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Andres Serano (of the NEA controversy) did a wonderful series of photos of
homeless people. I saw some of them exhibited at the Fine Arts Museum in
Santa Fe a few years ago. The prints were brilliant color portraits,
larger than life, and did not "objectify" the people. Instead, they made
the people too big to ignore, and clearly individuals.
If these works are not "objectified," I wonder what the implications of large,
brilliant, color photographs of people who can not afford roofs over their
heads in a museum space suggest? If the intent of creating the works and
displaying them was not--among other issues--to objectify the homeless, I am
sure Serrano and the Museum and its patrons regularly contribute to the
homeless cause, and the programming was created to contextualize these
Let us not forget the Mapplethorpe "double-edged sword:" can you truly
consider the works without factoring in both their artistic AND political
Elizabeth B. Reese
The Pennsylvania State University