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June 16, 2006

Introducing : MAO Image of the Week!

For the next few weeks, I was going to start something new.. looking for thoughtful art reader feedback..
The MAO Image of the Week.

So today.. I have an image from Josephine Meckseper. You may have seen it in the latest edition of Artforum as part of an Ad for the coming Royal Academy of Arts (Oct 06) USA Today,Works from the Saatchi Collection show. The image is titled "Pyromaniac 2"


Josephine Meckseper's mixed media work first caught my eye at this years art disaster Whitney Biennial.
But she wasn't showing any photography work.
The Saatchi-gallery website has some great info on Josephine and her work..

So seeing this new image in Artforum was a surprise.
Anyway.. What do you think of this photograph?
-Cool Image, Great Art Photography? or
-Flash in the pan?
-Strong and powerful..100% Glamourful?
-HOT ?
-Too much like fashion commercial  slick photography..or
-Just someone trying to make a quick art buck?
-Thoughtful commentary on today's consumer culture influence on art?
-Totally forgettable?

OK.. well.. you get the picture..
All thoughts/comments welcome...


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Nice concept MAO..

A very provocative photo.. just made me think..
"Babby come on light my Fire!"

I find it slightly nauseating that her art, as a commodity, is a manifestation of what she criticizes. I think she lacks courage in her criticism of roles and then subsequent participation in those roles. Could this be hypocrisy?

Thanks Gabe..
I agree somewhat with your hypocrisy point..

But how do you think she lacks courage??

it's a balls-y image perhaps, in a bratty and forgettable kinda way... but the model is too thick and manly to have any relation with fashion, beauty or advertising (bad casting). it actually seems abit mapplethorpeisch, and reminds me of that m.minter hi-heel poster.

Maybe my beef is with Saatchi and not Meckseper after all. I think that her criticsm(s) lack courage because the gallery an artist's work is exhibited in is a part of work itself. It's like a "medium is the message" kinda situation. I think she is creating a kind of conflict of interest, enforcing the myth that galleries are impartial and virtuous in their promotion of their artists. No? The gallery in a sense uses her to place itself out of the critical radar and draws attention away from itself. I just get an uneasy sense that Meckseper is herself commodifying dissent by collaborating with Saatchi, which is one of the processes she seems to be criticizing in her works.

It's all too easy to start bashing Saatchi isn't it? About the image though, I like the double light sources, the flame creates an interesting kind of chiaroscuro. But it could also be the low quality JPEG which flattens things that makes me see Caravaggio. Anwyays, either way, I think the model's facial expression is corny and it makes me think of 1950s feminist icons with their headscarves and rolled-up sleeves. However, the blurb on the Saatchi website refers to "commodified desire transformed to an impending powder keg explosion". Who is controlling the explosion? I thought the model was the vulnerable one seeing that she is about to be burned and knowingly styled her hair to the other side of her head to prevent damage. Overall a very safe image. Ha!

Hmmm... I don't know if this image says anything about "Saatchi" or any other gallery she shows with. But, I've really only seen her work in the "groups" that she does. She is also a fashion photographer. But, this isn't that. It's pretty good. A bit of a one-liner, but, it's pretty and stands well with the rest of her work. I wouldn't want it for myself, but, I could see how people would. I do want her hair to catch on fire.

If this had been one of your name-that-picture contests, I'd have guessed it was a fashion shot from America's Next Top Model. (The show is always making the girls pose with snakes, tarantulas, etc. This would fit right in.)

Dennis once brought up Debbie Harry in a conversation about "alcoholic cards" in Mumbai, India. True Story.

Last night...

I don't think this image is anything special.

It doesn't even look like good fashion photography.
No original thought here.

Whatever with the image...I'm just super excited for MAO image of the week. Keep on keeping on with image of the week. I love the idea and the discourse the image has already generated.

Wow, what an image!! I think that Meckseper has made a powerful message about the western world obsession with glamour and beauty and especially in society. Celebrates, Super models, the ideal figure, the ideal life style, Money, social scene. We see it in every magazine most newspaper depicts what we should look like, how we should live. How the younger generation are thinking if you are not a size six , 5"11, good structured face from the upper part of town then, what is the point?Plastic surgery? And even though Meckseper was a fashion photographer this isn't a fashion photo, it has not been touched up, its just showing these people are a ticking bomb because they are put under so much strain as this icon and they have been under this stress from the age of 16 years old and its society that have put them under this spotlight because of the our obsession. How would you feel for someone to look at you like a piece of meat and them to think how they can package and merchandise you for society. Says a lot about the Western World!

Thanks ZOE! Yes.. I'm digging the MAO image of the week as well...stay tuned for more!

SO, As a superstar photographer.. what did you think of this picture???

I have never heard about this artist before and no wonder this is the image of the week, its just so thought provoking, and beautiful at the same time.

I feel this girl in the image looks revealed that the match is finally lit! She is finally baring her true self. She looks tired, but there is something in her eyes that is pulling the viewer in, making you watch her, could this be because her whole life she has had people watching her and knows how to keep them fascinated with her? And also what will happen when the match burns down? A thought provoking image.

I just wonder how would this image would look if the women wasn't from the Western World, and who was obviously from a third world country, but was still beautiful and how would she look with a match in her mouth. Would it bring more emotion to this image, more passion of what will happen when the match burns down?

Hey Charlie, I agree with you.. had this image been of a woman of color.. the meaning would be completely changed.. and possibly much more powerful!

i dont know what it is, but im very drawn to this work (maybe its just my fetish/obsession with redheads) but since ive seen it, ive incorporated elements of photography into my own art. so purely from an aethstetic, tonal and compositional point of view, its brilliant.

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