Sunday, August 1, 2010

Jerrems at MGA and Heide

There are two great opportunities in Melbourne at the moment to consider the significant legacy of one of the city's most important photographers Carol Jerrems (1949-80). A large survey of Jerrems' photographs opened yesterday at Heide Museum of Modern Art. Up close: Carol Jerrems with Larry Clark, Nan Goldin and William Yang draws on a range of public and private collections to build a convincing picture of Jerrems as a great photographer whose work engaged keenly with the politics and style of Melbourne's avant-garde during the 1970s. MGA is showing a series of pictures made recently by Lyndal Walker and Concettina Inserra that draw on the legacy of Jerrems, Taking pictures some time later.

The series presents portraits of Walker and Inserra's milieu, each holding a print of their earlier photograph "Pole Street" (2000), which restages Jerrems' most famous picture "Vale Street" (1975). Also included is a 1976 photograph of Jerrems' friend Juliet holding a print of "Vale Street", itself the point of origin for Walker and Inserra's recent series. We get a clear sense of the influence of Jerrems for later generations of artists. Lyndal and Tina's photographs also suggest that the gender and sexual politics indicated in Jerrems' work, with the hopes it placed in cultural practice as a driver for social reform, remains a work in progress.


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