Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

Guitar Fetish Photos at the Morrison Hotel Gallery

Photographer Jonathan Singer’s current exhibit at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in the old CBs Gallery space at 313 Bowery positions the guitar as lurid fetish object. It’s hardly a new concept, but he takes it to the next level. At the celebrity-packed opening last week, Duke Levine’s twangy noir instrumentals played in the background as the crowd ogled the dark-shadowed, Rembrandt-esque portraits – that’s how much dignity Singer accords these instruments. Most of them owned by famous rockers at one time or another, they’re worth literally millions of dollars: viewing this show is sort of the equivalent of a stroll through the most choice goodies at a specialty dealer like Retrofret. Taken out of context, the guitars themselves show their age, whether the worn-down frets on a late 50s Telecaster, the cracked veneer on the oldest mandolins and acoustics or the faded patina of a 1930s National Steel model.

As expected, most of the show comprises early models of iconic models: Telecasters, Strats, Gibsons and Gretsches, one of the most stunningly beautiful being Chet Atkins’ personal Gretsch with Bigsby tremolo bar and matching amp. But the most mouth-watering shots, unsurprisingly, depict the rarest models. A handful of National electric mandolins, a circle of vintage 1950s Kays, a Kustom, a trio of Elkos with their tone buttons shimmering in the low light, and a posse of Fender Jaguars all lend their dangerous curves to an atmosphere dripping with desire. There are also three acoustics hand-painted by Annie Haslam, whose lushly shapeshifting aquamarine landscapes make perfect sense in light of her decades-long career leading anthemic art-rockers Renaissance. The photo exhibit is destined for the Smithsonian, but signed, limited edition prints are available from the gallery. It’s currently showing in two locations, the gallery’s Bowery branch and 116 Prince St. location in SoHo, through mid-March.

February 14, 2011 Posted by | Art, photography, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments