It’s called an art exhibition because people like to look. Often incorrectly linked exclusively to sexual gratification, voyeurism is an attraction to seeing intimate moments. It’s standing barefoot on the bathroom’s cold floor as you observe your partner shaving. It’s seeing a woman apply makeup to her bare face.
I have a thing for older European men; but, that’s not why I find German visual artist Andreas Gursky mesmerizing. I’m drawn to the visceral emotion his images evoke. On exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, I literally couldn’t stop looking at his color photographs. Perhaps, size matters. His pictures are gigantic. Like six feet huge. In a New Yorker piece, “The Big Picture,” Calvin Tomkins confesses: “The first time I saw photographs by Andreas Gursky…I had the disorienting sensation that something was happeningâ€”happening to me, I suppose, although it felt more generalized than that.”
Gursky’s appeal is strong. Luring $4.3m (Â£2.7m) (â‚¬3.3m) on auction at Chrstie’s New York, his Rhein II is the most expensive photo ever sold.
I’m most interested in socially interesting images that tell stories about human lives. I don’t like it when people get all “ooh le Art it’s so important and fancy.” It’s just art. Accessible and able to be understood by all.
I have a story. Although I’m a sex writer, I began my career in international affairs and once worked at the American Embassy in The Hague. Connecting on Facebook with a friend I hadn’t seen in years, she expressed surprise that I didn’t stay in foreign affairs. “I thought you would have been out there somewhere saving the world,” she mentioned. I told her: “In my own way, I am because writing about how we relate to each other as human beings is extremely liberating.” From there, our conversation evolved into her explaining that her father had recently died. We talked about how life experiences had taught us how important it is to live in the moment.
Photography at its best captures life’s most intimate moments. If you’re interested in the topic, check out our guy Bill Wadman’s podcast about the art, science, and philosophy of taking pictures: On Taking Pictures. “There’s portraits I’ve looked at a hundred times,” Bill admits. “When you freeze motion in a single image, in a single frame, you put a lot of the onus on the viewer.” I particularly liked Bill’s Too Much information episode due to its raw discussion about the fear of not being good enough. I can certainly relate.