Saturday, April 28, 2012

Thomas Demand's "Junior Suite"

That gruesome photograph of Whitney Houston’s last supper, first posted on TMZ shortly after her death, stuck in the visual memory of the German photographer Thomas Demand. There were the remains of room service delivered to her at the Beverly Hilton Hotel: a rolling table draped with a soiled tablecloth on which were a partially eaten hamburger and French fries, a Heineken can, a Champagne glass and a small white vase with purple flowers.“I don’t have anything to say about Whitney Houston,” Mr. Demand explained in a telephone interview. Rather, it was the way the shot itself had the quality of a 17th-century Dutch still life that intrigued him. The shot could be seen as an intimate glimpse of the circumstances surrounding Houston’s death, but to Mr. Demand it was more than that. It was also an impersonal setting: a hotel room that could have been anywhere, a meal that could have been ordered by anyone. His own version of the scene, called “Junior Suite,” is part of an exhibition opening on May 5 at the Matthew Marks Gallery on West 22nd Street in Chelsea. - CAROL VOGEL

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