House Proud

9.24.2008

By Jordan Hruska

When speaking with photographer Catherine Opie about her upcoming Guggenheim show, we were interrupted; she explained that she was getting her house appraised for painting.

'We were originally thinking chocolate-brown with robin's-egg blue trim, but then we remembered that we lived in Southern California, so we thought we'd invert it,' said Opie, referring to the way dark paint holds the heat.

Domestic details are important to Opie, who has focused her work on the microcosm of home, while also zooming out to document larger communities, which she explores in photographs in a retrospective exhibit at the Guggenheim. The holistic title 'Catherine Opie: American Photographer' is apt because her landscape and architectural photographs imbue America's built environment with a pathos characteristic of her well-known portraits of various American subcultures, children, and her own friends and family.

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