Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Dorothy Bohm @ Manchester Art Gallery.

Image copyright Dorothy Bohm.

I am very aware that in writing about 'A WORLD OBSERVED' (or 'The World Observer' as THE GUARDIAN reported it) the Dorothy Bohm retrospective at Manchester Art Gallery, that I am reviewing the life's work of an octogenarian. That said there's the work of a septuagenarian across town that needs no pussy footing around so hey ho.

The show is curated by Bohm's daughter Monica, and the first thing that struck me was the indulgence at around 200 hundred prints many of which really shouldn't have found their way past the contact sheet. A WORLD OBSERVED is a suitably woolly name for an exhibition which seems to have no rhyme or reason. Starting with fairly typical 1940's portrait shots (I've seen similar shots of my Nan) that came out of STUDIO ALEXANDER the business she had in Manchester for a while, which as far as I can see it's that geographic link that's the only justification for taking over Manchester's premier art venue for the next few months. The show works chronologically through Mrs Bohm's life's work. We get some Black & White 6x6 pseudo Bresson 'decisive moment'. We move through sections on men, women, children, Polaroids colour, leading through to some truly awful colour pictures of Manchester shot in the last couple of years. And why oh why must we always have to have a selection of the camera's used on display? Do they show brushes or chisels when it's painters or sculptors? It's no bloody wonder the rest of the art world won't take photography seriously.

Even if you are in the camp that believes that galleries and museums are there to entertain rather than educate, this show would have no depth. Take away the historical/travel interest and there's nothing left. A celebration of at best the mediocre. If it's raining pop in but don't travel.

OK so now you can add Granny bashing to my list of crimes.

1 comment:

Studio54 said...

I'm intrigued now...will pop in for a moan (or otherwise!)