Sunday, April 25, 2010

Why is Jeff Wall famous?

My friend Rob lives near the park where Jeff Walls "Concrete Ball" was taken. Rob is friends with a struggling photographer (Christopher Young) not in the club of Jeff Wall alumnus. He posted this on his blog complete with picture of Rob. Enjoy the bitterness.

Why the hell is Jeff Wall Famous?

Or more to the point, why aren't I? Here's this Jeff Wall photo from 2002 called....wait for it......Concrete Ball. I've seen this displayed at VAG (backlit like a bus stop) and lots of people think it this photo is just tits. In fact, here's what the internets say about it:

"Based on a found scene, the quietness of Concrete ball reveals Wall's attention to pictorial composition. The concern here is not torepresent an event, but rather to depict a generic urban landscape, without specific qualities and devoid of any drama. The perspective is carefully calculated and the central element responds to the curve of the road. The large scale of the work, proportioned to the human body, evokes a sense of immersion in the scene."

Well that's just super. Meanwhile in 2009 times, Rob and I were walking past this park quietly (not so quietly) making fun of athletic people when I saw this. Jeff Wall has all this street cred for elaborately staging his photos so I figured I better do the same and I told Rob to stand by the ball and look all artful and shit. Somebody pay me for this.


  1. This is a work that stumps even the most "in the know" art people. Don't feel bad if you don't "get it."

  2. I think it's more to do with the actual work itself and not just a picture or scene. Standing in front of a large backlit transparency at history painting scale is the work in its entirety. A snapshot of the same scene is just that - a snapshot. Jeff Wall's work elevates itself, by theory, context (in a gallery), form, etc.

  3. You seem to be unaware of the rest of Jeff Wall's work. He is not famous solely based on this picture. He is incredibly influential in the photography world for redefining the role of photography, his original use of pictorialism and narrative, and his incredibly sophisticated social commentaries throughout his work. His intent is that his images seem casual and impromptu, but they are in fact incredibly calculated and thought out. You should take a look at his 2011 image titled "Boxing," then tell me you can replicate it.

  4. This is one of the most overrated photographer in the world.