Thursday, September 17, 2009
Nine ways to be embarrassed
Gelatin silver print
15 x 13 1/2 inches (38.1 x 34.3 cm)
Ed. of 5
So, on Tuesday we went to the Sally Mann opening and as it has been a while since I have been to a posh uptown art opening I was country-mouse-agog at all the beautiful young women with their long legs and precipitous footwear and uncanny ability to text. And then there were the photographs.
We were there because a very old friend is a very very old friend of Sally Mann’s and had come up from Virginia for the opening, and I was excited to see this friend from way back when. We spent about 20 minutes looking at the light, dark, moving, visceral & abstract photographs of Sally’s husband, naked, in silver gelatin prints. The real Larry Mann, dressed in a suit, was there, circulating. I ran into Keliy, a friend of my daughter who actually understands the process Sally Mann uses and she valiantly undertook to explain it to us. There is a lot of chemistry involved, including toxic and regulated chemicals, and that is all I can tell you.
I was probably too busy wondering what it was like to be in a room full of people looking at exquisite pictures of your naked body… that would include your penis, shapely rear end, back, and so on.
And I wondered if that was more or less unpleasant or weird than listening to stories about your father’s demands for a graduate student (of either sex) to perform nightly fellatio, as occurred the other night when Blake Bailey read from his new biography of John Cheever while Ben Cheever graciously listened, having given this biography his imprimatur.
I still don’t know the answer and I still wonder.