Arts Welcome to the Gallery
posted by August 29 at 9:30 AMon
Guay was being generous. It’s a show of aggressive calculation. Almost every photograph seems to intend either to be elusive or revelatory, with largely flat or overstated results. Emptiness can be derived from too much effort as easily as from too little. In photography, it’s always a balance.
The first images you encounter in the gallery are droll portents of the failure to connect. They’re three shots of Chelsea galleries from a series of 14 photographs by Andy Freeberg called Sentry: Gallery Desks in Chelsea.
In each one, Freeberg entered a gallery and found an attendant sitting behind a high desk, almost entirely obscured. Given that you could probably get this shot in almost any gallery if you stand at the right distance from the desk, Freeberg’s series is not an entirely fair critique of gallery culture—but it makes its case persuasively, providing good ammo for anyone who’s ever felt excluded in a gallery (and who hasn’t?). The photographer seems to be standing outside the centers of art looking in, a place photography held for decades before it was accepted as a fine art form. (Digital prints are still frowned upon; something always is.)
Here’s Pace Wildenstein:
Here’s Metro Pictures:
Here’s Cheim & Reid:
And here’s my favorite portrait in the series, taken at Andrea Rosen (it just seems slightly more psychotic than the rest):