• Lee Friedlander

    Friends of Photography

    Early on, in the late ’60s, Lee Friedlander’s photography was acclaimed for its skittish alienation effects and headlong artlessness. Looking at his pictures now, you realize how willfully their images have been managed, whether the compositions are helter-skelter or nominally empty. (That willfulness can be overbearing. Friedlander is also notorious for the stupefaction his monstrous puns and one-liners can induce; it’s a chronic case of humor running afoul of its own logic.) Friedlander doesn’t come off as alienated, as if the culture has pushed his sensibility aside; you sense that he has

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  • Stefan Kürten

    Rena Bransten Gallery

    Stefan Kürten’s paintings are slight, self-effacing, but nonetheless wise. Many of them are small, less than 12 inches square, and are strewn with homey, literally thumbnail-size sketches. Kürten’s subjects are generic, as his titles suggest: Jewelry, Hearts, Sperm, and Eggs, 31 Sunsets, Beauty Supplies, Bar Codes, etc. (all works 1990). Blithely, he makes the point that the daily glut of media images ultimately trivializes the image generally.

    Kürten’s method and the visual quality it generates are crucial. To make a picture, he takes a primed, stretched canvas and sets it face down on a coated

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