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‘Fragile Beauty’

I went to see this overcrowded exhibition of photographs at the V&A. It’s an oddly curated selection of photographs from the Elton John and David Furnish collection.

The blurb claims that the exhibition ‘tells the story of modern and contemporary photography’—I don’t really think it did.

There were a lot of brilliant and arresting images in the collection, but there didn’t seem to be a thread, story or argument to the curation. Perhaps there wasn’t supposed to be—perhaps the point is just to appreciate the photographs. I found it a bit unsatisfying.

But here’s something I took away: four images of the American flag from different time periods. I think this is an interesting series to contemplate: I’d have displayed them together, but the curators had other ideas.

So take the following series of images as some guerrilla curation—and perhaps the series will play on your mind as it has on mine.

Untitled by Larry Clark, 1971.

American Flag by Robert Mapplethorpe, 1977.

Flag by Mitch Epstein, 2000.

Untitled (confetti #8) by Roe Ethridge, 2012.

Fragile Beauty continues at the V&A until 5 January next year.

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7th June 2024.

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