After images

By JIM SULLIVAN  |  May 28, 2010

So, it’s your extrapolation of what you think she might have said.
I think the piece is what we didn’t get to see her say. It’s also about the audience, how America uses photography. That’s the reason I’m here with the JFK/Avedon collection at PEM. I’m really talking about the function of looking at trauma in photography, how we distance ourselves and how we use it.

What attitude do you bring?
I consider it to be an homage. I don’t consider it to be a parody. I consider it to be fiction, even though everything I’m writing is based on research. What I do is I photograph the photographs of Jackie and then create montages with pictures and music. In the beginning, it’s light-spirited, using Britney Spears’s “Piece of Me” and Fergie’s “Glamorous.” And that would be a commentary on our way of memory and commemoration. At another point, I’m talking about the aggressiveness in Jackie’s shopping — that being the only place where a woman is allowed to show her aggressiveness. She was a shopper. How does that fit in?

This piece has no nudity. No foodstuff. Would it be PG-rated if it were a movie?
I don’t think so, because I think the violence wouldn’t be suitable for eight-year-old children to see. I think high school is fine. As to the other situation in my work, I’ve used nudity just in the same way that, let’s say, Picasso did — not in every painting, but he did paint nudes. I’m coming from a visual background. When I’m about to create a work, I’m not thinking: “Okay, how can I get naked? Where does naked come in?” Here, I wanted to look at the idea of giving a talk and have that be a performance.

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  Topics: Museum And Gallery , Britney Spears, Entertainment, George W. Bush,  More more >
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