Erasing Robert Frank with Photoshop: Is it art?

henner_4.jpg

“Le quatre juillet”, originally by Robert Frank, then mostly eliminated using Photoshop.
From the self-published photobook “Less Américains” by © Mishka Henner, 2012.

Appropriation in the practice of making “new” art has been around for a long, long time — and often with very exciting results and a fair amount of controversy.
When I heard about this “remake” of Robert Frank’s classic photobook, The Americans, I had a glimmer of hope that it would reveal some overlooked details in Frank’s photographs, thereby increasing my appreciation even more.
At least the new title was funny, shifting the original French title, Les Américans, to a jokey mixture of English and French, Less Américains. The whole idea hinges on the removal of most of the details of every image from the classic book by erasing them with Photoshop.
But in the final analysis, it feels like a cheap gimmick and a publicity stunt. See more erased images, and read the review in Lens Culture.