Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Recapping New Yorker Fiction / Real Photography at Steven Kesher

Demystifying. Fun. Ostentatiously high-brow. Too short. Still a show worth seeing. 

As for how the relationships between narratives and pictures evolve, while art work is generally chosen to accompany a story, the process sometimes occurs in reverse. For example, art critic and fiction writer A.M. Homes based her story “Raft in Water, Floating” on Malerie Marder’s photograph “Untitled” (1998).
When the two appeared side by side in the June 21, 1999 issue, I recall liking the picture so much that I thought of mounting it on the wall. I’m not sure how common this impulse is, but the fact that a show based on this very idea exists suggests I might not have been alone. Though disappointingly short (just under an hour) the panel gave me a little more insight on an editorial process that so frequently evokes such reactions.
The full post is up on Art Fag City.

1 comment:

  1. While in theory I like the idea of The New Yorker coming up with images to accompany its short stories, when I think back upon my actual reactions over time, I would say the images more often detract from, rather than add to, my appreciation of the story. Hard to say why, but I think I've never been able to get out of my head John Gardner's criticism from the 1970s, that New Yorker fiction generally seems too comfortable next to those full-page, full-color ads. And now they seem too comfortable next to the images chosen to accompany them, images that seem to fall into the categories that characterize New Yorker writing at its worst: vague, evasive, and trendy.

    As for writing that was inspired by an image, my favorite is Rachel Cusk's short story, "After Caravaggio's Sacrifice of Isaac," originally published in Granta, and which can be found here: Nothing vague, evasive, or trendy about the image that inspired that story, which I found deeply moving and illuminating and even haunting.