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  • 2.0 star rating
    First to Review

    I had a fairly complicated experience with this gallery that will take a while to explain so please bear with me.

    When I went to Elizabeth Dee at the end of February there was a sign on the door warning people not to come in if they didn't want to have their photograph taken and put online. Ryan McNamara, the artist exhibiting there, was making all his viewers dress up in costumes and pose with props for pictures, so they weren't just his viewers but collaborators in his work who would eventually become viewers of themselves in the work. I thought it was a cool idea. I walked inside and got dressed up. I ended up wearing a denim jumpsuit by Armani and holding the end of a vacuum cleaner that was blowing out air to fan the long hair of this other guy who I didn't know. The photo came out really well! It was thoughtful of the artist and the gallery to put all the images online where people could see them and download them. I posted mine on Facebook and it got 27 likes, which is a lot for me! So I was very satisfied with my initial experience at Elizabeth Dee, except for one small thing: Seeing as how people were getting in and out of costume in the gallery I thought there should have been a changing area. I had taken off the jumpsuit and was in my underwear when Elizabeth Dee herself walked out of her office with a client and they saw me standing in the gallery half-naked. It was a little embarrassing--at least for me, maybe she was already used to it. Anyway, this could easily have been avoided if Ryan McNamara had strung up a curtain in the corner or something like that.

    A few weeks later all the photographs were cut up and incorporated in collage designs on various objects. I went back to Elizabeth Dee to check it out. There was an archway, jugs and vases, masks, canvasses, etc., all decorated with the results of the on-site photo shoots. It was all very nicely done and I had a fun time recognizing people I knew. Of course I was most interested in finding the picture of me and seeing what Ryan McNamara had done with it. When I finally found it... well, I was disappointed, to put it mildly. The photo was on a jug and my face spread over a curve. Apparently to get it on there they had to wipe out all my features, perhaps with glue.. it was hard to tell with the way the jug curved. So instead of me it was just the Armani jumpsuit with a warped blank spot for a head. I was sad because I looked really good in that photo, and also I felt slightly disturbed by the thought of that jug going to some art collector's house with my wiped-out face. Ryan McNamara's project was about photographing his audience so he shouldn't have let something like that happen to anyone who posed for him.

    I really liked the overall energy at Elizabeth Dee while Ryan McNamara's show was up but because of the problem with my face (and also the lack of the changing area) I unfortunately cannot give this gallery more than two stars.

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