Sunday, January 2, 2011

Collier Schorr, Journals & Notebooks @ 303 Gallery

Well, if last month was the high point for photo abstraction shows, then this is the month of Ethridge-esque collections of random photographs that revolve around a less-than-apparent subject matter. I wouldn’t usually think to put Collier Schorr in that camp, but the show really takes for granted that the viewer is aware of her long-standing project photographing Germany.  

Flowers supported by strings, corners of the artist’s studio, empty seats in a stadium and bookshelves do come off as random. Which reduces the work to a commentary on contemporary photography instead of an investigation of German-ness. This isn’t to say the show doesn’t have merit. The photographs are often eloquent, and I found myself absorbed, deciphering the pictures in hopes of finding a coherent meaning.

Hidden amongst Schorr’s mystifying photographs is a wonderful video of a handsome, slender European boy in a bathing suit trying to get up from a blanket in a crowded park. It is hard to tell if he is developmentally challenged or has a neurological disease, but he seems unable to stand up. Or at the least unable to focus on getting up. His eyes dart around as he moves in slow motion, continuously changing his position and point of view until a pair of legs bumps into him, making it very apparent that both viewers and the artist have been watching the boy for some time without offering assistance.

Through Dec. 4th
303 Gallery (547 W 21st St. Btw. 10th & 11th Ave.)


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