In anticipation of the first major American survey of the work of THOMAS DEMAND—which opens at the Museum of Modern Art in New York on March 4—art historian MICHAEL FRIED reflects on the German photographer’s disquietingly uninflected pictures.

Thomas Demand’s procedure is well known. As Roxana Marcoci, who organized MoMA’s current survey of the photographer’s work, writes in her catalogue essay, “As a rule, Demand begins with an image, usually, although not exclusively, from a photograph culled from the media, which he translates into a three-dimensional life-size paper model. Then he takes a picture of the model with a Swiss-made Sinar, a large-format camera with telescopic lens for enhanced resolution and heightened verisimilitude. Contributing to the overall illusion of reality, his large-scale photographs are laminated behind Plexiglas and displayed without a frame. . . . Thus, his photographs are triply removed from the scenes or objects they depict.”1 A standard description of the viewer’s response to Demand’s photographs (and one to which Marcoci subscribes) is that initially he or she takes them for images of the real

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