new-york

Alan Belcher

Jack Shainman Gallery | West 20th Street

Although Alan Belcher’s work has been visible for more than a decade, it has never attracted a broad audience. Part of this has to do with the critical discourse that surrounded photography during the ’80s, with its limiting, even formalist emphasis on the rather banal notion that the photograph was a mediated image not a window on reality. But some of the blame must also be laid at Belcher’s feet: he has tended to overstate the degree to which a single piece or series can effectively engage both sculptural and photographic issues. Not only have his efforts in this direction often resulted in a certain formal clunkiness, but when he resorts to merely juxtaposing the image of the object with the thing itself, they degenerate into nothing more than clever witticisms on problems of representation. As a rule, Belcher walks a fine line—even in his best pieces, he seldom transcends clever punning

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