‘The Keeper’ Looks At Disconnected Outsiders – But the Show’s Soul Is Hyperconnected

THE DAILY PIC: At the New Museum, thousands of objects speak of an idiosyncracy that we've lost.

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THE DAILY PIC (#1597): “The Keeper,” a thematic exhibition that opened two days ago at the New Museum in New York, is full of irresistibly fascinating objects, mostly by outsiders of one kind or another but also by a few artistic pros. The overwhelming emotion in the show is nostalgia, for an unconnected era when people’s fantasies could take them in peculiar directions, with no concern for the reaction on Twitter.

Today’s Daily Pic is an image from a late 20th-century project in which the photographer Zofia Rydet went out to document as many Polish homes as she could, mostly in the country’s hinterlands. Idiosyncrasy is the connecting aesthetic in all the interiors she found, as it is in most of the pieces now at the New Museum.

But even as I looked back at the simpler moments that many of the objects in the exhibition spoke of, I was struck more than anything with the way that technology and hyperconnectedness were the show’s true guiding forces.

Could Ydessa Hendeles, of Toronto, really have gathered together her thousands – and thousands, and thousands – of amazing old photos of teddy bears without access to Google and EBay and email and Paypal?

Without the latest in communications networks, would Massimiliano Gioni, the lead curator behind “The Keeper” – “keeper,” by the way, is the old British term for “curator” – have heard about the accidental discovery, in Austria, of Peter Fritz’s 387 hand-made models of houses?

Just as Ansel Adams’s images of empty, untechnologized nature may really have born witness to the arrival of the automobile and high-end photo tech, so the pre-Internet objects in “The Keeper” may actually tell us most about the wired age the show’s audience lives in – and sometimes pretends to escape. (© Zofia Augustyńska-Martyniak. Courtesy Fundacja Sztuk Wizualnych and Zofia Rydet Foundation)

 For a full survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive.


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