughts on what moved me and what I am inclined to add to our collection.
Unglee’s tulips, at Christophe Gaillard, are sensual, graphic, and poetic. Simple, intimate, and lovely.
I love the image by Jamel Shabazz of the man and his dog from Hardhitta Gallery. Visceral, vibrant, scary, and alive. Like city life.
Sophie Bramly’s retro works at Librairie 213 make me want to see more and more. I am so interested in peeling back the layers from my memory in this digital world to see film work in the field. Same goes for Guy Bourdin at Louise Alexander Gallery. His color work, the red couch, is exciting and gorgeous. Old school but so effective.
I am not usually a big fan of celebrity work but Sandro Miller’s recreations at Catherine Edelman make me smile and stare with wonder.
Georges Rousse at Sous Les Etoiles Gallery is working in a more abstract, colored form. This geometric work reminds me of my favorite work I just saw at The Getty, by Alison Rossiter. I am drawn to this use of color blocking and contrast more and more. The way light and dark dance.
I love Edward Burtynsky’s work at Von Lintel Gallery. His perspective on the beauty of nature and its power is very strong. It reminded me of Salgado’s “Genesis” at Peter Fetterman. It’s a grand perspective, an emotional understanding of life.
My two favorites tell the same story yet so very long apart in time. Ronan Guillou at NextLevel Galerie tells me a story in the same way that Edward Sheriff Curtis at Bruce Kapson Gallery does. Each shows us life on life’s terms with the attention or inattention of American society as an overlay. Sad and triumphant and both beautiful in their capture. I would love to see both their work hanging side by side.