Sunday, May 23, 2010

Term Limits for Curators?

A short postscript to the last post “Why I’m not …”.  Yet another interesting comment from Mr .Wride was that he had been looking at a whole lot of photographs for many years – “probably more than is good for me”.
A year or so before Marita Holdaway closed Benham Gallery I talked to her shortly after she returned from the portfolio review at the biennial PhotoLucida.  I asked her if she saw anything that she thought was really outstanding.  Her reply was that she had looked at thousands of portfolios over the past 20 years and “it takes a lot to get my attention.”

One of Susan Sonntag’s essays concerns the desensitizing effects of long-term exposure to photographs of violence.  Maybe overexposure desensitizes one in other ways, too.  Maybe we need term limits for curators, gallery owners, portfolio reviewers.

My musician/mathematician friend, Fritz, (mentioned in an earlier post) made the conscious decision not to become a professional musician after he heard a professional violinist lament that one of Brahms’ symphonies was “sooooo long.”  His response to himself was “I never want to feel that way about a Brahms symphony!”

Maybe that makes my path of waiting for a half-century or so until retirement kicks in (as Ted Orland postulates) seem more reasonable.  I sure haven’t lost the delight in seeing well-done photographs or drawings or paintings – even if they aren’t from the cutting edge.  (Or maybe I’m just rationalizing.)

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