Paul Druecke comes to theAurora Picture Show
this Saturday to celebrate the tenth anniversary of his "collaborative art project"A Social Event
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-- and put an end to it. "It's a little bittersweet," says the Milwaukee artist. "But, in the end, it's a massive, massive relief."
That's understandable, given the time and effort Druecke has put into the 700-photograph collection gathered from the albums of everyday people. In 1997, he began going door-to-door in Milwaukee, asking for snapshots. Of the first 200 houses, only 15 returned the envelope he left. The archive grew with word of mouth, but Druecke still says he spent a lot of time "calling people dozens of times and asking them to return the envelope."
Those who did may have had their snapshots featured in galleries as distant as the U.K. and magazines published as far away as Austria -- as well as in a few limited-edition books and on asocialevent.com. The project is like Found magazine or Post Secret without the voyeuristic thrill. We asked Druecke why there's such an interest in looking at other people's wedding and birthday pictures. "Everyone has photographs like these; they are part of everyone's lives," he says, adding that "for those of us who grew up in cities, there is this sense of collective space, that our individual experiences accumulate into something that is ours. Seeing these very individual photographs lined up like this has the same effect." --Nick Keppler
To find out the role of MySpace and flickr in ending this project, check out our Night & Day section�, which includes news of some other interesting endeavors, including a then-and-now look at Texas prisons, search for two female Parsees in North America who can act, and an art show dedicated to Houston created by people who've never been here.