new-york

“American Images”

International Center of Photography Museum (ICP)

The first thing you notice about the show “American Images” is that the photographers are listed in alphabetical order. In a sense, you never get beyond dealing with the show on that level. There are 20 photographers. On a commission from A.T.&T. administered by N.E.A., each photographer contributed 15 photographs reproduced in three portfolios. Two of these are to be deposited with museums while one is retained by A.T.&T., presumably as a hedge against inflation. (Now let’s see: that’s 15 photographers taking . . . no, no, no: 20 photographers taking 15 photographs each. That’s 300 photographs all told, right?) But only eight of the 15 photographs originally taken by each of the 20 photographers actually appear in the exhibition. And only eight photographs are reproduced in the catalogue, too. Except that they’re not the same eight that appear in the show, except in one instance. With

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