Review: Grandfather-granddaughter photo show offers strong visual impact

JOHN BRANDENBURG
For The Oklahoman
Modified: February 4, 2013 at 3:24 pm •  Published: February 4, 2013
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photo - Self-Portrait at a Flea Market, Paris, France, 1966, by Stanley Marcus, Digtal pigment print
Self-Portrait at a Flea Market, Paris, France, 1966, by Stanley Marcus, Digtal pigment print

There is an intriguing contrast as well as some similarities between the photographs of Stanley Marcus and his granddaughter, Allison V. Smith, in their “Reflections” show at [Artspace] at Untitled, 1 NE 3.

The exhibit contains smaller pictures of people and other subjects by the former president of the luxury brand Neiman Marcus, who died in 2002, and larger, square format photos by Smith, a Dallas photojournalist.

The color pictures of Marcus, “discreetly made during his international travels for the company,” or portraying family and friends, have an informal, unforced documentary quality, which makes them especially memorable.

In a photo of “Vice President Lyndon Johnson,” taken at his ranch in early 1963 by Marcus, the future president has an intent expression, at odds with his casual seated posture and gold, short-sleeved, almost exotic sports shirt.

Nearly surreal is Marcus’ 1964 photo of several serious looking men, seated in a bar or café, under round-topped, umbrella-like hanging lamps, wearing “the Stetson Made Famous by LBJ.”

There is something a bit surreal, too, about his photo of the backs of two priests as they look at Roman ruins, whose black hats and long black robes make their bodies almost seem to be joined, like twins.

The same might be said of his 1957 picture of the back of a woman, wearing a black dress, looking down, somewhat askance, at parts of two unclad mannequins, used in something called “the French Fortnight” in Dallas.

Capturing the spirit of travel nicely are Marcus’ photos of a Cadillac being lowered below deck on the Queen Mary in 1948, and of a quaintly charming merry-go-round, with small houses for seats, at “A Fair in Milan” in 1957.

Equally eye-catching — and holding — are many of the pictures of people by Marcus.

The dark suit worn by Christian Dior creates a striking contrast with the exotic pattern of fabric behind him, as the designer smokes a cigarette, with one hand in his pocket, at his Paris apartment, in a 1954 Marcus photo.

His wife sits with two female friends, wearing straw hats purchased at the market in Acapulco, the warm colors of their pink skins balancing the cool blue of the ocean behind them, in a 1962 picture by Marcus.



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