Thursday, June 7, 2012

Harry Wilkins Lives On

Last year, I posted a project that I completed a decade ago featuring a fictional character named Harry Wilkins.  In many ways, I still consider that series a prelude to the Marilyn Monroe photographs. A nameless person collected random lithographs from the 1950s or 1960s and stapled them together to form a narrative (Jesus to naked ladies to churchgoing families). This is the last image in the series:

When I was in Chicago over Memorial weekend, I was in a very peculiar and highly recommendable store called Woolly Mammoth.  I was shocked to discover the same family in a very different context:

It was one of those weird moments when everything I ever thought an image meant was disrupted and turned upside down. There was no perversity in the lithograph on this fan. It looked like something a religious woman would use while sitting in the pews of the church in a building lacking air conditioning. It did not have the redemptive quality of the stapled images found years ago. It was "normal" and suddenly that was the strangest moment of it all.


  1. hi there,
    my wife and i own woolly mammoth, and i stumbled upon your post. it is very interesting to see that image elsewhere. i'm not sure if you turned the fan over, but it actually from a funeral home.
    i always sort of thought that the fan once belonged to a segregated funeral home.
    either way, very interesting.

  2. so nice of you to leave this comment! in all likelihood i did turn over the fan but was so startled by the front of it, i forgot the info about the funeral home. thanks for the insight. i love to hear other people's interpretations of the same image. next time i'm in chicago, i will stop by again.

  3. great!
    see you then!


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