Thursday, November 19, 2009

Richard Kern

I briefly mentioned Richard Kern in my last post, and I thought I'd share some more Kern images for fun.

I first heard of Kern when he directed the Marilyn Manson video "Lunchbox", I was such a loyal little fan!  The good old days, when Marilyn Manson was still a good band. Aw, just listening to this song in the background while typing this gives me warm fuzzy feelings. Really.

Kern is primarily a portrait artist, though he dabbles in video direction and pornography. One might argue that any nude portrait is pornography, I would argue the opposite, and that's why I say he dabbles in pornography. Usually the subjects are just nude.

I think that Kern's portraiture possesses a unique vision that serves to express the human connection between himself and his subject, while recording subtle moments in cultural history. It is the voyeur in the artist's spirit that captures the subject in a portrait, while it is narcissism or a lack of objectivity that keeps that view out of self portraits. Not to say that one is better than the other, but it is interesting to see the way two portrait artists might capture the same individual in such different ways that the person may be unrecognizable between portraits. Somehow, the self portrait lacks this quality and ability - we as artists tend to capture only the self we wish to see.

He is part of a wave of artists (and average folk alike) that are taking nude photography out of studios and shady development labs into the mainstream home. The digital era has changed pornography and therefore our depictions of perversion; we can now find "anything" but also create "anything" we can imagine. An artist like Kern seeks to find new and dynamic ways of exploring these expressions that allows the viewer to think differently about sexual diversity, while maintaining his artistic credibility. These are not simply nudes for the sake of sexuality, perhaps the sexuality exists within the model, and Kern captures it, or it is projected by the viewer.


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