© Man Ray Trust / ADAGP, Paris 2018

Can the art world appropriate photographic commissions as art pieces?

“Madame, pleurez au cinéma, pleurez au théâtre, riez aux larmes, sans crainte pour vos beaux yeux…”

This tagline probably doesn’t ring a bell, but the photo attached, « Glass Tears », is a masterpiece of Man Ray (1933). We wouldn’t have been able to enjoy this prestigious artwork without the commission of a mascara brand.

It thus seems legitimate to explore the fuzzy borders between art and commercial works. Can the advertising market borrow art standards or does the commissioned artist remains limited to commercial, advertising selling standards? Can both industries create unique iconic artworks? What is the role of a commissioner?

Following Ooshot’s reflexion, Paris Photo proposed to lead a discussion on this topic at the Paris Photo 2018 edition.

The discussion was led by Christoph Wiesner, Art Director of Paris Photo with following guests: Thierry Maillet, co-founder and Managing Director of Ooshot, Florian Ebner, Chief Curator of The Centre Pompidou, Oliviero Toscani, photographer and David Furst, International Picture Editor at the New York Times.

You can view the video here which shows the vast terrain yet to be explored.



Thierry Maillet