The first time I saw one of Wolfgang Tillmans’ photos, I was in Chicago. Standing in the center of a gallery’s dance floor, I tasted what seemed like the sea as my tongue slipped from a man’s mouth and found its way to his neck. Even at 6 ft. 4 in., I was still dwarfed by Tillmans’ work.
I didn’t know this then, but Tillmans has the unique ability to take his viewer through histories and timelines both real and imagined, as seen in his recent traveling retrospective, “To Look Without Fear.” He brings us into his memories and by extension brings us closer to our own.
Tillmans has also documented pop culture’s most significant figures, from Kate Moss to Frank Ocean. In doing so he is shaping our present, past, and future culture with that same liminality that makes his angular, intimate portraiture feel like artifacts of both his past and ours.
Harris is a Tony-nominated playwright
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