Jill Greenberg doesn’t give a shit about anyone. She’s taking photos of people vomiting, monkeys taking dumps and peeing at the same time, severed testicles, decapitated bodies–lots and lots of fucked up shit. She isn’t just doing portraits or exploring the worlds underneath pool swimmers anymore: she’s fucking the notions we have of her–and it is amazing.
This past Saturday at Culver City’s Katherine Cone Gallery, the gallery shared the latest from the famed photographer. The show–entitled Commentary And Dissent–is a brilliant mindfuck that is irreverant, beautiful, and defies what you think photography can do. Right when you walk in, you are greeted with an outtake from her Monkey Portraits, which has a chimpanzee going number one and numer two before the camera’s lens. To your right, a trio of delights: a man taking a wee in his own mouth, two bros vomiting neon liquids (including UCB’s own James Pumphrey), and a nude svelte man with the head of a decapitated pig covering his privates. As you keep turning you see the decapitated body of an overweight person, fighting women, a gnarly grizzly bear, and–the biggest treat–two testicles, all pink and purple and blue, sitting on what could be a trashbag.
The show was packed, with people idling to gawk at the work, taking photos on their phones to undoubtedly send to friends (to shock them) who were not at the show: everyone wanted to break the news that Jill was fucking with everyone’s notions of who she is and what her work is. Moreover, all of her pieces here–which are photos–did not for a minute look like photos, specifically the more non-objective, non-human photos. The severed pigs head, the grizzly bear, the dead body: they look like paintings. Her work blown up and pumped up in contrast, set to stark black or glowing grey backgrounds, are breathtaking. The concepts are not new, of course; however, they seem so completely insane all in one room and all as photographs. They are all still-lives from a modern mind.
We were super, super lucky to be able to see the show and, if you are Culver City between now and early February, you MUST, M U S T, stop into see the show. It’s one that shows a very mainstream artist at her most vulnerable and most fucked up and deserves your viewing. 2012 may just be beginning, but this is one of the year’s must see shows. Mark our words!