Test One Two:
A Review of Thomas Struth's Video Portraits

by Tony Phillips

Forget Warhol’s 15-miuntes, this German photographer’s screen tests roll a full hour.

Time and Again
Creative Time, the public art collective that jump-started the “new” Times Square by turning over derelict theater marquees and storefronts to twenty artists in 1993, is at it again, this time on the Astrovision presiding over the famous square. Panasonic has donated the last minute of every hour of programming to Creative Time. They’ve passed it along to Thomas Struth, who in turn fills the screen with his compelling video portraits.

Behind the Scenes
The site of a monumental human face is visually arresting surrounded by so much faceless, corporate-logoed glut. Their particulars matter little, be they architect or art dealer, adult or child, each arrives at a particular brand of ennui that belies what came before. By only presenting his final minute, Struth shuttles us past the self-conscious fidgeting and delivers a quasi-blissed, meditative state. One would be hard pressed to find even blinking in subjects about as close to Nirvana as one can get before a lens. Their serene gaze floats out across the flashing neon and calms the pulse of a frantic city.