Magpie and copyist

By GREG COOK  |  November 24, 2009

The Peabody Essex offers another take on fashion with French photographer Valérie Belin's exhibit "Made Up." Phillip Prodger, the museum's photography curator, has assembled 17 large photos of mannequins and models, as well as shots of flattened bags of chips and oversaturated color shots of fruity still lives, for a strange rumination on beauty, fashion, and consumption. The show prompts double takes when you pass three photos that seem to show the same cabaret performer wearing three different showgirl costumes but in the exact same pose. Other sets offer different views of the same mannequin, or the same woman with different hair and outfits. It's vertigo-inducing: you can't be sure what's real and what's artificial. Belin wants to zero in on the reality-versus-simulation and originality-versus-copy questions that define the self-referential maze of mirrors of postmodernist art. But after three decades, I've grown tired of this game.

Read Greg Cook's blog at

< prev  1  |  2  |  3  | 
  Topics: Museum And Gallery , Entertainment, Iris Apfel, Culture and Lifestyle,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   PERFECTLY HUMAN  |  April 16, 2014
    Sometimes I think you can understand everything about our society today by considering it through two themes — the perfection of technology versus the messily human handmade.
  •   THE LAST FRONTIER  |  April 02, 2014
    They say that temperatures in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica haven’t been above freezing in millennia.
  •   ASSURED ABSTRACTIONS  |  March 19, 2014
    “The golden age of abstraction is right now,” ARTnews informed me last spring.
  •   COMMON GROUND  |  March 12, 2014
    “I did everything in the world to keep this from happening,” exclaims the assistant to the rich man in Kerry Tribe’s There Will Be ___ _.
  •   LOCAL LUMINARIES  |  March 05, 2014
    Reenacting a childhood photo, portraits of fabulous old ladies, and dollhouse meditations on architecture are among the artworks featured in the “2014 RISCA Fellowship Exhibition.”

 See all articles by: GREG COOK