Critics’ Picks

Keren Assaf, Untitled (Israel), 2003.

New York


Aperture Gallery
547 West 27th Street 4th Floor
April 7–June 22

Last summer, in honor of its twentieth anniversary, the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne, Switzerland, speculated twenty years into the future of photography by combing top art schools for emerging talent. However, despite some apocalyptic landscapes and high-tech showmanship, “reGeneration: 50 Photographers of Tomorrow” is not so much a glimpse into the future of the medium as a reminder of the possible range of its application. Some images wryly situate themselves historically, like Carlin Wing’s shot of Nan Goldin’s famous self-portrait in a sterile conference room and Idris Khan’s superimposition of the text of Camera Lucida until it became an illegible blur. The show also includes powerful documentary work on Palestine, labor, cancer, and the meat industry, but a more subtle politics emerges from the portraiture on view. The young women posed with their mothers in Aimée Hoving’s “Débutantes Ball” series and the makeup saleswomen in Raphael Hefti’s “Beauticians” series both glare confidently at the viewer, denying the audience a clear value judgment. Although several artists use digital manipulation to startling ends—Miklos Gaál’s miniaturization of an urban intersection and Johann Ryno de Wet’s eerie glowing wastelands stand out—the strongest pieces in the show simply transform the everyday into art with a striking palette, such as Keren Assaf’s Untitled (Israel), 2003, a picture of boys sprawled on a lawn alongside stacked colorful plastic crates, or careful composition—like Gérald Garbez’s Untitled, 2004, which captures the moment before an orange tennis ball, poised on the edge of a table, rolls to the floor.