Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lisa Kereszi, Fantasies, @Yancey Richardson

JTF (just the facts): A total of 6 color images, all mounted to board and not framed, hung in the smaller project gallery in the back. All of the images are 20x24, in editions of 5. The negatives are from the period 2000-2003. (Installation shots at right.)

Comments/Context: First published in 1976, Susan Meiselas' Carnival Strippers pulled back the curtain on the lives of the women who worked at strip shows, and the men who came to watch them. It was a compelling portrait of vulnerable lives in a tired, alienated existence, and it became a classic in the history of photography. Part of what was unusual about this project was that it had several viewpoints: the men watching the women, the women performing and watching the men, and Meiselas watching them both.

Several decades later, Lisa Kereszi has taken a walk down the same road, and found that not much has changed in the intervening decades. Her work is split between off stage views of strippers and burlesque performers and empty views of worn clubs and theaters. While Meiselas often focused on the interaction between performer and voyeur, Kereszi has chosen quieter shadowy moments, where the racy peep show fantasy has been exposed as a fraud - a dancer mundanely changing her shoes, or a tawdry stage with plywood walls and a cheap mirrored disco ball. While the pictures are well made, when the lights are on, 1980s chic is pretty dreary and uninspiring.

Collector's POV: The prints in the show are priced between $2100 and $2600. Since this show is so small (6 pictures), it's hard to draw a conclusion about the overall nature of the work, since some of the images are fragmented interior shots, while others are more emotionally charged documentary portraits. Perhaps the book is a better vehicle for a more deep and nuanced narrative.
Rating: * (1 star) GOOD (rating system described here)

Transit Hub:
  • The artist's website (here)
  • Video of Kereszi on Governor's Island (here)
  • Review of Fantasies at 5B4 (here)
  • 50 States Project (here)
  • Dikeou Collection (here)
Lisa Kereszi, Fantasies
Through May 9th

535 West 22nd Street
New York, NY 10011

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