Saturday, October 22, 2016

Eggleston plays Eggleston on his Bösendorfer

William Eggleston, the widely acknowledged master of color photography as a unique modern art form, grew up in the tiny Mississippi Delta hamlet of Sumner and has lived much of his life in Memphis. A college drop out, he was a student at the University of Mississippi in Oxford when visiting artist Tom Young introduced him to abstract expressionism. Young went on to become the founding chairman of the University of New Orleans art department, and Eggleston, via his epochal 1976 MoMA exhibition, became the catalytic avatar of new color photography. His lyrically deadpan vision mingles the Zen roots of abstract expressionism with a pop sensibility derived from the everyday flourishes of his Deep South home turf, a new Americana that amounts to a minimalist distillation of life as it is lived--a very pure form of vision that harks not only to abstract art but to the musical legacy of ambient minimalism, John Cage and the 12 tone expressionism of Berg and Schoenberg--hints of which can be heard here if you listen closely. But mostly what you hear is the ethereal inner music of a truly transformational American artist. ~Bookhardt