Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I Thought That She Was Bigger: The Traveling Art of Michael Hughes

I think we are all guilty of taking cheap touristy pictures, despite knowing how tacky they are.  Michael Hughes, however, is elevating the tourist photo to high art, and making a career out of those snapshots.  Having captured the Leaning Tower in ice cream and the Eiffel Tower as a key chain, Hughes has trotted the world and has the pictures to prove it.  By utilizing tourist goods as the stand-ins for the landmarks we all know and love, Hughes takes a light-hearted jab at cultural imperialism and the whole superficial notion of a tourist's view of a foreign land.  The pharaohs would have been mortified that their monuments to immortality are now reduced to dinky, plastic, pyramids for slack-jawed visitors, and Hughes makes us realized that maybe we should feel the same way.  In the end, these photographs are as transient and fleeting as the crummy trinkets and renderings that serve as props.

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