Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Maria Antonietta Mameli / Night @ Bruce Silverstein

Tod Papageorge once said that photographing at night was like shooting fish in a barrel, and this show at times makes that case, especially in the work of Ilse Bing and (due to the selection) Kertesz. This, of course, is not an issue for Brassai’s pictures, which never fail to shine in shows like these. It is amazing that a man who spent most of his energies photographing debauchery, a 1930’s Dash Snow or Larry Clark, could become through the cultural filter of time the stuff of Museum postcards. The most impressive part of the grouping are the more risqué pictures of the much-underrated Robert Doisneau, known mostly for ubiquitous posters of The Kiss. But before his presence on the wall of every freshman girl’s dorm room, he was Bresson’s favorite photographer and apparently rather randy.

Galleries wouldn’t be able to make their rent if it weren’t for completely ridiculous work like Mameli’s and that of Atta Kim, Loretta Lux, and Paolo Ventura that looks like edgy art to those with no knowledge of contemporary photography. If this is what it takes to get some nice Doisneaus out of the closet, then my hat’s off to the contemporary photo hack. Keep on keeping on.

Through June 4th
Bruce Silverstein (529 W 24th St., Btw. 10th & 11th Ave)


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