Jessica Craig-Martin (b. 1963)
Gramercy Park Hotel, New York, 2009,
Digital photographs mounted on aluminum and plexiglass,
Gift of the Alex Katz Foundation, 2009
Jessica Craig-Martin’s assignments as a photographer for Vogue magazine have gained her entry to many fundraisers attended by the rich and famous. At these events she explores the nature of the grotesque via shots of celebrities—or parts of them. Her cropped camera views cut to some less flattering details of dress, human flesh and interaction at parties, and reveal why she thinks that “Once you’re inside, the glamour evaporates.”
This photomontage of headless waiters and party-goers, possibly identifiable only by themselves, courses with a kind of humor. We are able to focus on candid bends of human joints and aspects of bodily adornment just as we are to step back and see a formal rhythm of shapes and tones that emerge from this dense hodgepodge. The abstract composition of nine images has a prominent diagonal flow of connecting elbows, necks and hands that moves from upper right to lower left corners. This zig-zag action is reinforced by lively patterns of interior furnishings and by the reflective surface gleam of skin, glass, and fabrics.
Craig-Martin grew up in New York and London, and knows many of her subjects. She has worked and traveled widely, and since 1999 has shown her work in over forty group and solo exhibitions. Her work is in collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art; the New Museum, New York; the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid; Colby College Museum; the Saatchi Collection, London, and the Progressive Corporation in Mayfield, Ohio.