As much as the show at Robert Henry might be too formal for my liking, Wessel Castle is a little too artistic (in the pejorative) for my liking. But again, the presence of two different photography shows at 56 Bogart seems like a real tipping point for photography finding a foot hold in Bushwick, and I am psyched. Now, don’t get me wrong. I very much like the photographs in the show. They do a good job of highlighting the absurdities of the random signs and objects seen along the long stretches of well-traveled road between populated destinations in the more spread-out parts of our country. The pictures often abstract these oddities into attractive but perplexing markers of humanity and culture.
There is a wonderful artist book on sale at the gallery that reprints many of the pictures form the show on colored paper, even further abstracting, highlighting and disorienting these common road-trip scenes. My issue comes more with the sculptural aspect of the show, where an image is displayed in an upside down plastic storage bin or framed in what appears to be a protective wrapping of some sort. Others are stacked on shelves like the art on sale at Ikea. There might a conceptual explanation for all of this, but none of it was apparent from being in the space. Nor did the sculptural gestures seem to interact effectively with the actual pictures. It all seemed like a step too far. That said, I loved that they created their own prints of Tyvek logo and warped the wall behind the desk in them, something I would have loved to see cover the entire space. But still, two maybe not perfect but certainly quality shows of photography at the Bogart building at the same time seems like a good thing going forward for photography.