Saturday, March 5, 2011

Christopher Williams, For Example: Dix-Huit Lecon Sur La Societe Industrielle @ David Zwirner

The grandfather of the random assortment of pictures is back with a vengeance, and he won’t take your shit no more. Or at least not let you make any easy reading of his work. The show starts off with a cute black and white snapshot of kids playing on a sculpture and then leads into more familiar territory for Christopher Williams, bisected cameras, an unspectacular building (if I remember from past shows, this is the location of the camera company that makes the bisected cameras), a light meter with an out-of-focus subject, some apples, bisections of window panes, a full window, a darkroom sink, a heel that is too beat up to actually be in the apparent sock ad, and most puzzling of all a bale of hay. Now I can try do some free association with Szarkowski’s lecture on Stieglitz and Sanders, hinging on their pictures of apples, or the prominent use of RGB in Williams’ color pictures or the means of the production or the illusion that is photography, but Williams has taken that on himself with a press release whose meaning is even more elusive than the pictures. It is conceptualism as performance art. And at the end of the day, the work on the wall has enough content for the pictures to stand on their own as beautifully crafted objects that are just as puzzling as the real world. Looking for reason in Williams’ work is a fool’s errand. What Williams invites is looking, and photography at its purest. 

Through Feb. 12th
David Zwirner (519 w 19th St. Btw. 10th & 11th Aves.)


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