"Stun Gun Reality"

Matthew Israel
Dec 12, 2012 3:45AM
Paris, Montparnasse, 1993
White Cube

Was thinking today about the reactions to Gursky's 2001 retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art, New York

To so many who visited, Gursky’s photographs were two things: One, simply beautiful—in as many ways as you can say it—and two, and more interestingly, reality. For example, in reviews, Vince Aletti called the work “drop-dead spectacular” and commented, “forget digital erasure and computer enhancement: This is your life. Get used to it.” Michael Kimmelman called the work “eye-poppingly gorgeous” “stun gun reality,” and Katy Siegel noted, “We need these big brilliant photos to show us our big, bland dense world (as Greenberg once argued we needed “Apollonian” painting to reflect postwar American materialism).” Additionally, and most memorably, Peter Galassi wrote in the catalogue, that these were images of “our world” that will also “knock your socks off.”

The original site for the show can still be found here.

Matthew Israel