Lunchtime Photo

This photograph, Untitled 17, is an ironic commentary on the current state of ironic commentary in modern photography. It is, after all, not merely a banal picture of modern human civil engineering captured with a banal example of modern human consumer electronics. It is that, of course, but, ironically, what it represents is the most singular and miraculous condition of the human species throughout history: thirst. But not the quotidian thirst of a lion for its prey or a mosquito for a bare arm in summer. It represents thirst on a grand scale, thirst so essential and so vast that it can never be sated. Not even by 10 million gallons of suburban water treated to meet federal requirements for purity and trace metal content. It is this sort of thirst that distinguishes man from beast; a raging and, for most of us, ultimately unknowable longing for dominion that pushes the unwary to the inky edge of death, but ultimately allows an architect to create the Parthenon, a writer to dare use a semicolon, or Microsoft to produce Excel.

And yet, in the end, this representation of the most human of all desires is reduced to nothing but pixels, the most evanescent of all man’s creations. It is appropriate, then, that these pixels, in turn, be reduced to money, the most concrete of all man’s creations.

A 6 x 20-foot gelatin on metal print of this photograph will be auctioned next month at Christie’s with a reserve price of $1 million. Please contact them directly if you wish to be involved in the bidding. You are all my dear friends, but I’m afraid that asking me for a “favor” because this image would look great over your new sofa is quite out of the question. But don’t take it badly. This is business, not personal.

January 6, 2019 — Lake Forest, California

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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