Filmmaker Chris Marker died recently. Hadn't paid much attention to his art career but felt moved to write this last year in response to a blog post smugly putting down his work:
This is the filmmaker who made La Jetee. A legend, yadda yadda, but readers might want to know how the iconic still photography in that and other earlier works compare to what he's doing now. Does his careful style of framing and eye for vernacular street scenes make the jump from "quasi-documentary" to "urban flaneur" modes of working? How much of the magic of his photos lay in chemical darkroom technology? That sort of thing.
From his Wikipedia bio I see he was a digital pioneer, and made an "art" CD-ROM in the '90s. Another avenue to explore in writing about him is how such (now dated) media have informed current so-called (and likely-soon-to-be-dated) image aggregators such as Tumblr, and where he fits in the spectrum.
Reviewing cliched writing in the press release is usually kind of a low blow. You are privileged to be in New York seeing the actual work--others have to travel here.
Images from the show in question suggest no diminution of the artists' powers late in life. (I didn't see them installed so this is a jpeg review.) The photos of random subway riders taken without their knowledge conjure painted portraits and religious icons (an unfortunate handful make this connection explicit by photoshopping in familiar masterpieces) but at the same time are as dynamic as cinema. Each photo inserts you at some fraught or charged point in a film-like narrative and you immediately find yourself working out the back story and conclusion. Answering a question above, connections to La Jetee's frame-by-frame style abound: in the dramatic angles, the lighting, the melancholy mood. Photoshop manipulation of light and saturation substitutes more than adequately for the chemical darkroom effects of the earlier work. It's what makes the imagery now rather than some emulation of the '60s. As for the Tumblr connection suggested by the original blog post: nah.