Comments/Context: It is my guess that there are very few (if any) artists in recent years who have created so much new work that they have merited taking back to back exhibition slots at a prominent New York gallery, but the prolific Lee Friedlander has done it with this unusual double play. The first part of this show last December was one of our top photography shows of 2009 (here), so I have been avidly looking forward to seeing part two to see what other tricks Friedlander has up his sleeve.
In contrast to the amplified effects of the previous show, this exhibit has a much more subdued and subtle feeling. While there is another selection of shop window reflections on display, these works are less slashingly chaotic and confrontational; for the most part, the scantily clad mannequins have been exchanged for oriental carpets, spools of thread and fabric bolts, New York city tourist trinkets, and elaborate cakes. The signature flattened picture plane and overlapping reflections are ever present, but the overall effect is somehow less jarring. Perhaps there is a little Friedlander fatigue going on; if these same images had been shown six months from now, perhaps I would have seen them with fresher eyes.
Overall, while there are a handful of excellent pictures in this second collection, this work is less consistent than the images in the previous show. Perhaps it merely comes back to a question of editing; even when you are as talented and prolific as Friedlander is, maybe there just aren't enough astounding new pictures to fill two big gallery shows.
Rating: * (one star) GOOD (rating system described here)
Through February 27th