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Tina Barney: The Europeans at The Barbican Art Gallery London

From: Freddy
Category: Art
Date: 11 March 2005


Worth seeing. The rich are different. They have more stuff and nice clean hair. The men wear sweaters over collared shirts, and well cut trousers. The woman are groomed for success and can wear expensive clothes unvulgarly. Barney claims in the very watchable video (more interesting than the photos?) accompanying the show that she makes no judgeents about the haute bourgeoisie she photographs, for she is one of them, knows them, and can only picture what she knows. Seems a bit false that. She uses terms like old money and the real mccoy already implying a judgmental hierachy which puts the old riche above the nouveaus. I sense she believes the old fallacy that money equals worth, and the longer you've had it the better, cleverer, more interestign you must be. Sadly it's true because the more you can buy the more you can do, and we all like stuff don't we.

The photos are divided up by country (italy, england etc) and so one is quick to read the titles and match assumptions of national identity to the clothes and bodies, the interiors are quite constant: old stuff, fabrics, paintings, all very cosily bourgeois. It's an important show because whatever its underlyingly snobbish assumptions, it shows us the ruling classes, and exposes us to the falsehood of our egalitarian society.

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