Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Wedding @ Andrea Rosen Gallery

It is awfully nice to see a large selection of Walker Evans’s photographs on display at a blue-chip Chelsea gallery and even nicer to see him paired with current living art god Roni Horn in a large installation by an up and coming guest curator. Unfortunately, it is a selection of Polariods which, if you trust his third wife’s account of his working process, were in many ways note taking or at best the beginning of projects that he hoped to pursue but due to medical issues/drug addiction he wasn’t able to muster the focus or energy to follow through. This isn’t to discount Evans’s Polariods completely. They’re probably the best thing he did after the late 30’s, but they often feel unconsidered and lacking in the point of view that made his work of the 30’s so powerful. These defects in the Polaroids are highlighted by the curating of The Wedding, where the pictures are grouped into images of the same subject matter, where the pictures dance around the subject matter as if Evans is trying to figure out where to stand but never really figures it out.

The placing of Horn’s pictures of the back of bird heads on the wall tends to underline her deficiency as a photographer. Put them on a slender steel post with a portrait on the other side in a small space and they become a great installation. But putting four on the wall to break up Evans’s Polaroids, they become pretty uninteresting, because Horn is a killer installation artist who uses photography, not by any means a good photographer. Yet who could dislike a gothic birdcage and small church pews to go along with Evans architectural photographs?

Through Feb 4th


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