So I went to SFMOMA for the Olafur Eliasson. But as luck would have it, the Jeff Wall touring exhibit opened just a few days prior. All I can say is WOW. I’ve seen individual works by Wall in the past and the back-lit photographs always impress. Imagine walking into a gallery with five or six works. Then multiply that by five or six galleries. It’s almost overwhelming.
Wall’s works are a big reminder that good, old-fashioned photography still trumps today’s nifty digital tricks. Some of his works that use visual trickery are so seamless in their creation that it’s hard to believe they were created in the 70s, well before the advent of Photoshop.
Most use no trickery. Instead, they are beautifully conceived, well staged, and meticulously crafted. Take A Sudden Gust of Wind. You can almost feel the wind blowing through the gallery. My favorite work, Restoration, went on forever.
Sometimes, photography can get old fast. But in the tradition of the 20th century’s best photographers like Gursky, Sherman, Demand, and Minter, Wall dazzles the viewer—and not just with his technical prowess. The content unnerves, surprises, perplexes, and occasionally creeps you out.