I have a brilliant friend. Catherine Opie is one of the most dynamic photographers working today. The Opie body of work is not only stunning, piece by piece, from large evocative portraits to sweeping white-on-white landscapes of Minnesota ice houses, but also stunning in the breadth of the Opie intellectual and artistic vision over the years.
Last week’s LA Times feature story will clue you in to the heart and soul of Catherine’s choices.
There are five Opie shows running concurrently at the moment. The Lehmann Maupin Gallery in NYC has her Portraits and Landscapes featured until Feb. 20.
In Los Angeles, two of her shows are up and a third goes up Feb 13.
Hammer Museum Portraits Jan 30-May 22
LACMA: Catherine Opie: O Feb 13-Sept 5
MOCA, Pacific Design Center 700 Nimes Rd Jan 23-May 8
Each and every Opie image is a bold work. Arresting. But the 700 Nimes Rd collection will blow your mind. When Elizabeth Taylor was still alive, she commissioned Catherine to photograph literally all her iconic belongings. Her Warhol portraits, her Krupp Diamond, her color-coded furs. Catherine spent six months at Elizabeth’s home, gingerly and respectfully portraying her belongings in a magically-lit tribute to the largesse of the Elizabeth Taylor mystique.
The Taylor photos:
If you’re curious to learn more about Catherine Opie, once head of Yale’s Graduate School of Photography and now in the same position at UCLA, check out:
We stand in front of a photograph and, even if we are pleased or moved or provoked, we sometimes feel we could ourselves have taken that very photo. This is not the case with an Opie image. There are hundreds and hundreds of famous Opie photos now, dating way back to a black-and-white self-portrait she took in front of her rural Ohio home at the age of seven. And when you stand in front of an Opie photograph, you have no mistaken hubris to think you could have been the artist who created that particular masterpiece.
What a deep honor it is, to have such a brilliant friend.