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|The Revolution Begins in the Nude
by Charlie Finch
|Everything opened last night, on Sept. 7. Bill Clinton was doing a gig at the Metropolitan Museum, so Fifth and Madison were closed to traffic from 57th Street north, and (what with the MTV Awards and the big U.N. conference) everything south was in gridlock.
Mary Boone opened with what looked like a vanity show, so a few guests looking for serious art spilled across the hall to McKee Gallery to gaze at Harvey Quaytman's black-and-brown crosses, built like elegant stretchers for Ad Reinhardt.
As a 57th Street afterthought, another Yale "grrrl" photographer opened at Lawrence Rubin Greenberg Van Doren.
Now that the "'Nother Girl 'Nother Planet" craze of last spring has expired, one can consider Katy Grannan's peculiar quest on her own terms.
She placed ads for models in some Middle American towns in Wisconsin and Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and photographed these local heroines (and a couple of heroes) in stark, lost surroundings, mostly in the nude.
This beautiful, honest exhibition makes me believe for a moment that were Katy Grannan able to photograph enough Americans in the nude, the USA would be a far, far better place.
Two decades back, when I was working in presidential politics, the only guys in suits wearing those chic lapel pins that say, "I'm in, you're out," were the Secret Service protection detail.
Now, a stroll up locked-down Manhattan streets revealed half a dozen different lapel pins on gray-suited earpieced security officers.
What are these guys (and a few gals) screaming, "Go! Go! Go!" at a tinted blue van carrying some sheik or potentate: FBI, NSA, Park Police, UN Security, Customs, Interpol, KGB, MI5?
All those lapel pins are supposed to help them recognize each other and keep you and me under control.
Nude baby nude baby nude --
That's what Gregory "The Collector" Crewdson's Yale MFA paparazza just do and do and do!
Anna, Dana, Malerie, Katie.
If millions take off their clothes, can we have our country back?
CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (1998).