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Photography Tue Mar 15 2011
There has been a lot of talk (and a little controversy) about nanny-cum-street photographer, Vivian Maier, whose work was discovered in 2007 when storage units containing it were emptied due to late payment and the work was sold to an auction house. Maybe you've even seen her exhibition at the Cultural Center (up through April 3). In a sense, she is our new Henry Darger--a talented Chicago-based outsider artist whose work has earned her posthumous fame. The difference is that her work is genuine documentation of the city and the people in it rather than the zany imaginings of a madman (not that there's anything wrong with that).
But just like the prices for Darger's work rapidly skyrocketed, Maier's are on their way up, and now you have a chance at a piece of the pie.
Russell Bowman Art Advisory is preparing to open an exhibit of Jeffrey Goldstein's collection of Maier's work on April 15, and 40 12x12" contemporary prints are now being offered for pre-sale, before the opening of the exhibition, for $1,800 each in a limited edition of 15. In addition to that, 10 vintage works (photos that Maier liked enough to have printed herself, while she was alive) are being offered for pre-sale for $5,000 each. The body of vintage prints is strikingly small, considering the immense volume of photographs Maier shot but never printed. Apparently, for her, it was the process of taking the photographs that tickled her fancy--not the finished product.
It is the finished product, however, that has seduced the rest of us. If you've got an extra grand (or five) laying around, you should probably buy a print now. If not, make sure to check out the exhibition at Russell Bowman next month to experience a long-gone Chicago vicariously through Maier's eyes.