• William Christenberry

    Corcoran Gallery of Art

    Many of William Christenberry’s photographs have an eerie quality; looking at them you can almost see Walker Evans’ photographs looming up ghostlike in front of them. This is not especially surprising, since Christenberry was born and raised—and has done most of his photography—in Hale County, Alabama, where Evans and James Agee lived while they worked on Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. Moreover, Christenberry has chosen to photograph much the same sort of subjects as Evans did, and in the same style: vernacular architecture and folk artifacts of various sorts, all depicted in a deceptively

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  • “Directions, 1983”

    Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

    The overwhelming impression left by “Directions, 1983” was of good intentions. Not only was it a relief to come across a nonpolemical group show that attempted to be “honorable” (a stance that has perversely come to sound almost reactionary), but there were unexpected illuminations as a result of its good intentions—good intentions that included representation of more women than men (by one), a good number of relatively unknown artists, and as many unfashionable as fashionable trends.

    Of the four directions in the show, the two most clearly isolated were limpest. Curatorially, “Melodrama” and “

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