Critics’ Picks

Shaman, 2005.

New York

Miranda Lichtenstein

Elizabeth Dee Gallery
2033/2037 Fifth Avenue
June 20, 2013–May 28, 2005

Miranda Lichtenstein's new photographs portray young, educated, contemporary Westerners' quest for enlightenment and healing outside traditional avenues (like organized religion). Each photo represents a potential path: meditation, shamanism, sensory-deprivation, yoga/pilates, and so on. Interestingly, the pictures are so stylistically various that it's as if a different photographer had taken each one. In the same way earlier generations ushered in large-scale color prints and unprecedented intimacy, Lichtenstein, along with peers like Roe Ethridge, is bent on breaking the current model and turning away from serial photography, from groups of work easily recognizable as a “whole” (like Hiroshi Sugimoto's new photographs on view two blocks up at Sonnabend). What's sacrificed is the lulling comfort of moving from one photo to the next and knowing, on a formal level, what to expect. But the lacunae between photographs fit the subject—and the moment. Pluralism is integrated directly into the work: One photographer exercises many options and still holds it all together.