New York Photo Review
Volume 4 Issue 28 June 25 to July 1, 2013

The Genetic Wars by Barbara Confino

Cross Country Parr
Martin Parr
USA Color

Photo by Martin Parr . Source: janetbordeninc.com
Martin Parr.

Local Martin Parr fans––and there are legions of them around the world––are no doubt enjoying the double exposure that his work is now enjoying in New York. While his “Life’s a Beach” at the Aperture gallery has more of his world view, the new show at Janet Borden is USA all the way. There are no powerful Robert Frank moments here, but there are enough Parr insights into the American psyche to cause a few chuckles. The 21 images here were taken between 1994 and 2012, with seven of them shot in the South as part of an hour-long documentary called Hot Spots: Martin Parr in the American South, which was commissioned by Atlanta’s High Museum of Art. The video of Hot Spots in the back gallery was an education; it was interesting to watch Parr at work in Atlanta, often sticking his camera and ring flash in the face of his subjects while carrying on a conversation.

Photo by Martin Parr . Source: janetbordeninc.com
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One Atlanta image is “Staff at the Silver Skillet Restaurant, 2011.” Four waitresses, one younger than all the rest, stand side by side behind the lunch counter. Their faces are expressionless but the beat-up signs behind them tell the story...the menu signage looks very 1970s, but the sign underneath –“Check out our website, The SilverSkillet.com”– reminds you what time it is. Parr’s eye for the absurd is evident in two images from the 1990s hung side by side. In “Hawaii,” he photographs the backs of two male tourists wearing garish flowered shirts.

Photo by Martin Parr . Source: janetbordeninc.com
Martin Parr.

Next to it is “Florida,” which shows the backsides of two women who are both wearing equally garish flowered print bathing suits. It’s hard to miss “Vegas Breakfast, 1996” since it’s 40 x 60 inches; the size of the print seems almost equal to the size of the breakfast; Egg, bacon, sausage, bagel, pancakes and what appears to be pink slime. Parr seems to be saying that size does matter.

Photo by Martin Parr . Source: janetbordeninc.com
Martin Parr.

In “USA Arizona, The Grand Canyon, 1994,” the scenic view becomes almost secondary when Parr captures three tourists on a bench, with one wearing an Indian headdress he probably just bought at the gift shop. There are several other images here that are less Parr-like and more puzzling, i.e. “Rochester, NY, 2012,” which shows an empty closet shelf with a row of empty clothes hangars. Something is missing, for sure.

Photo by Martin Parr . Source: janetbordeninc.com
Martin Parr.

A couple of images here are also in the “Life’s a Beach” exhibition, but they are certainly worthy of double exposure.

Martin Parr
USA Color


Janet Borden
560 Broadway 6th Fl
Lower Manhattan - West         Map

212 431 0166
janetbordeninc.com

Thursday, May 16 to
Friday, June 28, 2013
Hours: Tues - Sat, 10 to 6
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