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An Escape

This work of art is complex because it is both concrete and abstract. In the photograph, a woman is lying on the bed half naked. Even though she is on a bed, she doesn’t look comfortable. Her legs are bent up against the wall and both of her arms are underneath her. Though she is staring at the camera, she does not seemed focused. She looks extremely exhausted, as if she just came back from partying and has not gotten any sleep. Furthermore, it looks as if the picture was taken while she was in motion, showing her restlessness.

When I first looked at this work, I immediately thought of death. I thought of the soul being ripped from the body or life evaporating. Then I sat and pondered for a while and came up with a better thought: a temporary escape. People often try many things to escape the strain of everyday life—excessive partying, drugs, alcohol, sex—but what if it was possible to escape your everyday life by just abruptly leaving that shallow structure we call the body? What if you could just float around and look at the life around you? What if you could go and see what everyone else was doing? That would be the ultimate high.

A poem insipred by Nicole, Sunnydale Avenue (II) (2006):

An escape
Is what everyone is trying to find—
To flee from the troubles that burden us,
Our bodies and our minds.
Alcohol and partying won’t do the trick,
And neither will drugs or sex.
But that just leaves me wondering
What will we think of next?
Well, I’ve finally thought of something,
Even though it’s nearly impossible to do.
Your soul should leave your body.
And my soul should leave mine too.
Then we will have accomplished freedom
And reached the ultimate high.
It sounds great, but in order to do this
You’d have to be willing to die.

By Porscher

Katy Grannan, Nicole, Sunnydale Avenue (II), 2006, printed 2007  2008.20
Katy Grannan, Nicole, Sunnydale Avenue (II), 2006, printed 2007. Pigment print mounted to plexiglass, 39 3/4 × 50 in. (101 × 127 cm). Edition no. 1/6. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from the Photography Committee  2008.20
Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco and Greenberg Von Doren Gallery, New York