Richard Kern: New shots
We are sorry: Art is temporarily away

review by Jizaino, 21 November 2009

"New shots"
Personal show of the photographer Richard Kern.
Guidi&Schoen Arte Contemporanea - Vico Casana, 31R - Genoa (Italy)
until 7th December 2009
opening times: Tuesday - Saturday 10.00-12.30 / 04.00-19.30, Monday 04.00-19.30
free entry[]>

More than a brief review, this article is a moment of pondering on the role of Art.

Richard Kern is known to the great public of the art shows for having proposed delicate portraits of young people that seem caught in moments of intimacy or eroticism: shots, that seem voyeuristic, "stolen" to couples and singles, portraits in everyday contexts, or tender sapphic relations surrounded by a delicate naturalness.

These new shots do not make exception, but the fact that this game of Kern by now has assumed the stale taste of a pretext, conceptually empty, and eventually revealing a false spontaneity, because made for the purpose.
The sexuality or the homosexuality alone are not anymore elements that can stand by themselves or to arouse further discussions or scandals, especially in the contemporary art scene.
If Kern won't grow, of his works nothing will remain but just the mere marketing of beautiful bodies, feminine in primis, this is to say an ordinary production of photographic shots that can be easily found between the many thousands of the innumerable erotic sites in internet, that often have an artistic value even superior to these proposed by Kern.

Indeed Kern does not betray his own origins as a photographer for porn sites.
The transfer to the world of the galleries of this style of eroticism and pornography typical of the internet sites is a unnecessary duty, and after one have seen the show he comes to wonder: that's all?
There is nothing to argue to the erotic photography world, when it has a certain artistic or social or intellectual value; but the Art surely does not have the need to get lost into such virtually endless, uniform and impersonal productions.
Other photographers like Terry Richardson at least propose contents that excite the observer in many aspects, and not only his testosterone.

As much as looking to beautiful naked girls can be a pleasure, one can not be indifferent if Art reduces itself into a banal commercial exploitation, now that the absence of every alleged spontaneity of these shots is evident; in this exhibition Kern also proposes a video that, without his intervention, has been produced and mounted by a girl that strips herself in front of her own web-cam; almost a desperate and useless attempt of Kern to insist on the theme of the spontaneity of the models.

In an epoch where an overwhelming consumerist mass-marketing has succeeded in putting a price and to have control on everything, even people, Art surely does not need ensign-bearers of this voracious machine. Kern instead seems to hinge his job exactly on this vulgar marketing, selling off this faked naturalness and turning the body of the model-actresses into toys for successful men. Surely that has always been a fact, and Art exists also to document the society; the topic changes if it is going to be celebrated.

Perhaps it is the time to ponder.

Image taken from
(photograph not present at the exhibition)

Jizaino -