San Francisco

Bobby Neel Adams

Force Nordstrom Gallery

Our sense of the grotesque changes as our relation to the body changes. With so much current discourse focusing on the history of the body, body manipulations, body invaders, and the obsolescence of the body, it is not surprising to see the grotesque becoming a prevalent art form again. This is especially true for photography, whose powers of controlled manipulation have redefined the grotesque for our time. As the evidential veracity of photography has become more and more questionable, many artists have foregrounded photographic manipulation as an “antique” conceit.

Whereas Doug and Mike Starn, for instance, de- and reconstruct the photograph in response to art history, Bobby Neel Adams responds to the body before him. In his current work, subjects are photographed from the waist up, nude, and the resultant black and white prints are then sliced, faceted, burned, excoriated, woven, punched,

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