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OPENINGS: BUCK ELLISON

Buck Ellison, Hummus, 2015, ink-jet print, 40 × 50".

THERE IS SOMETHING TROUBLING about Buck Ellison’s recent photographs. Since 2014, when he graduated from Frankfurt’s Städelschule and returned to his native California, the Los Angeles–based artist has been creating pictures that reproduce the customs and habits of a certain segment of the coastal upper-middle class. In Hummus, 2015, for example, two teenage girls perch atop a pristine kitchen counter as they munch on a plate of sliced vegetables and a container of the eponymous dip. Their pale skin and dirty-blond hair go with the bland white interior. Behind them, a dark-haired woman appears to be tidying as she reaches a hand into an open drawer. Ellison’s choice to focus his lens on the background seems pointed, and combined with the girls’ apparent obliviousness to the woman’s presence, it suggests that the woman is a domestic worker. Like so many of Ellison’s photographs,

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