Saturday, March 1, 2014

Gary Metz, Quaking Aspen: A Lyric Complaint @ Fordham University’s Ildiko Butler Gallery

It is wonderful to get to see excellent, brand-new prints of Garry Metz’s pictures from Aspen in the 70’s. Garry Metz is one of the lesser-known members of the New Topographic generation, who from the amount of talk about the show, seems to have touched a lot of people through his time teaching and writing. The show is of work that hasn’t been seen much in the last couple of decades. It’s black and white 35mm pictures of the bits of a resort town you hope would exist. Bad mountain-shaped condos and heated pools next to the gritty edges of town where locals live, complete with parking lots, construction, bus stops and an old small plane. It is the Aspen I hope is still there but suspect has already succumbed to the pressures of beautification and upward mobility. On a formal note, there is something very gripping about seeing the ideas of the New Topographics played out with a hand-held camera. The frames deal with the same content, but in a much gruffer and edgier way, where at times you can feel the picture walking the edge of topical banality and spiraling out of control, and when Metz lands it, it’s magic, like in the illusionary front half of an old cabin (shack?) façade being held up by a two-by-four. Seeing the work really makes me suspect that Friedlander and his choice of subject matter probably had a greater effect on the New Topographic generation than most photo-historians have credited.

Through Mar. 20th


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