By Alyson Jurgovan
The Gage Gallery has opened its newest exhibition, One Percent: Privilege In A Time Of Global Inequality. The gallery hosted an opening reception from Myles Little, Time magazine senior photo editor and curator on Feb. 11 to kick off the spring exhibit.
Getting the collection to Gage Gallery has been one year in the making and is particularly unique in that it is the first exhibit that has been printed in house, according to Mike Ensdorf, director of the Gage Gallery.
Little, who has worked on the project for two years and shown it on every continent, began the reception with a generous description of each piece; giving his audience an understanding of the metaphorical meaning behind each saturated image.
Little was inspired by the fact that American culture is knowledgeable of the massive wealth of figures like athletes and celebrities, but ultimately unaware of the much larger wealth of CEO’s.
The images in the galley explore themes of modern-day luxury and how society worships opulence, but in reality, the majority will never experience it.
Aesthetically, the collection is bold and glossy. This is no accident, as the message behind each photo is one of extravagant consumption, capitalism and consumerism.
The lavish images are often composed of average objects, a moth or a car, for instance, showing that perception of beauty is a mirage of something that is much more simple.
The collection plays on the idea of allure, which is ironic considering the allure of the collection itself. The photos present a bit of a conundrum, having rich images composed of vibrant colors and tantalizing shapes, but their purpose is to expose the gluttony of that exact feeling.
Nonetheless, Little aims to show the connection (or lack thereof) of today’s top wealth holders to the majority and poses the question, who worked harder for their money?
“We don’t know, as a society, how unequal we have become. We have no idea how rich the rich are in this country. I’m aiming to co-op the language of privilege, of good craftsmanship, of distance, but use it to critique privilege,” Little said.
For viewers, Little’s message was loud and clear.
“The creative depictions of the environmental cost for the few wealthiest members of our society was as beautiful as it was disturbing,” said Brittany Anderson, a senior at Roosevelt.
The collection opens up a dialogue about income problems that have existed for some time, and recently have become mainstream discussion.
Little successfully lifts the veil on the one percent through his exhibit.