Controversy is guaranteed with ‘The Neighbors’, Arne Svenson’s last exhibition. This artistic photographer took pictures of the dwellers of a building close to his studio in New York. Very interesting work, but undoubtedly controversial too.
The inhabitants of this luxury building in the Tribeca neighborhood are really angry about this photography exhibition in a gallery in Chelsea. They just had no idea they were being photographed. From the second floor of the building across the street, the artist Arne Svenson secretly took pictures of his neighbors through his windows into theirs.
One of the subjects stated:“What about the kids? If he waits with his camera for hours, who knows what kind of pictures he has taken. I can identify stuff from my daughter’s room”.
On the other hand, the artist said: “I am not taking photos of the dwellers of the building, of specific subjects, I am photographing humanity. In fact, I make sure I don’t disclose their identity. The power of those photos steams from our identifying with the anonymous subjects from The Neighbors”
On his side, one of the managers of the Julie Saul gallery said to the AFP that she’d rather ‘not say anything’ about the controversy. On its website, the gallery describes the series ‘The Neighbors’ as a ‘social documentation’ which it qualifies as ‘voyeuristic and investigative’.
Here you have a video with some opinions about the controversy surrounding the exhibition.
What do you think about this series? Invasion of privacy or art? Do you think Svenson invades his neighbors’ privacy or is it just an artistic documentation of society?