Champagne and “Lessness” Part 2

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There are two shows I saw in New York City that I would like to recount for you. Clearly, I have to talk about the Whitney Biennial, but I am going to hold off that for now. I want to read the Peter Schjeldahl review first. I can tell you that what sticks with me most from the show are the Charles Long sculptures of bird shit, and the film piece by Javier Tellez, Letter on the Blind for the Use of Those Who See.

For now, however, I want to talk about the Joel Meyerowitz at Edwyn Houk Gallery.

There was a joke — at least at one time, and a time not too long ago — in all art school photography departments. The joke said something to the effect, that if you can’t make it good make it color, can’t make it color make it big. Really damning was to do both. Funny, given today.

The Joel Meyerowitz show at Edwyn Houk revives this old joke. All the photographs in the exhibition are large color photographs made of divers in swimming pools. The pictures are luscious but empty. I joked to a friend that the photographs, rich with light and deep blues, really just read as eye candy. All the pictures can offer is satisfaction. My friend pointed to the $36,00o price tag on each of the pictures. I had to concede the pictures are best called eye champagne, even full of bubbles.

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