new-york

Tina Barney

Janet Borden, Inc.

The people in Tina Barney’s photos look like evil twins of the people in Ralph Lauren ads. The Lauren ads sell exclusion by merchandizing WASP style as something you have to be born into, implicitly canceling out any consumer who has to buy his or her way in. What Ralph Lauren presents as scenes of plenitude Barney exposes as scenes of zombitude. While they’re not exactly sinister, they are testimony to the discreet vacuousness of the upper-middle-class WASP subject. Barney uses blandness as a weapon against itself. Oddness creeps around the edges, and pulls us in. In one sporty and cosmic image, an old man clutches a beach ball printed like the globe. He squints into the sun/camera with his mouth slightly ajar, as if he’s ready to meet his maker with this prop, lightly dusted with sand and surrounded by blurred beach. In another image, a man in white turns around against the black of a

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