New York

Gilbert and George

Sonnabend Gallery

Coleridge once observed that while ideas possess most people, few truly possess an idea. Gilbert and George, the “odd couple” among Conceptualists, aspire to proprietorship by dramatizing their idea of being possessed by the idea of art. In the “New Photo-Pieces” their own images are integrated into a series of grids, each composed of nine or sixteen rectangular black and white separate panels (these are unique articles, not an edition, and each separate photograph is individually framed by the artists). Studio portraits of Gilbert and George among the panels bear witness to, but stand a world apart from, the very verité subject matter—seedy slices of urban life, with occasional bucolic interludes (branches, weeds). The studied dignity of their mannekin poses—by now the colophon of their art—sets artifice in self-conscious relief against actuality. Despite their documentary immediacy,

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