|In the late 1970s young artists aspired to work outside the traditional art world. They wanted to be more in touch with life, reach new audiences, and achieve success with low-priced art that could appeal to a mass audience. Those were some of the goals behind the series of “A More Stores” organized by the artists’ group COLAB in the early 1980s. James Fuentes’ gallery now spotlights this moment with the online exhibition “No More Store!”
You Want Your Picture With Me? Only 6 Guilders by the conceptual photographers Bettie Ringma and Marc H Miller (of Gallery 98) is a product of this milieu. After moving to the Netherlands in 1979, the pressure to earn a living encouraged the two to more fully embrace the populist goals that other downtown New York artists were flirting with. For the next year Ringma and Miller sold Polaroid portraits in the bars of Amsterdam. This portfolio captures a part of that experience.
Now shown in an art context and grouped together, these pictures of Bettie with the men (and one woman) who asked to have their pictures taken with her, function quite differently than they did in their original street context. The essence of the deal that Ringma struck then was, “You pay 6 guilders, we take two pictures, you get one, and we get the other.” The men could tell their stories about the photos; and Ringma and Miller can tell their own story.
A large collection of Bettie Ringma and Marc H Miller’s original Amsterdam Polaroids were recently acquired by the Amsterdam City Archives. This photo portfolio with 10 digital prints was created in 2018 in an edition of five. It can be purchased through James Fuentes.