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Thread: Bernd & Hilla Becher at the Metropolitan Museum

  1. #11

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    Re: Bernd & Hilla Becher at the Metropolitan Museum

    I'll be flying out for this. First retrospective of theirs I'll have access to since seeing the one at the Stedelijk museum in 2002. Of course, there's so much to see in NYC that this will obviously be just one part on the docket. Chelsea here I come! I was in NYC in December and while the museums weren't at pre-pandemic levels, they were pretty busy. I'll be wearing a mask inside. I just got back from Berlin and travel is pretty hectic right now and masking is optional everywhere even on the planes. Though I'm not terrified of covid, I am traveling the same amount as before the pandemic and I've managed to not get covid And would like to stay that way.

    The cool thing about the Bechers show traveling is seeing it in NYC then at SFMOMA. I've found it valuable to see shows twice and spaces often dictate different organizational schemes. Sometimes for the better and sometimes not.

  2. #12
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    Re: Bernd & Hilla Becher at the Metropolitan Museum

    FWIW: I was at the Met on a Saturday evening several weeks ago for the Winslow Homer show. It was pretty crowded, mostly masked. Both then and when I was in NYC again for the long July 4 weekend, the proportion of masked people on the Metro-North and the subway, both stations and trains, was low. Assume the situation would be similar today and come prepared for whatever level of masking and other precautions you feel is appropriate in light of the latest surveillance data.

  3. #13

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    Re: Bernd & Hilla Becher at the Metropolitan Museum

    I won't be out until Sept/Oct and by then this will all be over. Right?

    I just wear a mask and wash/sanitize my hands and accept the rest. The anecdotal part for me is that I used to get two or three colds a year, usually when I got back from a trip. Now, I haven't had a cold since 2019. And like I said, I'm traveling close to the same amount, doing the same things. So, this routine has been working for me.

    Looking forward to the Bechers! I think seeing a retrospective really allows the flow and rhythm of their work to emerge. The music of visual variance.

  4. #14
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    Re: Bernd & Hilla Becher at the Metropolitan Museum

    Quote Originally Posted by letchhausen View Post
    Looking forward to the Bechers! I think seeing a retrospective really allows the flow and rhythm of their work to emerge. The music of visual variance.
    Yes! I've seen selections from their work here and there, very much looking forward to this comprehensive view.

  5. #15

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    Re: Bernd & Hilla Becher at the Metropolitan Museum

    Quote Originally Posted by letchhausen View Post
    I won't be out until Sept/Oct and by then this will all be over. Right?
    The exhibition runs until November 6th.
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  6. #16

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    Re: Bernd & Hilla Becher at the Metropolitan Museum

    Quote Originally Posted by r.e. View Post
    The exhibition runs until November 6th.
    I was making a joke about covid.

  7. #17

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    Re: Bernd & Hilla Becher at the Metropolitan Museum

    Quote Originally Posted by Oren Grad View Post
    FWIW: I was at the Met on a Saturday evening several weeks ago for the Winslow Homer show. It was pretty crowded, mostly masked. Both then and when I was in NYC again for the long July 4 weekend, the proportion of masked people on the Metro-North and the subway, both stations and trains, was low. Assume the situation would be similar today and come prepared for whatever level of masking and other precautions you feel is appropriate in light of the latest surveillance data.
    Your experience at the Met is what I would expect. There's a good deal of non-compliance, despite masks being required, in parts of the subway system. When this started, New Yorkers abandoned the subway system because we believed that using it was an invitation to get coronavirus. Depending on what part of the city you're talking about, ridership has recovered to between 1/3rd and 2/3rds of 2019 levels. In a city where less than half of households have a car, and parking charges are outrageous, that means that there are still a lot of New Yorkers who are avoiding the subway altogether or using it sparingly. I use it occasionally, but only with an M95 mask.
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  8. #18

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    Re: Bernd & Hilla Becher at the Metropolitan Museum

    I recall seeing a show of the Becher's work, probably at the George Eastman House, back in the '90s. letchhausen's idea about seeing their work as a whole is a good one. I find their work admirable... but I don't like it much; it's just too bleak to make me happy.
    Still, if I could get to NYC, I wouldn't miss it. But then I'd go view the Winslow Homer show to restore my faith in the world!

  9. #19

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    Re: Bernd & Hilla Becher at the Metropolitan Museum

    I was just in Berlin and they required an N95 mask on the trains, but nowhere else. People weren't wearing one anywhere else, but were very compliant on the trains. In fact some transit authority people got on and I got my ticket out since I assumed there were checking tickets, but they were only there to enforce mask compliance. My buddy had forgotten his and wasn't wearing one and they gave him some grief. I thought it was interesting.

  10. #20

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    Re: Bernd & Hilla Becher at the Metropolitan Museum

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sampson View Post
    I recall seeing a show of the Becher's work, probably at the George Eastman House, back in the '90s. letchhausen's idea about seeing their work as a whole is a good one. I find their work admirable... but I don't like it much; it's just too bleak to make me happy.
    Still, if I could get to NYC, I wouldn't miss it. But then I'd go view the Winslow Homer show to restore my faith in the world!
    There was a room at the Stedelijk in 2002 that was lined with their series of factory buildings. Direct frontal shots of old garage warehouses. I remember struggling since the photographs were place in a line, one touching another across all four walls. The cooling and water towers, the grids of blast furnaces, all had this space around them and space on the wall. The subject matter more grand, but this room, felt like a hard nut to crack. It felt more literally like looking at the same photo over and over.

    I remember in the eighties when I first saw their work, it was the second time I had noticed photography as something other than boring. The first was when I was living in a squat in the punk scene on the lower east side. My roommate had a copy of Larry Clark's Tulsa. Though I didn't really relate to the book as photograph as art form as much as seeing something like a document of my lifestyle at that time. In contrast, as someone who grew up in Detroit, the Becher's work made immediate sense to me. It was like Ansel Adams took a photograph of something interesting. My art interest most of my life has revolved around painting and sculpture, mostly painting and all post-AbEx. But the Bechers, that was interesting. As someone living in those areas during a period when artists and musicians found cheap lofts there, the subject matter reflected our surroundings. And I did relate the grids, the repetitions and the work to contemporary art.

    At the Stedelijk, I finally just walked in a loop around the room. When I walked a bit faster, I began to see it, the variations between the photographs. Then it hit me, it was like I was getting an object lesson in vision. Suddenly, every difference in lines of brick, in door placement, in roof shape, began to acquire significance and it was a feast for my eyes. In some ways I felt like it was almost like when I looked at abstract painting, freed from depiction. It had that quality.

    Hilla Becher said: “By placing several cooling towers side by side something happened, something like tonal music; you don’t see what makes the objects different until you bring them together, so subtle are their differences.”

    So I think there's an experience to be had there beyond the subject matter.

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