If Vermeer Hit Madison Ave.
This is a moment from a peuliar video shown at the Art Basel fair – and the only piece in it that moved my thoughts forward. The projection is called "Kersentijd (Cherry Season)"; it was made in 2012 by the Dutch artist Marijke van Warmerdam, who shows with Annet Gelink Gallery in Amsterdam and others in Oslo and Tokyo. Across its 2:25 of 35mm footage, the camera pans from a fancy bowl of cherries, shot like a painted still life, to the hand of the young woman eating them, to her mouth as she pops one in and then to her ear as she hangs a pair of cherries over it, with a nearby window reflected in one of the fruits. What I find most compelling is that van Warmerdam manages to use the language of advertising – the most potent visual language of our time – to achieve Old Master-ish, Vermeer-like effects. Or maybe it was Vermeer and his peers who invented that language, and passed it down to us.
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