Archival pigment prints
11 X 14 in
Limited edition of 10 +2AP
Book available here
“I imagine it: Alejandro creeps around the beach town, peeking into people’s homes. He looks, and lurks. We see a neighborhood watch sign. And peeper photos from above. Ronald Reagan pops up twice. But now he’s a metaphor for Donald J Trump, our current huckster-in-chief, a reality television celebrity rather than a B-movie star. We see wildfires. Burning, burning. And beauty queens. Satellite maps, historical photos, and a newspaper headline about dead children, but no gun reform. (Santa Barbara had its own mass shooting a couple of years back, and a photo alludes to that as well.) When Alejandro saw Santa Barbara’s red tile roofs and stately State Street, the big houses with sea views, he wasn’t fooled.
The wealth here is built on quicksand, the pictures in this book are saying, and we better watch out. I’m also drawn to the historical paintings. Given his residency, I’m sure they come from the museum’s collection. But he didn’t shoot the pretty sunset paintings. Rather, we see two executions, recording the very moment before a head was chopped from its body. (Foreshadowing the death of Democracy?) Cheerleaders and beach boys get brief mention, but make no mistake. This is a disquieting group of pictures. It’s not for me to say, whether the first part anticipated the rise of Trump. Certainly, it came out before the election. Ultimately, that’s what art like this does. It screams loudly, “Hey, you fools, look at this. Your world is a tinderbox, and if you don’t get wise quick, it will all burn to ashes. In a flash”. — Jonathan Blaustein