Critics’ Picks

Judy Linn, box, 12.04.2017 12:35 PM, 2017–18, archival pigment print, 27 x 20 1/2".

New York

Judy Linn

CUE Art Foundation
137 W 25th Street Ground Floor
April 12 - May 19

In the early 1970s, Judy Linn took photographs of three friends who later became quite famous. Those pictures have overshadowed the remarkable artworks she has made since, something this exhibition, curated by Arlene Shechet, helps redress. The images pinned unframed to this gallery’s walls are mostly from the last two decades, and they demonstrate Linn’s remarkable talent for rendering light tangible, her eye for the quotidian, and her droll humor.

In a photograph of a pickup truck, light filters through the windows to settle on its interior surfaces like a thin coating of dust; in thruway, early winter, 2009 (all works 2017–18), the illumination is similarly dispersed, this time through icy mist hovering above the road. Light can be a membrane one passes through; such shrouding resonates with Linn’s picture of a swamp draped in thousands of green leaves and kissed by the sun.

In a text accompanying the show, Linn tells of visiting exhibitions at the Morgan Library, the Met, and the Louvre. Here, a bright-yellow bucket, the word EGYPTIAN stenciled across its surface, subverts the solemnity of a stone figure guarding the Temple of Dendur. In albany, 2014, the sitter in an old-master-style portrait has her face obscured by skirting on a nearby piece of furniture, which itself appears to continue down the front of her dress. But not every picture in a picture is a high-culture artifact: In box, 12.04.2017 12:35 PM, Linn captures a baby depicted on a cardboard box. Packing tape partially conceals its face and, improbably enough, light plays off its semitransparent folds like the excessive details of a Mannerist painting. The pleasure of looking at Linn’s pictures, no matter their subject, is singular.