We were thrilled to receive a copy of the catalog for the Musée de l’Elysée show yesterday, a few days before the show opens to the public. I have to say I was taken aback when I saw how substantial it was; I don’t think I was expecting something quite so massive, more than 300 pages in length. It is an absolutely gorgeous piece of work. The partially transparent slipcover has an image of a photobooth curtain on it, and, when removed, it reveals a bright orange hardbound cover with the same text as on the slipcover embossed directly into the fabric. It has to be seen to be appreciated, and is the sort of tactile detail that reinforces my unease about the transition to digital books.
At first glance, the catalog is an impressive balance of text and images, with many iconic pieces well represented, from Warhol’s silkscreens to the Amélie–inspiring scrapbook of Michele Folco, from Dick Jewell’s found photos and André Breton’s self-portrait, as well as recent work by Danny Minnick, Marc Bellini, and others. I haven’t gone through it with a fine-toothed comb, but I look forward to discovering some unknown examples of photobooth art as I read it over.
The entire catalog is in French, and it’s quite something to see one’s work written so convincingly in a language one doesn’t speak. I thank the skillful translator for transforming my brief essays on photobooths in film into a nice-looking chapter near the end of the book.
The curators and scholars involved in putting this exceptional work together deserve hearty congratulations, and have created a work that will add immensely to the available body of knowledge about photobooths in history, art, and culture. Bring on the show!