New York

Candida Höfer

Nicole Klagsbrun

Like the work of other, perhaps better-known students of Bernd and Hilla Becher, such as Thomas Struth, Thomas Ruff, and Andreas Gursky, Candida Höfer’s photographs perpetuate the shock of banality that is the leitmotiv of the conceptual style of photography that evolved in Germany during the ’70s. There is nothing remarkable about the public places Höfer subjects to photographic scrutiny. The lecture halls, libraries, auditoriums, lobbies, restaurants, and museums she selects are not indexed with a particular eye toward their significance as tyrannical administrative forms. No historical value justifies her selection of sites, no profound realism penetrates the veneer of familiarity that blankets these quotidian spaces, nor do her shots serve as epithets designed to comment on the bland emptiness of contemporary life.

On the other hand, Höfer’s public places are noticeably devoid of

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