Critics’ Picks

Untitled (The Pentagon, Washington, D.C.), 2003.

Untitled (The Pentagon, Washington, D.C.), 2003.

New York

Jason Oddy

Frederieke Taylor Gallery
526 W 26th St #310
May 27–June 26, 2004

Large-format color pictures of empty spaces are nothing new in our post-Becher world, but British artist Jason Oddy’s series of eight untitled color photographs have a pointed relevance as a catalogue of the interior architecture of power. Over the past five years, Oddy has gained access to such centers of authority as the United Nations, the Palace of Nations in Geneva, a car museum in Wolfsburg, Germany, and, unbelievably, the Pentagon and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba—in 2003. True to the genre, his photographs are entirely divested of people; phantasmically, they retain their varied auras of authority, be it ominous, arrogant, or diplomatic. In many, seats are a motif, functioning as stand-ins for their occupants. Two dozen overstuffed navy chairs line a long mahogany table at the Pentagon, fresh pencils and legal pads set in front of each. Pristinely dated white leather settees elegantly await diplomacy atop a vast turquoise carpet at the UN. A simple wooden lifeguard chair surveys its domain off the coast of the American base in Cuba. Every single seat is empty, an absence that looks all too poignant today.