New York

Alan Sonfist

Stefanotty Gallery

“I became a tiger waiting” Alan Sonfist writes in the text hung up with two series of color photos in a gallery antechamber labeled “The Animal Room.” Naked in the grass, Sonfist snads at the approaching photographer. Unlike the usual photographer/subject relationship, the art here resides with the subject, the man playing tiger, just as heroism might be said to reside not with the hunter but with the animal who gets killed. A couple of philosopher’s anecdotes I first heard paraphrased around art-world dinner tables might enlarge aspects of these photos. One is Wittgenstein’s: if the lion could speak we wouldn’t understand it; the other is Bateson’s: a person is frightened not by the lion, but by the idea he or she makes of it. Those are about ,communication, an imagined kind and a psychological kind. They’re both couched in terms of the lion vis-à-vis a person; Sonfist’s piece deals with

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