Guzman Revisits Kurt and Courtney

A picture containing text, wall, indoor, bed

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Guzman, Kurt Cobain In Bed, Los Angeles, 1992, Archival Ink on Mulberry Paper, 32 x 22 inches

Portraits are collaborations between the sitter and the artist. Sometimes the artist can be overwhelming or patronizing but in most cases the sitter’s vision of how they would like to be seen now and in perpetuity wins out. This is particularly seen in cases of well known personalities. Prime examples are the portraits of Andy Warhol exposing his scars after being shot to both Alice Neel and Richard Avedon. In these vastly different images Warhol clearly wanted the world to know what had been perpetrated against him and how his suffering lingered. When the portraits are images of celebrities, particularly those in the last few decades, the public has a strange sense of possession, teetering on full-blown obsession. The success of the portrait hinges on several factors from the artist including generosity, intelligence, empathy, skill, and creative facility. Fortunately this is what is on exhibition at LABspace in Hillsdale NY, Kurt and Courtney, by collaborative photography duo Guzman. Guzman is made up of Constance Hansen and Russell Peacock. In their 30+ years of photography they have solidified a reputation across all genres from conceptual and documentary work to bringing cool, enlightened, humanizing aesthetics to the commercial worlds of fashion, advertising, and celebrity portraits. As summed up in a recent discussion about their work, Constance Hansen said the intent is not to make a mean photo, but a photo that embraces the person.

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