New York Photo Review
NYPR Archives - 2010

Great Photographs of the 20th Century; Staged & Startled
Reviewer #1
Robert Frank, New Orleans (Trolley), 1955

This show is a bit like visiting a rich uncle, one who doesn’t know much about art but who only wants to have the best, and has made that happen. This show will not reveal anything new to anyone who has spent much time in the art photo world, but my goodness, just about every picture in it is a plum, and I bet any photo-fan will find some of his or her all-time favorites here. Here’s mine: Robert Frank, New Orleans (Trolley), 1955, one of the most insightful and influential photographs ever made. There are other plums, Harry Callahan and Elenor, and three vintage Lee Friedlander’s, one of the television pictures, the one where his shadow is falling on the fur collar of a woman in front of him, and one of the early urban landscape fortuitous-juxtaposition pictures. And there is a whole wall of Garry Winograds, including the couple with the chimps.

The theme of the show is staged photos and spontaneous photos, and there are probably equal numbers of both, but why not people looking left and people looking right? All of the pictures here so outclass the pretext that there is really no point to it.

The only picture that seemed somewhat out of place here was also the most recent, Steven Klein’s publicity picture of Angelina Jolie and a gun weilding Brad Pitt. Although it is rather impolite to ask for more in such a rich show, this picture does raise the question, “and no Larry Clarks?”

 by unidentified photographer.
Steven Klein, Case Study #13 no. 18, 2005

Great Photographs of the 20th Century; Staged & Startled

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Thursday, March 25 to
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Hours: Tues-Sat, 11 to 6