Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.

Beau Torres

Jul 15, 2015 - Jeremy August Haik

I recently saw a performance Beau Torres gave in NY and thankfully it was well documented so I can bring it you here in this video. During this performance, Beau walks the audience through the pseudo-theory he's created called New New Photography (now in version 2.0) and during the performance he assembles a still life which he then photographs. His performance sits somewhere between theory and comedy; clichés from the language photo-theory abound in his transcript but are then transformed into jokes about their very cliché-ness. For me, Beau's performance was a smartly accurate (and funny) take on the conflicting pressures of academic language and intuitive expression facing students in art school: [vimeo video_id="133406538" width="746" height="420"] Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the performance: "The idea of an idea is only an idea and not really anything" "Between me and you, the Corinthian column is the only column. Doric and Ionic I just can't get behind. it took them a while but the third time's the charm right?" I asked Beau how performance functions in his work differently than other mediums. He said this: When working on this most recent performance I was considering disparate elements like: critique of graduate art education, instructional/tutorial videos, and my love of aesthetics, the beach, geometry, etc. With New New Photography 2.0 I could bring everything together nicely in a lecture that was humorous despite its didactic undertone. The stage presence of Bob Ross was the inspiration for the first episode of New New Photography whilst 2.0 drew more from Andrea Fraser's Museum Highlights. It was my hope that my delivery made the audience feel like they were in on the joke as opposed to being the butt of it (as some contemporary art is bound to do). Beau's work extends in multiple directions beyond performance; his current project is called Playing Atget. Here's what he has to say about it: The project I've been working on most recently is a series of photographs entitled Playing Atget. While working on my thesis collage videos I was introduced to the performance work of Stuart Sherman, and started to see my work as a mere rehash of something amazing made before my time. I feel there's something universal in this want/need to create something original, but often finding someone else has done it already, better than you ever will. From this perspective (and, frankly, a reason to get out of the studio and return to walking) I decided to take on a master street photographer head-on. While I was filming the collages I developed an interest in parallel planes and the impossible notion of bringing them together. Who better to imitate than Eugène Atget, whose window display pictures are a sophisticated play on straight photography's innate nature of flattening our three-dimensional world in the picture plane. In these photographs parallel planes touch; it's about what's in/on the glass. Beau's website (which Google thinks is in French...I find this funny) can be found here