February 9, 2012
Juergen Teller’s New Show Features Photographs of Kristen McMenamy, Vivienne Westwood, and More
By Katherine Bernard
This Friday, as New York Fashion Week kicks into gear, an audience for whom the name Juergen Teller brings to mind a decade of Marc Jacobs ads and the flash-lit flowers of his recent Céline campaign can experience the photographer’s richly imagined personal work in a new exhibition at Lehmann Maupin gallery in New York. “Juergen Teller” showcases new photographs (2009–2011) from three recent art series. A set of provocative studies of Kristen McMenamy, shot in the home of the late Italian architectural icon Carlo Mollino, conjures Mollino’s fascination with the erotic through McMenamy’s untamed persona. “Keys to the House” is composed of images taken in and around Teller’s home in Suffolk. Intimate photographs of close friends, family, and deserted landscapes feature Teller’s signature pale light with dusty beiges and bright pops of chroma, repurposing an aesthetic that Teller fans have come to associate with high glamour. We see more of Teller’s interest in capturing the fabric of daily life in “Men and Women,” which comments on power and virility at different ages, through portraits of Vivienne Westwood, photographer William Eggleston, and Teller’s young son, Ed. The spontaneity of these images, often shot in unexpected environments, makes their imperfections seem pointed and brings out the emphasis on personality that characterizes Teller’s oeuvre. (His portraits of his son, for example, show Ed “working out” animatedly, dwarfed by exercise equipment in a home gym.) Together, the works in all three series display Teller’s range, flexing his muscles as an accomplished photographer reveling in artistic freedom.