Critics’ Picks

View of “Lucas Samaras: Album 2,” 2015.

New York

Lucas Samaras

Pace | 510 West 25th Street
510 West 25th Street
May 2 - June 27

Written in a small, clinical typeface near the gallery entrance are the words “Start Here,” which introduce seven hundred digitally manipulated photographs by Lucas Samaras, collectively titled XYZ 1550 - PLACEBO 97, 2015. From there, a biographical narrative unfurls, which finds Samaras revisiting his family photo album in a manner that recalls his early Polaroid manipulations of the 1960s and ’70s. In the room’s center stands Doorway, 1966 (constructed 2007), a monumental mirrored cube that reflects the gallery’s contents and greets visitors with their unavoidable reflections. Despite the colossal scale of these works, the most spectacular aspect of the presentation is what can actually fit into your pocket: Samaras’s brilliant counterpart app, Album 2, which takes its name from the exhibition and is home to downloadable versions of all the photographs in the show, free of charge.

In the gallery, the entire collection is neatly matted and housed within a series of aligned shelves. Attuned with the artist’s previous output, the majority of works are digitally collaged self-portraits that have been melded together with an array of computer graphics and overlays. In the app, those same works transcend physical space and are shown within an immaterial realm, where each image is at once infinitely replicable and preserved in its original state. It’s in this app that both time and space—themes with which Samaras has wrestled throughout his career—have finally dissolved into complete submission.