New York Photo Review
NYPR Archives - 2010

Robert Adams
Summer Nights, Walking
reviewer #1

Robert Adams, is one of the great formalist photographers of our time, and this show presents work produced when his powers were perhaps at their peak, a five year period from 1976 to 1981. A series of night and dusk pictures of suburban towns in Colorado, the formal qualities of these images are exquisite. Illuminated shapes stand out against the darkness – spare, razor-sharp, and penetrating.

Unlike Adams’ daytime shots of suburban housing developements taken around the same time, these pictures lack the social commentary implicit in those images. The images are entirely devoid of people, and because the structures are mostly obscured by darkness, they are essentially timeless, or in a sense eternal. What comes across as you continue through the show is an incredible sense of loneliness. A solitary photographer wandering the streets in the early evening, seeing incredibly beautiful sights, but with only the softly-lit window of a conventional house, or the lights of a small city in the distance, offering any sign of human companionship.

The show is an expansion of the book, Summer Nights published in 1985, and only further strenthens Adams place as a minimalist master.

Robert Adams
Summer Nights, Walking

Matthew Marks
523 W 24th St.
Chelsea         Map

212 243 0200

Saturday, February 6 to
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Hours: Tue-Sat, 10 to 6