Are you familiar with the common cynical commentary to contemporary art that goes, “I could have made this!”? The remark implies laziness and oversimplification, often misleadingly assigned to certain art forms, as they are juxtaposed with more elaborate and, what some people believe to be, ‘more skilled’ art. A famous response to this critique is “… But you didn’t”, with which I wholeheartedly agree.
However, this latest W Magazine Best Performances photoshoot is either incredibly meta, or truly anyone (or a lot of people) could have made it. Or both.
The photoshoot depicts Hollywood celebrities, rookies, and members of the elite alike in a minimalist setting of a driveway. It is quite mysterious, really. A majority of photographs appear to be taken on the same street, in-between tightly parked cars (some of which do not even have their license plates blurred). Others appear to be in different locations, like this picture of trophy husband, George Clooney that someone might have taken while he was cleaning up after his children in the backyard. Or this picture of beautiful Michelle Pfeiffer in a random parking lot, as if she was actually caught on her way from one photo shoot to another.
Did I mention that the photographer for the issue is Jurgen Teller? Now you know.
Naturally, Hollywood Twitter has been having a wonderful two days since the photographs have been released.
Riz Ahmed is out here commending Jurgen for the quickest photoshoot in his career, but I feel that the man just might appreciate the efficiency over the aesthetics. I respect that. It’s the awards season, and he has been pretty busy.
But I do have to say that Riz has already managed to take, in my humble opinion, a better picture of himself in a driveway years ago, which I may or may not have been using as my Twitter header for years.
Could this be a take on how difficult it has been to stage photoshoots during the pandemic?
Or is it more about how the streets have become this exotic and wild place since we all should stay inside and social distance?
Or, and I and my mediocre knowledge of photography are just guessing here; this might be an example of how far your white male privilege can get you in the art business.
Anyway, we are not here to divulge into the eternal debates of art and the artist. It is also, apparently, not the first time when this style was chosen for the Best Performances issue.
I will leave you with my favorite tweet that has come out from all of this, in which life imitates art.
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