A Rocking Chair Review by Ron Steinman

In a sense, dare I say, welcome to a new way of viewing an exhibition of photos, a new approach to gallery hopping done without leaving your rocking chair. Or is it simply a modern way to look at art without going to a gallery and seeing art or objects in 2D instead of 3D, the mode that defines more deeply what you are viewing.

The Web strikes again as the lazy person’s way to happiness in all things that educate, amuse, titilate and then some, meaning whatever the context, whatever the desire. Many months ago, I could not get to the exhibit of Dennis Hopper’s photos, The Lost Album, at the Gagosian Gallery on Madison Avenue in Manhattan. Dennis Hopper is the fanous actor, now decesased, who carried a cmaera almost everywhere he went, including the sets of all the films he worked on. I had heard much about his wonderful and quirky eye to make me want to see for myself all the interest.

Time and my schedule did not allow me the freedom to wander through the gallery and enjoy, or not, the photos displayed on its walls. Instead, I went online and because of the Internet, I was able to view, perhaps more intimately and easily with more comfort, an exhibition I originally wanted to see in person. The site did not display every picture found in the gallery. Not too bad when I considered that once in the gallery, if I ever went, not all the photos would interest me anyway.

After having indulged my curiosity, I now wonder if this was a new way to visit a gallery, assuming everything I want to see is on the Web? Perhaps. Is it a better way to view photos? Not necessarily, but it works well if you have the patience and the off-hour time, maybe very late at night. The inability to sleep also helps.

Some of Hopper’s photos are throwaways. Others are, well, just there, seemingly nothing more than an image caught by Hopper’s inquiring eye. Many, though, are of the moment. Hopper composed them with his sharp eye and an understanding of his subject. Overall, many of the pictures are daring and go beyond the simplicity of quick-snaps, usually a fault of the amateur street photographer. Most of the pictures, as well, are natural and rarely posed. They are always interesting and demanding of our attention, no matter how odd the angle or the subject within the frame.

My schedule opened up before the exhibitioon closed and I was able to get to the gallery to see the photos arrayed on the walls as the curator hoped I would see them. Despite the convenience of seeing the photos on my computer in my home or office, nothing beats viewing photos, and I am sure any other art, real and true in a gallery as they are meant to be seen. Final thought says clearly that the gallery experience is still supreme, so take advantage of it whenever you can. Sitting at your computer is not a bad way to view art but it should never replace looking at real art under proper lighting in a gallery setting designed for the best in viewing pleasure. \


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Filed under Internet, Photographers, Photography, TV criticism

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