Comments/Context: Whatever we might think about the rediscovery of the 1950s street photographs of Vivian Maier, it's impossible to conclude that the press coverage has been anything but breathless and ubiquitous; if you have even the slightest interest in photography, you can't have missed this story in the past year or two. Since every feature article follows the same exact path (the nanny, the storage locker, the 100,000 negatives, the auction, etc.), I'm going to assume this thin background is by now pretty well common knowledge.
The other challenge with such a project, especially when the work is found as an undifferentiated whole, is that we really have no sense of Maier as an editor of her own art. We don't know which pictures she thought were her best, which ones she thought were failures, and which ones she thought were interesting but not necessarily representative of what she was trying to accomplish. In this small show, there are photographs reminiscent of Friedlander, Frank, Model, Callahan, Winogrand, Levinstein, Weegee, and even Arbus. Seeing such a gathering, one might plausibly conclude that she was a photographer still searching for her own style, perhaps trying on other ways of working in the process of looking for her own, borrwing here and there and incorporating pieces she found useful. Absent verifiable connections or a complete chronology, it's impossible to say which came first, or which echo was purposeful, random, or otherwise uniquely original.
- Artist site/Maloof (here)
- Artist site/Goldstein (here)
- Reviews/Features: NY Times (here), Lens (here), New Yorker (here)
Howard Greenberg Gallery