Gary Lee Boas »
Exhibition: – 18 Oct 2008
Galerie Alex Daniels - Reflex Amsterdam
1017 RZ Amsterdam
1017 RX Amsterdam
Looking at work done in the seventies and eighties by the American photographer Gary Lee Boas, who became famous for his snapshots of celebrities, something odd happens to you. You start noticing other accents and details. Clearly you cannot ignore the 'portraits' of Dustin Hoffman, John Travolta, Aretha Franklin, Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor and all the others in this perpetual motion machine of stars. But they have become a point of departure. Now, in retroaction, the occasional passers-by and fans demand your attention. Take the shot of Henry Kissinger - in the background two women are looking pleased. They seem to be thinking - Golly, I didn't know he could write, isn't he clever! And the photograph of Jack Nicholson. You wonder - that mad woman in the background, is she his mother or his number one fan? Curious and funny - pictures of stars willy-nilly reduced to a supporting role because Gary Lee Boas was aiming his camera at some other star. This happens to Andy Warhol and Lucy Ball. Funny as well - photographs of stars that hadn't really become stars yet - Susan Sarandon, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Dustin Hoffman. And curious - stars holding cards with theirs names written on them. As if we didn't know Jack Nicholson, Julie Christie and Warren Beatty! But there is so much more to see in this monumental 'Louvre in snapshots' collection of Gary Lee Boas. For in his un-orchestrated portraits he manages to unveil the essence of stardom. Gary Lee Boas explains in a direct way why we, ordinary mortals, call these people stars. We do so simply because they shine. Take the Joan Collins' picture. Even as she passes by she shines, cliché as it may be. Or the photo of Anne Bancroft - seldom a more beautiful and natural picture was taken. Or the photographs of Jackie Onassis and Audrey Hepburn. In whatever situation Gary Lee Boas snaps them they will be glamorous. Glamorous not in the contemporary photoshopped and polished way, that makes every peasant and his wife stars in a five part reality show or televoting game, but glamorous by character, confidence, determination and, let us not forget, talent. Another, less glamorous, feature in the work of Gary Lee Boas are his portraits of people who try to achieve stardom in a roundabout way - something in which they rarely succeed. I.e. 'Hollywood in the gutter' or 'the world of porn'. It is much like watching 'the making of' Boogie Nights, the 1997 cult movie in which the world of sex and cocaine in the pre-aids and pre-condom era is depicted in such a degrading manner. Gary Lee Boas recorded it in all its crudeness. And still, you notice something that is becoming rare both - in the real and the would-be Hollywood - people enjoy doing what they have to do for a living. The stars don't take themselves too seriously. They do not have themselves surrounded by an army of public relations people and bodyguards. They're just doing their job. Also when they go to a premiere and use the rear exit to leave the theatre while being ambushed by 'star shooters' like Gary Lee Boas, whose pictures have developed into artistic photography in the mean time. If the above is not enough already, then there is still another reason to visit this exposition. For Gary Lee Boas also shows the origin of inspiration of prominent contemporary designers like Prada, Dior, Louis Vuitton or Marc Jacobs. That is why Galerie Alex Daniels sincerely encourages you to visit this second exhibition dedicated to the work of Gary Lee Boas. Galerie Alex Daniels and Gary Lee Boas cordially invite you to the vernissage on Friday September 13th 2008 from 4 till 6 PM. The artist will be present during the opening. The exhibition will close October 18th. A new book will be published for this exhibition.